Canadian teenager Lance Stroll is a Formula 1 driver and will make his grand prix debut in Australia next year, but it has taken an estimated $80-million from his billionaire father’s account to reach that point.
Doing the maths is revealing exercise, as Auto Motor und Sport claim that the drive with Williams – the most expensive in the sport’s history – cost clothing tycoon Lawrence Stroll around $35-million, a small dent in a fortune which according to Forbes is worth $2.4 billion.
Prior to that the Stroll’s spared no cash in ensuring young Lance had the best of the best during his rise through the sport, starting with his karting years which began in 2008 and continued until 2014.
Karting insiders reveal that the Strolls spent handsomely to have the best equipment and during the three European seasons they spent an estimated $10-million.
The 2015 and 2016 seasons, which saw Lance racing in F3 with Prema Powerteam and contesting the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand with M2 Competition, cost around $15-million – including the bill for buying the entire Prema operation.
Add to that at least $20-million funding for a high-tech simulator at Williams HQ in Grove and an intensive private testing programme, on the road since August, using a Mercedes hybrid powered 2014 Williams FW36.
No expense has been spared as a 20-strong test team puts Stroll through his paces, including five Mercedes technicians to look after two specially built test engines, plus Pirelli providing so-called Academy tyres with hard, medium and soft compounds for the youngster to mimic a grand prix weekend.
The private F1 test program began at Silverstone and included days at Hungaroring, Red Bull Ring and Monza where he was testing during the recent United States Garnd Prix weekend.
Still on the agenda for Stroll junior are tests in Barcelona, Abu Dhabi, Austin, Sochi and possibly Shanghai.
Williams technical chief Pat Symonds said, “The last novice who with so many kilometers of testing before entering Formula 1 was Jacques Villeneuve.”
Whatever the case, 18 year old Stroll will have more Formula 1 mileage under his belt than a large section drivers already on the grand prix grid for a year or two thanks to hours of pounding race tracks scattered around the globe.
Stroll said at the Williams announcement, “Everyone has their own opinion, I can’t change that. I come from money, I’m not going to deny that, but I believe I earned my shot in F1 because I’ve won every championship that I’ve competed in.”
“I don’t want to say exactly when I’ll be able to show everyone that I’m not just here for money because that depends on so many other things and details coming into place, but I’m just going to worry about my business,” added Stroll.