Aston Martin billionaire-owner Lawrence Stroll agrees with Lewis Hamilton that Formula 1 has become extremely expensive where only very well-heeled individuals, or big corporations can afford to race but that ain’t stopping him thinking big.
Stroll senior was on hand to witness the unveiling of the second Aston Martin F1 car since he took over, and revolutionized the great British marque, one of the boldest projects in the sport’s history.
His son Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel will race the green AMR22.
But last year, early in the season, seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, from working-class Stevenage in the UK, accused F1 of becoming a “billionaire boys club” and that he would have little chance of making it to the top flight of motorsport because very big money is required and it starts with karting.
Stroll is not the only billionaire who has paid for his son’s career from the karting days, Nikita Mazepin’s father has bought his son’s way into F1 through the junior series. Today, through Mazepin senior’s Uralkali company, the Russian driver has a seat with Haas until that money runs out one presumes, or they buy a team.
Speaking to reporters during his team’s 2022 F1 car unveiling, Lawrence said: “Racing is definitely expensive, from go-karting on up, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a lot less expensive to play golf or play tennis.
“F1 it’s an expensive sport, there’s machinery, there’s a lot of people who run the machines. You have to be a very wealthy individual or a very large corporation to be able to afford to be in F1.
“I don’t know what Lewis’s comment was referring to but this is a sport that is very capital intensive. If you look at, for example, building a new building or a new wind tunnel, that’s well over £150-million.”
Stroll: Our ultimate ambition is to win F1 world championships
As for F1 specifically, where Stroll’s Aston Martin team is bullishly building for the future, fortunes are lashed out to secure the best brains available and a state-of-the-art HQ in the near future, he added: “Formula One is definitely an expensive sport to be in, there’s no question about that.’
Stroll’s ambitious project will see staff more than doubled to 800 in coming months to chase a timeline which Stroll divulged: “I think it’s four, five or six years. We’re currently in a good place. We share Mercedes’ wind tunnel, but it is not as good as having your own.
“Facilities wise, we’ve definitely outgrown our current site. We’re putting up a lot of temporary facilities in order to accommodate all these new employees. But as far as plans going forward, like pretty much every other business I own, is to win.
“In this case, winning and F1 obviously means world championships. Ultimately, that’s what we are striving for. That’s what I am striving for.
“We all know very well that success in F1 or any other business for that matter doesn’t come overnight. That takes years to put the right people, the right tools, the right processes in place. But we’re building and investing in our team with the ambition of moving up the grid year by year.
“And our ultimate ambition is to win F1 world championships,” declared the Canadian leisurewear magnate, worth $2.9-billion according to Forbes.