After a miserable Australian Grand Prix weekend for Aston Martin, ex-Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has questioned Lawrence Stroll’s credentials to run a team at the pinnacle of the sport.
The reality is that the Canadian billionaire is finding out the hard and very expensive way that running and F1 team is not quite the same as a massive clothing chain or watch brand.
Referring to the massive success Stroll achieved in the fashion business that has made him worth $3-billion according to Forbes, Villeneuve warned that it won’t be the same in F1. And it hasn’t so far.
Villeneuve, 1995 Indy 500 winner and Indycar Champion, was discussing the wretched weekend Aston Martin endured in Melbourne where both drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, crashing multiple times over the course of the weekend.
The former retiring from his crash in the race, the latter ruining his qualifying with his crash with Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.
They appear to be forced to overdrive the car to try to be competitive, which leads to mistakes and the Green bent metal witnessed this weekend, which apart from embarrassing will set their development plans back as repairs to both AMR22s take priority to updates one would imagine.
Stroll’s incident with Latifi just embarrassing
In his column for formule1.nl, the 1997 F1 Champion wrote: “Running a team requires more than just money, as Lawrence Stroll is finding out with Aston Martin.
“It is not a clothing chain or a watch brand, it is much more complicated. Especially when you’re running a team for your son, finding solutions then becomes altogether more complicated,” he added.
“Looking at this weekend, you saw that Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll kept getting into trouble. Stroll’s incident with Latifi in qualifying was just embarrassing.
“He also blamed the track for the crash which was perhaps the strangest explanation ever for a crash. And by the way in the race we saw that Stroll really does use his mirrors given his swerving tactics,” the no-nonsense Canadian added, weighing in on the time penalty Stroll got for his questionable defence tactics.
In his first race of the 2022 season, Vettel recently recovered from Covid-19, is no happy bunny according to Villeneuve, who said: “Teammate Vettel is clearly not enjoying himself at all, I think he prefers to be at home.
“He has made mistakes at Ferrari but his slips this weekend do not match his stature,” the 51-year-old pointed out: “They may not have been big hits, no chassis were lost, but from a PR point of view they are big hits. Sponsors don’t like that, apart from the damage it also costs money because of the missed points.”
As it stands, Aston Martin are the only team yet to score a point this season, making them the worst team on the grid after three rounds of the championship.
No one smiling as the Aston Martin factory
Villeneuve, an 11-time Grand Prix winner, believes that the mood at Aston Martin would be getting toxic now, especially as Lawrence Stroll is reportedly heavily involved in running the team, and known for his tough management style.
“The question now is, what does the big boss Lawrence Stroll do? If he deals with his drivers the way he does business, these are not nice conversations,” he predicted. “The atmosphere in the factory must also be to die for, there you are currently not welcomed with a smile.
Stroll senior has thrown loads of money at his F1 project, but the results do not reflect the efforts of the investment.
“In the long run it is not an easy situation to solve, they have built a car that is comparable to a Williams or a Haas. Only those other teams have managed it with less budget,” Villeneuve concluded.