ADVERTISEMENT
Parc Ferme: A Stroll up the grid...

Parc Ferme: A Stroll up the grid…

Parc Ferme: A Stroll up the grid...
Earlier in the season, I identified Mick Schumacher, Nicolas Latifi and Lance stroll as members of Formula 1’s “Bash Street Kids”, i.e. the drivers who trash their cars through unforced errors.

I also suggested that they all held dual passports for the “Drivers in F1 who shouldn’t be” Club. But hey, something is changing…

Mick “not so quick” and Latifi have continued to perform to type, topping the leaderboard in respective order for damage cost to their teams. Latifi is out of F1 for the 2023 season, and Schumacher Jr. is hanging in there by a wheel tie.

His recent visit to the wall in Japan on a cool-down lap did not help the case for the defense. No other driver would be given the latitude for error he has received from Haas without bringing a bag load of cash. Yes, he has shown glimpses of potential in qualifying, but like last week’s United States Grand Prix, this normally results in a heroic drive to the back of the grid.

ADVERTISEMENT

His teammate, Kevin Magnussen, went in the other direction in the same race so we can’t blame the car folks. However, the third member of the ménage à trois, Lance Stroll, appears to be contravening the bylaws of the club!

What’s HE doing THERE?

Since the second half of the season, the time sheets have frequently been surprised either in Free Practice or qualifying by the name Lance Stroll popping up somewhere closer to the top of the order than the bottom!

This is not just a “car” thing. Stroll has recently out-qualified his four-time World Champion teammate Sebastian Vettel and finished ahead of him in the race on several occasions; a feat he would have replicated in Austin if he had not been distracted by Alonso trying to “mount” him.

What accident were you watching?

Alonso penalized, drops out of the points

Handing Stroll a three-place grid penalty at Mexico for the incident seems incredibly unjust and another School-Boy officiating error.

I’ve re-watched the collision multiple times and the majority of the blame, if any, seems to rest with Alonso who chose to place himself unnecessarily close to Stroll to execute an overtake. I say “seem” because I’m not privy to the data.

If that shows the young Canadian “lifted” early then he deserves the penalty and more.

Transparency… please

Whilst we’re here, I’d like to raise a point of order to the wonks at the FIA. There is already a storm brewing over the Steward’s decision against Stroll.

If they would like a little more public sympathy for their officials over some of the verdicts they hand down, this kind of data transparency would help. Motor racing and F1 in particular have traditionally always chosen to keep this type of dirty washing hidden in the laundry room. Maybe it’s time for a change.

For Aston Martin, what had looked like a promising double top-ten finish was consigned to the racing bin of dreams. However, the last lap charge of Sebastien Vettel did enable them to save some points from the wreckage.

We haven’t seen much of the man who won consecutive World Championships this year but the dice with Kevin Magnussen showed that you can take the driver out of the race, but not the race out of the driver.

These are not the droids you are looking for…

However, whilst his presence might not have been so evident on a personal performance basis this year, his impact executing his apparent role as Uncle Seb/mentor for Lance has been clear.

There seemed little hope for the young man last season and in the first half of 2022, but I can’t help feeling Vettel has played a large part in turning a “backmarker” into a mid to upper-field driver since the circus returned after the summer break. I don’t know how or what he’s doing but it’s like some kind of Jedi mind trick.

I’m not suggesting Stroll Jr. is going to regularly threaten the podium but at the moment he’s showing he deserves his place on the F1 grid. So come on Lance, it’s Mexico next, don’t let me down now!