19-year-old Lance Stroll has signed for Force India on a multiple-year deal, as the Canadian takes the place of Esteban Ocon at the team next to Sergio Pérez, completing the line-up for the 2019-season.
Lance's father Lawrence Stroll was part of the investment group that took over Force India this July as the team was in administration with big debts, after they hadn't paid their employees for months. The billionaire personally paid off those debts but changed the name of the team to Racing Point Force India, wiping all points Force India had earned previously in the season, as the F1 rules state that name changes of a team mean that you have to start from scratch.
Stroll also made it clear that he wanted his son Lance to be signed to the team too, with the teenager having struggled at Williams in 2018 as the Grove-based team had the weakest package on the grid. Stroll now takes the seat of the highly-rated Ocon, who will have no seat in F1 in 2019 despite being rated as one of the biggest talents on the grid.
Lance himself started his F1-career in 2017 at Williams next to veteran Felipe Massa, who was entering his final season in the sport. The stand-out performance from the Canadian was his maiden podium in Azerbaijan which made him the youngest driver ever to stand on the podium. It still remains his only podium-finish though, as Williams have massively nose-dived in 2018.
Stroll only managed six points in 2019, a disappointing person tally, but outperformed his team mate Sergey Sirotkin who only managed one point.
The signing has been in the works for months and has caused a lot of controvery, as Ocon is seen to be the better driver of the two, and is earmarked for a Mercedes drive in 2020, when Valtteri Bottas' contract runs out with the Silver Arrows.
Ocon often beat Pérez in their time as teammates, with the Frenchman especially beating the Mexican handsomely in qualifying. Let's see what Stroll can do next year next to Pérez!
Racing Point Force India is delighted to announce that @lance_stroll will join the team for 2019 to race alongside Sergio Perez. Lance has pledged his commitment to the team as part of a long-term deal.— Racing Point Force India F1 (@ForceIndiaF1) 30 November 2018
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