At age 18, Lance Stroll is the first Canadian to race in Formula One in 11 years
Paul Haber, W5 Producer
Published Friday, March 17, 2017 7:00AM EDT
In the world of auto racing there are only winners and losers, where the winners move on and have to constantly defend their title. And losers, always trying to catch up and claim that number one spot.
The back of the pack is where 18-year-old Canadian race car driver Lance Stroll finds himself going into his rookie season in the prestigious Formula 1 Racing Championship.
It’s a spot Lance is not accustomed to, since the age of five, he has been winning race after race. He began driving go-karts, beating his peers in local races in his home province of Quebec.
While it started as hobby, but by the time he was 11 years old, his natural talents were noticed by a recruiter from The Ferrari Driver Academy.
After a very successful career in karting, Lance Stroll moved up to Formula 4, single-seater racing, at the age of 15. The cars are bigger, faster and he was competing against international racers, most with more experience than Lance. Nevertheless, Lance’s natural driving talents prevailed and he ended up winning the Italian Formula 4 Championship in his first year.
But Lance’s accomplishments in the auto racing circuit have come with some controversy. Some critics feel his rise in the sport has been fueled by his family’s enormous wealth. His father Lawrence Stroll is a billionaire who made his money building fashion brands.
There is no question Lance’s career has benefitted from his family’s wealth, but Lance feels it is ultimately his skill and ability that has propelled him to the top of his game.
“Money doesn’t buy wins, it buys the opportunity,” said Stroll. “And then you know, you can have all the money in the world and be last place, but that is not what I have proven. I have won many championships”.
In 2014, after winning the Formula 4 championship, Lance moved to the increasingly competitive Formula 3 – the jumping-off point for many drivers to the highest class of single-seat racing, Formula 1.
At the age of 17, he had a disappointing first season, crashing multiple times and finishing in fifth place overall at the European Formula 3 Championship.
The following year, after hours of training and reflection, Lance bounced back and took 14 wins in a 30 race series to win the European Formula 3 Championship.
In 2016, Lance joined the Williams Martini Racing team as the youngest driver on the Formula 1 circuit. The first race of the 2017 season takes place with the Australian Grand Prix, in Melbourne on March 26, 2017.