Mercedes AMG Petronas boss Toto Wolff, and American racing legend Chip Ganassi have both tipped the Lance Stroll to one day make it to the top tier of motor racing.
Stroll currently sits at the top of the European Formula 3 Championship, and his talent thus far suggests a bright future awaits.
Toto Wolff is known to always have his finger close to the pulse when it comes to new racing talent. He demonstrated this by managing the early stages of Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, prior to his own managerial switch to Mercedes.
Toto feels however, that Stroll’s reputation may have been dented somewhat by his fathers super-rich position in the Canadian fashion industry.
“Lance has the benefit of having gone to classes with the help of his father,” says Wolff. “The downside is people don’t recognize how good he really is.
“When you speak to the boy who’s only 17-years old, you tend to believe you’re talking to a 35-year old. His maturity and his intelligence are going to take him far.
“I’m sure this kid will be the next Canadian in Formula 1, and it has nothing to do with his father’s wealth, because the boy can drive.
“He’s also working extremely hard. The intelligence and his maturity are really outstanding. I never saw that with a 17-year-old.
“For example, Max Verstappen acts more like a teenager. In the car, he’s extremely good, but when you interact with him, he’s a kid. But with Lance, his maturity is very surprising.”
Ganassi: “I was skeptical, but he’s the real deal”
Lance made his sports car debut at the start of the season driving for Chip Ganassi’s team. The Rolex 24 at Daytona isn’t a bad place to debut, especially when competing in the Daytona Prototype class.
“He made quite an impression on us,” Ganassi told Motorsport.com last weekend. “He did a great job at the Daytona 24 Hours.
“Drivers like Lance and Felix [Rosenqvist] are two guys who have to be on the radar screen of any ambitious team – whether it’s Formula 1 or here in IndyCar – looking for the next young up-and-coming kid with great potential. You know that wherever they go, they’re going to be good and they’re going to be fast.”
So he appears to have the backing financially, but could Lance make it all the way to formula one?
“Yeah, I would say so,” Ganassi replies. “Let’s face it, you and I, we’ve all seen rich kids come along and spend their family’s money to try and make it. And they screw up, sometimes because it’s come too easy, sometimes because they don’t have the right attitude.
“I’ve known his father for 25 years, but not knowing Lance I admit, I was a little skeptical, you know? What impressed me about Lance is he did have the right attitude, he learned well, listened well. And I’ll tell you this, that kid is the real deal.
“He’s proving it this year, isn’t he? How many wins has he had in Formula 3 this year now – seven? Really kicking ass in what I’m told is a super-competitive series.
“So yeah, he’s proven himself so far.”
Williams moved quickly to sign Lance up last year as a development driver alongside Alex Lynn. One to keep an eye on for the future.