Certainly, Lawrence Stroll has been making a fool of himself, and the FIA are amused by his threats to sue – The Silverstone based team currently branded Aston Martin F1, was formed by Eddie Jordan in 1991, and was known as Jordan GP racing.
Probably the most successful start up team for 30 years, during Eddie’s reign as owner and team boss racked up 4 GP wins and 9 podiums.
The team was sold in 2005 to Midland F1 for $80m, who retained the name Jordan for that season and changed it for 2006.
Dutch car manufacturer Spyker bought the team for 2007 and promptly sold it to a Vijay Mallya led consortium and the team became Force India.
Despite being a spiv, now on trial in India, Mallya oversaw a period of stability and relative success for the Silverstone based outfit, until the Indian government finally caught up with him and the team was sold in 2018 to another consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
The team then competed as Racing Point until this season, where Stroll’s other big investment, Aston Martin, has now become the name of the team.
When Mallya acquired the team, he appointed blunt Yorkshire man, Bob Fernley, as assistant team principal. Mallya retained the title of team principal himself, despite having fuck all F1 knowledge or experience.
Yet under Bob’s watchful eye, the Silverstone team managed its resources superbly despite them being meagre at times. Force India persistently delivered performance way above their relative spend capabilities.
Pre-season 2019, Mallya was losing his battle to avoid being held to account in his homeland for a variety of ‘corruption’ charges. The team’s finances collapsed and it is said Sergio Perez paid everyone’s wages for a month before Lawrence Stroll and his associates took control.
On the day the team was saved by Stroll, it was announced that Bob Fernley would leave the team ‘by mutual consent and the chief operating officer; Otmar Szafnauer was appointed team principal.
The loss of Fernley’s expertise was to become a ticking time bomb, and the ensuing chaos is now beginning to unfold. McLaren sacked their racing team’s maestro Ron Dennis and proceeded to enter their wilderness years as big decisions and big changes were made and then reversed by people not steeped in running an F1 team.
Due to the cash crisis pre-2019, the Silverstone team had a poor season under it’s new Racing Point management finishing P7 in the constructors’ championship.
Yet given a wheeze to copy Mercedes car design and some of their components used – later found to be illegal by the FIA – Racing point was competitive in 2020 pre-season testing. They ended the season P4 in the constructor’s championship despite a points deduction for cheating. The only context to this must be mentioned that Ferrari had their worst year since 1980 and would have expected to finish ahead of the Silverstone team.
Billionaire businessmen are used to taking over organisations and restructuring them for greater success. Low hanging fruit is the first place they look. Find big spend items and reduce them. Look at long ‘time span processes’ and find a way to shorten them.
But an F1 team is not a proper commercial entity. Yet Gene Haas believed the lengthy process of making stuff could be speeded up and reduce head count by buying it whatever the regulations allowed.
Stroll was onto this like a flash. And further, copying successful Mercedes components where the sharing of the intellectual property was not allowed, would create another cost saving advantage. Why re-invent the wheel when Mercedes have already done it.
There were other ‘corporate’ changes to spend allowances and focus, all of which has had the effect of changing the culture of the Silverstone team.
Once they were Mallya’s much loved family, fighting the odds, working together to develop their own car and having a siege mentality which resulted in greater and greater efforts to outperform their wealthier rivals.
Life at the Silverstone outfit is no longer quite such fun. Stroll Snr is ever present and involved in decision making sometimes at a micro level.
His recruitment of Seb the Spin is a clear example of knowing bugger all about F1. Sergio Perez was the glue that held the team together, and whilst his lot is much improved at title hopefuls RBR, Aston Martin are much poorer without him.
Vettel as his replacement has looked like a beaten man for a number of years now. His dream of doing a Schumacher and taking Ferrari back to F1 glory crashed and burned way before his ignominious expulsion from Maranello last season.
The F1 2020 belated season saw close competition for P3-P7 amongst the teams, and Aston hoped to be at the head of this group. They came 4th in the end, but their car was deemed illegal, but they didn’t have to change it. Mmm.
This season, it appears there is a solid 4 teams group way ahead of the rest, split into two sub-groups. Mercedes and RBR are the top dogs, with McLaren and Ferrari fighting for the next two spots.
The reality of this means silliness aside on race day, P9 and P10 are up for grabs for Aston Martin. Yet they are competing with everyone other than Haas for these 3 points each weekend.
Hass F1 race in their own kit car competition. Mazepin appears to be attempting to earn Tokyo drift points, but even loses the slide into a spin. Meantime Mick is a crash dummy testing the circuit walls behind the safety car.
Netflix will this season have endless fun following Gunther Steiner, given his animated behavior when the team had two proper drivers. He will be beside himself with ‘fucks’ already and we’re on race 2.
Anyway, the bombastic nature of Stroll is now making Aston Martin a laughing stock in the paddock and amongst the fans.
During the Imola weekend, Snauzer (as we call him) was told to go face the media and inform them Aston Martin are prepared to sue the FIA if necessary. They want their down force back and prompt!!!
The convoluted argument of Stroll et al is as follows. Liberty media/FOM want the sport to be more competitive and recognize week in week out Lewis and Mercedes winning every event is killing the sport. Viewers are leaving in droves.
To this end they have recruited engineers (which actually they have to scrutineer he cars anyway) to study how to noble Mercedes and by accident Aston Martin who have copied – sometimes illegally – the championship winning low rake car design.
Stroll states, the new regulations forcing the cars to lose 10% down force which has affected the low rake designs more, was not for safety reasons as stated by the FIA, but because Liberty/FOM worked out it would noble the Mercedes design.
Hence the FIA have lied as to their intentions and are suable.
No Lawrence. The FIA lie repeatedly, but are never sued. Jules Bianci – God rest his soul – a serious case in point.
Anyone can propose regulation changes – the dog having a piss on the edge of Tamburello on Thursday is said to have requested more dog shit litter bins.
The reality is the decisions over the new 2021 regulations were agreed by ALL THE TEAMS – Lawrence.
Further, a low rake car has had pole position and won 1 of the 2 races so far in 2021. As usual the competence of the FIA is questionable in their ability to regulate against something they were determined to do.
More importantly, the Force India reliability appears to be disappearing up in smoke under the new Aston Brand. Force India finished 4th in the constructors race in 2016 and 2017 and had become that solid top of the midfield team. They averaged over 11 years just under 5 points a race.
This season that’s just under 115 points. Currently Aston Martin have 5 points from 2 races and are 6th behind Alpha Tauri.
The baby bulls have a better car than Aston but at present their very very excited Japanese driver is all over the show. But he will calm down and then score regular points for his new team.
So with Alpha Tauri slotting in 5th best team and picking up the last points places, pickings will be lean this year for Aston, who will be scrapping for points with Alpine and Alfa Romeo when one of the drivers from the top 5 teams cocks it up.
In conclusion, Aston’s performance to date is as follows.
Lance qualified P10 in both races so far this Vettel hasn’t made Q3 for 14 races now.
In Bahrain, Aston Martin put Seb the spin on the classic Sergio Perez one stop strategy, which often saw the Mexican get P5-P6. Checo was the ultimate Pirelli tyre whisperer.
Vettel by comparison said his tyres fell off the cliff laps before the end of the race in the desert and finished 15th. On a positive note that was 5 places higher than his start position of last.
In Italy last weekend, both cars had infernos where there should have been brakes on the run to the grid. Seb’s mechanics forgot to fit his tyres before the 5 minute limit and both cars had gear synchronization issues during the race.
ALL of which is clearly due to the evil and illegal FIA attempts to slow down low rake cars.
The FIA’s incompetence is as always clear, given Mercedes – crashes aside – are looking pretty racy this season. AND if I’m not mistaken are leading the Constructors and Drivers championships. – with their low rake car.
This must all be very amusing for Monsieur Todt and his FIA technocrats.
Lawrence Stroll needs to wind in his neck and learn the F1 humility his newbie status requires. The rant last year was watched with much amusement by seasoned F1 operators and fans alike, who now know exactly how to plug him in.
But for now, the happy band of underpaid, overworked and over delivering Silverstone engineers are crushed under the new management speak of Canada and the USA’s finest.