Lawrence Stroll, father of current Williams Martini Racing driver Lance Stroll, has given a devastating review of Williams’ performance so far this season, calling it “a rude awakening” and saying that “a blind person could see the problem” with this year’s car.
Stroll Jr. joined the Williams team for the start of the 2017 season for a reported $80 million, leading many to call the young Canadian a pay driver.
He did nothing to dispel this tag in his first three races either, failing to finish any, though started to silence critics when he scored points in his seventh (and home) race in Canada.
This continued into the next race – the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – when he took his first, and to date only, podium, becoming the second-youngest podium finisher behind Max Verstappen.
He went on to finish the season in a respectable twelfth place, just three points behind then-team-mate Felipe Massa.
This year however has been decidedly more difficult for both Stroll and the Williams team, thanks in part to a lack of pace and, in another part, a renewed Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.
Perennial backmarkers Sauber have found pace this year, with new Sauber signing and Formula 1 rookie Charles Leclerc finishing sixth in only his fourth F1 race, and tenth the race after.
Stroll, meanwhile, has secured one points-scoring position (an eighth, in Baku) whilst now-team-mate Sergey Sirotkin has failed to finish any higher than fourteenth.
This puts Williams firmly at the bottom of the Constructors’ table on four points, some seven points behind ninth-placed Sauber.
Commenting on Williams’ pace so far this year Stroll Snr. told Motorsport.com that he laid blame squarely on Williams, though said he and Lance won’t leave the team as he “believes in the team“.
“We’re not there yet,” said Lawrence Stroll. “I believe in Williams, I believe in the team. Clearly they got it wrong so far.
“I do believe this is a rude awakening, and hopefully it will bring the best out of the people, and they’ll fix it. I’m sure not as quick as we’d like, and not as quick as they’d like either.
“But we’re not going anywhere else.
“Obviously the car clearly isn’t where we hoped and wanted to be, it’s quite a way off. We struggled when we came here for testing, and we’re still struggling.
“So it’s pretty apparent to the eye what’s wrong with the car. I gather everyone is trying their best, there’s a great sense of urgency in the team.
“It’s not that they don’t recognise the problem, everybody does.
“A blind person could see the problem. I know they’re working hard to fix it.
“I’m not a board member, I don’t own one share of this team, I’m simply Lance’s father. Whatever they can do to make the car go better, I’m in favour of, let’s put it that way.”