With the buyout of Force India by a seven-member consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, his son’s future now seems brighter with a possible mid-2018 season switch.
Ever since Lawrence bought the team earlier in August, rumours floated of Lance driving for Force India from Belgian GP onward replacing either Esteban Ocon and or Sergio Perez – with the weight more on the former.
However, the complications in the sale meant the team weren’t certain of even racing in the grand prix at Spa. But last-minute changes and approval from the FIA has allowed for a brand new team, Racing Point Force India to start this weekend afresh.
The team has zero points in the constructors’ championship but the drivers will keep their’s on the drivers’ standings. Since it is a brand new entry, the old contracts for both Ocon and Perez seemingly becomes invalid unless there is a special clause.
From a contractual point of view, it does become easier for Stroll Jr to make that mid-season switch to Force India after settlement with Williams. Usually, the contracts does carry a performance clause on both ends.
So, if there is anything on Stroll’s contract where performance is mentioned whether his or the team’s, a premature end is possible considering the team’s poor results this year. The Canadian driver though insists that he has a contract with Williams and that he is not thinking too far ahead.
But interestingly, when asked if he will see-through the season with Williams in 2018, Stroll admitted ‘nothing’s guaranteed’ and that he is taking the season in a weekend-by-weekend manner – thereby dropping a hint that there could be a possible change still.
“Nothing’s guaranteed, but right now I’m really just focused on this weekend and I’m going to give it my all like I always do and we’ll see what the future holds,” he said. “Right now I’m just taking it weekend by weekend and we’ll see what happens.”
Earlier on when asked about 2019, Stroll said: “Right now, I’m committed to Williams, the contract with Williams. We’ve achieved some good success in the past, last year, so right now I’m going to try and beat them [Force India].”
Stroll though was happy for his father to have bought a team like Force India in which he sees huge potential to do well, and more importantly saved the jobs of 400 people. “He’s done his due diligence and he sees that they currently punch above their weight.
“They do a really good job with what they have so like I said earlier, he sees a lot of opportunity and a lot of potential so he sees a great financial opportunity buying them in a very difficult position and he believes he can help grow the company and make them as competitive as they can be.
“At the moment I’m at Williams, we’ll see what happens with me in the future and I wish him all the best with Force India. It’s definitely a very exciting future for him but like I said, right now I’m really just focused on this weekend and what I’m doing the rest of this year.”
Sources in the paddock suggested to FormulaRapida.net that Stroll will be drafted in to Force India from as early as the Italian GP next weekend replacing Ocon. The likely taker for Ocon will then be Williams due to the team using Mercedes’ power unit.
However, some of the rumours outside our sources linked Ocon to McLaren to replace Stoffel Vandoorne. The Belgian though insisted that he will complete the season with McLaren. If Ocon moves to McLaren then Robert Kubica could get the Williams seat.
UPDATE: Having gathered more information on the topic over the weekend and going by the statements made by the team bosses, the above proposed changes may take place in Singapore rather than Italy.