Lawrence Stroll backs up Hamilton’s F1 ‘billionaire boys club’ claim

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Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll has backed up Lewis Hamilton’s claims about Formula One being a ‘billionaire boys club’ after revealing the high expenses of having to compete in the sport.

Hamilton’s quip came last May when the seven-time world champion was left frustrated at the financial hurdles lower income racers have to overcome just to become involved in motor racing.

Hamilton said: ‘We are living in a time that this is really a billionaire boys’ club. If I go back to where I started, growing up in a normal working-class family, there’s no way I could be here. No way. All the guys that you’re fighting against just have that much more money.

Lewis Hamilton (pictured) has previously branded Formula One as a 'billionaire boys club'

 Lewis Hamilton (pictured) has previously branded Formula One as a ‘billionaire boys club’

‘For the future, we’ve got to work to change that, to make it more accessible to people from rich and more normal backgrounds.’

While grand prix racing has always been an expensive sport to compete in, three drivers on the grid are sons of billionaires including Nikita Mazepin, Nicholas Latifi and Lance Stroll.

Lance Stroll has shown enough competence to have become a regular on the grid since 2021 and will compete again for his father’s Aston Martin team this term when the new season gets underway in Bahrain next month.

Lawrence Stroll though freely admitted that the sport was only a realistic venture to capital rich participants from teams through to drivers.

Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll admits that only the very wealthy can compete

 Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll admits that only the very wealthy can compete

‘Racing is definitely expensive, from go-karting on up, there’s no doubt about it,’ Stroll said.

‘It’s a lot less expensive to play golf or play tennis but F1 it’s an expensive sport, there’s machinery. There’s a lot of people who run the machines.

‘You have to be a very wealthy individual or a very large corporation to be able to afford to be in Formula One.

‘I don’t know what Lewis’s comment was referring to but this is a sport that is very capital intensive. If you look at, for example, building a new building or a new wind tunnel, that’s well over £150million.

Lawrence Stroll's son Lance is part of his father's Aston Martin team for the 2022 season

 Lawrence Stroll’s son Lance is part of his father’s Aston Martin team for the 2022 season

‘But Formula One is definitely an expensive sport to be in, there’s no question about that.’

Aston Martin recently launched their 2022 car, which will be driven by Sebastian Vettel as well as Lance Stroll, as they hope to build upon a disappointing season last year where the team could only place a distant seventh in the constructors’ championship – taking just one podium finish.

Lawrence Stroll though is investing to bump the team up the grid, taking staff levels up by 300 to 800, but indicated improvements would be gradual when asked how long it would take for the team to become competitive.

‘I think it’s four, five or six years,’ he added. ‘We’re currently in a good place. We share Mercedes’ wind tunnel, but it is not as good as having your own.

Lance Stroll (left) will once again have Sebastian Vettel (right) as his his team-mate for 2022

‘Facilities wise, we’ve definitely outgrown our current site. We’re putting up a lot of temporary facilities in order to accommodate all these new employees. But as far as plans going forward, like pretty much every other business I own, is to win. In this case, winning and Formula One obviously means world championships. Ultimately, that’s what we are striving for. That’s what I am striving for.

‘We all know very well that success in Formula One or any other business for that matter doesn’t come overnight. That takes years to put the right people, the right tools, the right processes in place.

‘But we’re building and investing in our team with the ambition of moving up the grid year by year. And our ultimate ambition is to win world championships.’


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