FORMULA ONE heads off to Montreal this weekend — although don’t expect much for Canadians to cheer.
Despite the country only having 15 F1 drivers throughout the sport’s history, they currently occupy ten per cent of the grid.
Stroll has scored just two points so far this seasonCredit: Reuters
Latifi is one of three drivers yet to score a point this seasonCredit: Alamy
However, Lance Stroll of Aston Martin and Williams driver Nicholas Latifi are both enduring difficult seasons with some question marks over their futures.
Stroll has scored just a measly two points so far and Latifi is currently sat 21st in a championship that has 20 cars on the grid.
That’s because Nico Hulkenberg’s two races for Aston Martin when Sebastian Vettel was sidelined with Covid have him placed above Latifi on account of his better finishing positions.
It has been frustrating for Stroll, who strangely retired from the race in Baku due to “a vibration issue”.
The previous day it was an engine problem that caused him to hit the barriers twice in a matter of seconds during qualifying while team-mate Vettel qualified in ninth.
Latifi, too, has had his fair share of errors and crashes.
And he was also embarrassingly outperformed by Nyck de Vries when the Formula E world champion jumped in for one practice session in Barcelona to set a lap time quicker than the Canadian.
Ordinarily, you’d say these two drivers have run out of time to say they deserve their places in F1.
Stroll might have three podiums in his 108 starts, while Latifi has never come close in his 47 GPs.
If both teams have serious aspirations about improving, then perhaps they need to look elsewhere.
However, we would be forgetting the fact that these two aren’t your usual backmarkers who have rustled up a few quid to drive in F1.
These are the billionaire boys. Both their dads are said to be worth over £2.5BILLION each.
Lawrence Stroll made his money through buying fashion brands and is also the owner of Aston Martin.
That makes firing his son a rather awkward prospect when he has spent millions at the team — including a brand new factory at Silverstone — in the hope they can challenge for titles.
On the other hand, Latifi’s dad, Michael, is the owner, chairman and CEO of Canadian food company Sofina Foods Inc.
His money was a welcome boost to cash-strapped Williams under their previous structure when they were owned by the Williams family.
However, now under owners Dorilton Capital, if the rumours are to be believed, then son Nicholas could be replaced by Australian racer Oscar Piastri in the near future.
Piastri, 21, is an exciting prospect after winning the F2 title last year and would certainly be a good fit alongside Alex Albon.
But with doubts over Latifi’s future, and with Stroll on a roll of three races without scoring points, it could be a miserable weekend for the locals.
KICK IN THE BOLUKS
THERE was a bust-up in Baku’s Formula 2 paddock which saw a driver fined €5,000 and his dad BANNED from the British Grand Prix.
Charouz Racing System’s Cem Bolukbasi, 24, was slapped with the fine after a heated exchange with Israeli F2 ace Roy Nissany.
Nissany, 27, was blamed for punting Turkish driver Bolukbasi out of the race and has received a three-place grid penalty.
But the drama did not end there as Cem’s dad Yavuz Bolukbasi sought out Nissany after the race.
Nissany’s trainer, Francesco Martinez, also became involved and there was “some pushing and physical contact” — yet according to the FIA’s report “no punches were exchanged”.
Bolukbasi senior has had his credentials withdrawn for the next round in Silverstone, while his son has to pay the fine within 48 hours.
LE MANS NERVES
TOYOTA’S Le Mans-winning star, rookie Ryo Hirakawa, said he “did not sleep for a week” before the weekend’s victory.
That hardly seems like ideal preparation for a 24-hour race.
THE key race this week is not the GP in Montreal — but whether the teams’ freight makes it there.
Air delays, plus a 5,565-mile trip from Baku, mean chiefs are sweating on logistics.
TOM INGRAM, 28, won two out of three races at Oulton Park to close the gap on BTCC leader Josh Cook to 15 points.
It was his first win at the circuit. Stephen Jelley won race three.
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