Toto Wolff Believes F1’s next big star will be this Canadian Youngster

Mercedes AMG boss Toto Wolff and American racing legend Chip Ganassi have both put their necks out and stated that the current leader of the European Formula 3 Championship, Lance Stroll, is set to go on and achieve success at the pinnacle of motor racing that is Formula One.

Toto Wolff is a serial groomer for young driver talent that are plying their trade in the lower Formula’s. He is largely responsible for the addition of Valtteri Bottas to the grid after managing the Finn’s early career before his own managerial career started at Mercedes.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 27: Valtteria Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at Hungaroring on July 27, 2014 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Vladimir Rys Photography via Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – JULY 27: Valtteria Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at Hungaroring on July 27, 2014 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Vladimir Rys Photography via Getty Images)

Yes, the young Canadian driver has a rich, successful, multi-millionaire father that has ensured his son gets only the best racing classes. But where a silver spoon only ever remains a silver spoon for many, Lance Stroll is optimizing his opportunity with something that money can’t buy: results on the track.

Toto Wolff said,

“Lance has the benefit of having gone to classes with the help of his father. The downside is people don’t recognize how good he really is. When you speak to the boy who’s only 17-years old, you tend to believe you’re talking to a 35-year old. His maturity and his intelligence are going to take him far.

I’m sure this kid will be the next Canadian in Formula 1, and it has nothing to do with his father’s wealth, because the boy can drive. He’s also working extremely hard. The intelligence and his maturity are really outstanding. I never saw that with a 17-year-old.

For example, Max Verstappen acts more like a teenager. In the car, he’s extremely good, but when you interact with him, he’s a kid. But with Lance, his maturity is very surprising.”

– Toto Wolff

Stroll made his racing debut for the prototype class Daytona series with Chip Ganassi racing, at the Rolex 24 Daytona. Ganassi has also been very impressed with his driver, saying,

“He made quite an impression on us. He did a great job at the Daytona 24 Hours. Drivers like Lance and Felix [Rosenqvist] are two guys who have to be on the radar screen of any ambitious team – whether it’s Formula 1 or here in IndyCar – looking for the next young up-and-coming kid with great potential. You know that wherever they go, they’re going to be good and they’re going to be fast.

Let’s face it, you and I, we’ve all seen rich kids come along and spend their family’s money to try and make it. And they screw up, sometimes because it’s come too easy, sometimes because they don’t have the right attitude.

I’ve known his father for 25 years, but not knowing Lance I admit, I was a little skeptical, you know? What impressed me about Lance is he did have the right attitude, he learned well, listened well. And I’ll tell you this, that kid is the real deal.”

– Chip Ganassi

Stroll signed up as a development driver for Williams last year alongside Alex Lynn. Whilst there already looks to be more drivers than seats for 2017 with Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc hovering on the fringes of the sport, Stroll may well be one to look out for in the future.