Lance Stroll is widely expected to move to Force India, following his father’s consortium buying the team. This could lead to a massive game of musical chairs with four Formula 1 seats up for grabs as early as the next race at Monza.
There are chances that the Canadian could displace Esteban Ocon at Force India. Stroll could possibly set off a chain reaction where Ocon and Stoffel Vandoorne could change teams. Robert Kubica could be primed for an F1 return and Marcus Ericsson left hanging.
Stroll did not deny reports of a seat fitting at Force India next week. Ocon responded in a similar manner regarding rumours of a visit to McLaren for the same reason.
During a McLaren media conference today, sporting director Gil de Ferran played coy on the Ocon rumours. So, Ocon is expected to be McLaren-bound to join Carlos Sainz. If rumours are to be believed, the outgoing Stoffel Vandoorne could head to Sauber.
However, De Ferran insisted that Vandoorne will “be in the car for the rest of the year”. However Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur is waiting for the opportunity to hire Vandoorne. Vasseur and Vandoorne’s manager Alessandro Alunni Bravi, who is a director at Sauber, have persuaded the team’s co-owner Finn Rausing to hire Vandoorne as a replacement for Marcus Ericsson, who has fallen short of rookie team mate Charles Leclerc this season.
Vandoorne declined to comment on whether he had spoken to Sauber. Stroll’s place at Williams could be taken by Robert Kubica, who will make his return to F1 after eight years out of the cockpit.
Stroll will join Sergio Perez at Force India. The Mexican driver’s 2019 contract extension at the team is now believed to be a formality.
During a media session today he described how he advised the team’s new owners that “probably the start of next year should be the target to try to be on a much higher level.” Asked whether that meant he had already signed his option to remain at the team next year, Perez said: “For me I already know what I am doing next year but I cannot communicate it yet. It’s signed.”
The net effect of Stroll’s move to Force India will therefore be that Formula 1 loses Ericsson at the expense of Kubica returning, and three drivers switching teams.