(This is a new piece I wrote for VICE Sports.)
Formula 1 is the most exclusive and expensive sport on the planet. Just 20 drivers will make up the grid for the 2017 season and, for the first time since 2006, one of them is Canadian. Eighteen-year-old Lance Stroll will make his debut on Sunday in the Australian Grand Prix after his father, fashion investor Lawrence, reportedly spent $80 million preparing him for F1 and securing him a seat with Williams Racing, the same team that brought Jacques Villeneuve into the series in 1996.
Villeneuve, the last Canadian to race in F1, won four grands prix in his first season and the World Drivers’ Championship in his second, but despite the superficial similarities, we should not expect a similar rookie campaign from Stroll. He may be an incredibly talented driver (or not), but his skill behind the wheel will not be the most important factor in determining his success—it isn’t for any F1 driver.