Sunday, 12 august 2018, 04:56 , by Matthew Scott
Lance Stroll is reportedly in line to switch to Force India for the Belgian Grand Prix, with McLaren's local favourite Stoffel Vandoorne set to be the ultimate casualty. That is according to La Derniere Heure, with suggestions that Esteban Ocon is set to take the Belgian's McLaren seat at Spa-Francorchamps.
The switch may also offer the race a moment of poignance, with Robert Kubica in line to fill Stroll's shoes at Williams - seeing him return to a grand prix drive for the first time since suffering life-altering injuries in a 2011 rally crash.
Stroll has been widely expected to join Force India after his billionaire father Lawrence fronted a consortium that bought out the financially crippled team last week.
However, it now appears that the advice of fellow Canadian Jacques Villeneuve may be heeded and the teenager is in line to make an immediate switch, with Williams offering little to no chance of improvement through the remainder of the campaign.
As Stroll begins to flex his muscles at Force India, it would have a knock-on for Ocon, but his status as a Mercedes junior is likely to save him, as the Silver Arrows look to protect their most promising prospect.
A swap with Stroll is one option, with Mercedes supplying power units to Williams, but the bottom team's struggles in 2018 could put off the Silver Arrows as they look to mould Ocon into a potential race-winner.
Although McLaren have failed to live up to their promises after swapping Honda engines for Renault, a spell alongside a world champion like Fernando Alonso would offer Mercedes a good barometer of Ocon's ability - as well as offering the Frenchman a potential 2019 drive after a switch to Renault was blocked by the signing of Daniel Ricciardo.
It would leave Vandoorne on the scrapheap, with McLaren having reportedly grown impatient with him after being outqualified in all 12 races by Alonso so far this season.