Aston Martin remains confident in Lance Stroll’s abilities, arguing that external circumstances have impacted his results.
A combination of factors has seen Lance Stroll under significant scrutiny in 2023. He made headlines even before the season began, sustaining an injury that put his participation in the Bahrain GP at risk. His impressive comeback to finish P6 drew plenty of praise across the F1 paddock – but this didn’t last long.
The Canadian was soon criticised for his deficit in performance to teammate Fernando Alonso. This was reflected most clearly in the driver’s standings, with the Spaniard boasting a significantly higher points tally. With two rounds left this year, the Double World Champion is well over 100 points clear of his Aston Martin teammate.
Although other metrics can be used to make an assessment, they aren’t especially flattering for Stroll. His low point this year was arguably in Singapore, where a crash in qualifying ended his weekend. More broadly speaking, the 25-year-old’s efforts downturn in form coincided with the failed mid-season development at Team Silverstone.
Aston defend Stroll
In an AMR23 increasingly struggling for points, Stroll struggled to drag his car up the field in the same fashion as Alonso. However, Tom McCullough (Aston’s performance director) believes the blame shouldn’t be placed towards the drivers:
“Lance we obviously know well, we’ve known him for the last few seasons. He was really on the backfoot at the start of the year.
“When the car was competitive, he was scoring the points. He’s had, and it’s easy to say ‘bad luck’, but right from race three, when he’s having an exhaust failure, and not getting the points he deserved there.
“There’s been quite a few circumstances again recently. In Suzuka, we had a rear wing failure – nothing he’s doing wrong. But at the end of the day, on the days when the car’s been able to score good points, he’s often not been able to do that.
“Which has not really been down to him, so we know if we give either of our drivers a good car, they’ll get us the points.”
As always, Formula 1 requires both driver and machine to perform at an optimum level. Aston Martin has indeed been the architect of their own downfall this year. Their downturn in results can be traced back to the Canadian GP and the upgrades introduced there.
With that said, they could have finished higher in the constructors’ with a better contribution from Lance Stroll. Despite McLaren’s mid-season rise, they are only 21 points ahead of Mike Krack’s team. If Stroll had contributed more heavily early in the season, Aston could have created a bigger buffer for their rivals.
The Brazilian GP was arguably the team’s best-executed weekend of 2023, so they will be eager to carry this momentum into next season.