Not even a wheel has turned in competitive anger for the new Formula One season and it feels like silly season has arrived already. With Lance Stroll now considered highly doubtful to be ready for the upcoming grand prix in Bahrain, thoughts now turn to his replacement.
Aston Martin’s reserve driver Felipe Drugovitch completed two half days during the Bahrain pre-season test, though were he really in the running to race next weekend the team would surely have given him his fair share of time in the car.
Drugovitch least likely to replace Stroll
Stofel Vandoorne who is Aston’s other reserve was racing this weekend in the South African E-Prix, but he can’t be ruled out given his previous Formula One experience.
Yet the romantic story would be if Aston Martin were to reach out to their newly retired driver, Sebastian Vettel. During the German’s heyday at Red Bull, his rivalry with Alonso was legendary.
To have seen Vettel and Alonso racing in the same team would have had Formula One fans salivating and even though they are now past their peak, this pairing would steal the media focus for the entirety of the Formula One season opening weekend.
Aston team boss refuses to rule out a Vettel return
Aston’s team boss Mike Krack was questioned over Stroll’s replacement and he told the assembled media, “We have some plan Bs, but we have to decide the plan B when the plan A is not possible.”
“It is something that we will have to discuss in the next days,” he added.
Krack was specifically questioned about whether the team would consider Sebastian Vettel as Stroll’s replacement. He replied cowedly, “the plan B, we said already, that we will speak about next week.”
When asked again about Vettel, Mike Krack refused to confirm whether Vettel would be interested in a return saying just, “I have had a couple of phone calls with Sebastian, but this has been also last year, and this will continue in the future.”
Vettel/Alonso “both different ways of communicating”
When asked how the two drivers related to the team in differing ways, Krack responded:
“It’s very, very difficult to compare. Both are very, very fast drivers. Both have been world champions. But one is Latin, one is German so I think it’s difficult to really compare.
“Both have their own ways of communicating. Both have their own ways of handling, of dealing with the team. And I think it’s unfair to say one is better or is worse in these kind of areas. They are both great champions.”
Aston Martin would steal the show if they paired up Alonso and Vettel for the opening round of the 2023 season, though Sebastian would cede advantage to his old foe given his lack of testing in the car this week.