Aston Martin mystery does them no favours

On the eve of the 2023 pre-season Formula One test in Bahrain, Aston Martin announced their driver Lance Stroll had suffered a cycling injury and would not be taking part in the Sakhir based test.

Initially they refused to reveal who would replace the son of Aston Martin’s owner though it eventually became clear their reserve driver Felipe Drugovitch would get some track mileage.



Aston Martin had options

The Formula 2 champion was surprisingly only given two of the three sessions the other drivers were awarded which gave rise to suspicions that Aston Martin had other ideas about who would step in for Stroll in the grand prix next weekend.

Stofel Vandoorne is a seasoned Formula One racer also cast in the role of Aston Martin reserve driver, though once Drugavitch had been given track time in Bahrain, his chances of an F1 return for he grand prix were reduced to slim at best.

The romantic notion of a Sebastian Vettel return from retirement quickly took hold in the paddock. Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel once arch rivals at their respective Red Bull and Ferrari teams had F1 onlookers salivating with anticipation.



Team boss fuels Vettel return story

Team principal Mike Krack fuelled the Vettel story by repeated refusing to rule out the German and even commenting on how he and Alonso communicated differently with the team.

It appears sanity has returned to the Silverstone based squad as they announced it is Drugovitch who willl be on stand by should Stroll be unfit to return to the cockpit in 5 days time.

Felipe is probably the sensible choice given the mileage he has just completed and as Kevin Magnussen attested to last season when he was hastily recruited at short notice to the Haas team – the biggest fitness factor noticeable for a driver who has not trained for F1 is the neck pain.



The neck? The deciding factor?

After two races at the start of last season, Magnussen revealed, “There’s not really anything hard to get used to, it’s more [that] the hardest thing [to deal with] has been my neck.”

“Because you can’t really train your neck. You can train your neck, but it doesn’t get you fit to drive an F1 car. 

“You can do all the training you want on your neck, and I’ve done that in the past, and you get in the car, and it just hasn’t made any difference. You’re still completely messed up after the first day in the car. 

“So getting back [to that in] these first two races have been quite tough on the neck.”

All this aside, Aston Martin have done themselves no favours through the Lance Stroll injury saga. By being secretive over his injuries this has merely led to wild speculation and now disappointment for some that Vettel and Alonso won’t finally be paired in a team for one final battle.

READ MORE: Renault boss snubbed Ricciardo return

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