Skip to content

Aston Martin row back on Sebastian Vettel talk and say Felipe Drugovich could replace Lance Stroll at Bahrain GP

Aston Martin issue update less than 24 hours after team principal Mike Krack revealed contact with Sebastian Vettel; There is uncertainty over the fitness of Lance Stroll following his wrist injury that kept him out of testing

Aston Martin say they will give Lance Stroll "every chance" to race at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and that reserve driver Felipe Drugovich is the only candidate to replace the Canadian should he not recover from his injuries.

The team's update comes less than 24 hours after team principal Mike Krack refused to rule out Sebastian Vettel making a sensational return by driving for his former team next weekend.

Stroll is a major doubt after sustaining a wrist injury while cycling and Formula 2 champion Drugovich always appeared the most likely candidate to step in after deputising for Stroll at pre-season testing alongside Fernando Alonso, who the team signed to replace Vettel after the four-time world champion announced his retirement last July.

But Krack then revealed on Saturday night after testing that he had been in contact with Vettel.

"I have had a couple of phone calls with Sebastian," Krack said when asked if they had spoken in recent days.

"But this has been also last year, and this will continue in the future."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ted Kravitz is in the paddock ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season as he analyses the key moments from the third and final day of pre-season testing in Bahrain

Live Formula 1

Asked if Vettel, the four-time world champion who last raced in November's Abu Dhabi GP, had indicated an interest in driving, Krack replied: "I will not tell you."

Also See:

But on Sunday morning, an Aston Martin statement read: "The team will continue to give Lance every chance to race, pending recovery from his injury.

"Should he not be fit to compete, then Felipe will drive the AMR23 alongside Fernando."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The drivers seem to forget it's just testing and decide to go racing as the final session comes to an end in Bahrain!

Aston Martin have supplied limited information about Stroll's injury, revealing only that he suffered it while cycling.

Krack admitted that he himself is unsure of the status of the 24-year-old, who is the son of Aston Martin chairman and owner Lawrence Stroll.

"I honestly don't know at this point. He's our Plan A obviously, we want to have Lance back in the car, but we have to wait, what he says and what the doctors are saying in the right moment," Krack said.

"There are certain delays or certain limits that you have to give to the FIA, and then we will respect this. We'll have to see how the situation is developing over the next day. It's like in football, you have players that are a little bit injured, and you wait for the last moment, and then you decide if they can play or not.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Lewis Hamilton makes his mark and sets the fastest time in his Mercedes on the final day of testing in Bahrain

"The Plan B we have to decide. We have some Plan Bs, but we have to decide the Plan B when the Plan A not possible. It's very simple. Can he drive or can he not drive?"

The prospect of driving an Aston Martin at the Bahrain International Circuit next weekend has been made all the more appealing by the team's impressive showing at testing.

Alonso finished second to reigning world champion Max Verstappen on the opening day and showed encouraging long-run pace in Saturday's closing session.

Formula 1 is back! Watch the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 next weekend. The track action starts on Friday while Sunday's race begins at 3pm. Get Sky Sports

Around Sky