While Lance Stroll may be somewhat in the shade alongside Fernando Alonso this year, the Canadian driver’s own talents have been highlighted by Tom McCullough.
While Alonso has scored 170 of Aston Martin’s 217 points this season, the young Canadian racer has frequently been singled out for praise by team management and Alonso himself.
Currently on 47 points, less than a third of Alonso’s points tally after 14 weekends together, Stroll has had a tough season on and off track – he came into the season lacking preparation following a pre-season cycling accident that resulted in injuries requiring surgery, while he has also recently had to contend with an infection that meant he missed media day at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Lance Stroll’s talents highlighted by Aston Martin
Speaking to media, including PlanetF1.com, Stroll’s recent form was the topic of conversation as Tom McCullough was pressed on the strengths the Canadian driver brings to the team given Alonso’s hefty points score.
“Lance’s high-speed car control,” said the Aston Martin performance director.
“He’s really strong in high-speed corners, and his ability in the low grip situations in the wet has always been strong. We saw that again in Zandvoort Q1 and Q2, until we didn’t make all the right decisions at the end of Q2.
“He puts so much effort in behind the scenes with driving the simulator. He spends a lot of time with his engineers working hard to understand.
“When you’ve got a reference like Fernando to look at his data, he loves sitting down and going through all that stuff to learn. That’s something he enjoys doing and he’s good at doing.
“His ability on the first lap, his starts, and when the grip is really low, like car control, he often has very strong first laps and very rarely has contact and that’s normally a sign of somebody with a lot of car control.”
Mike Krack: Important to differentiate between gaps in points and gaps in performance
Earlier in the weekend, team boss Mike Krack had also been pushed on the topic of Stroll’s struggles, given his lack of points compared to Alonso are possibly keeping his team out of contention for the runner-up spot this season.
As son of team owner Lawrence Stroll, Lance’s position in 2024 appears to be secure with Krack all but confirming Stroll will be in the seat again next year.
“It’s driver silly season and it’s bit boring at the moment,” he said, when asked if Stroll is immune to the pressures other drivers might face in their position.
“I think we don’t have any such debate at the moment. We will be fine next year with the two drivers.”
Given that Alonso has taken multiple podiums and even occasionally been the closest competitor to Max Verstappen’s dominance, Krack said that he didn’t believe there to be a marked difference in performance between the Spaniard and his young teammate.
“No, there is not a marked gap in performance – there is a marked gap in points. It’s important to separate between the two,” he explained.
“We, as a team, are analysing the season from both perspectives, from both drivers, and I think we as a team need to do a much, much better job on that side of the garage come race strategy but also we had reliability issues and it was always hitting that car, so that is something we need to do much, much better.
“I think, in general, between drivers there is always a certain gap that you would say is, I would say not normal, but circumstantial. Sometimes you have a bit of traffic, sometimes one has a glitch in one corner, but I think the drivers are normally within three tenths.
“I think when you look at the last qualifying sessions – Q1 in Zandvoort, for example – there was nothing in between them, so I don’t think that there is any particular characteristic [of the car] that will be different for him than for Fernando.”