Lance Stroll reveals suspected reason leading to ‘rough’ season in 2023

Thomas Maher
Aston Martin's Lance Stroll sits in his AMR23 ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix.

Aston Martin's Lance Stroll sits in his AMR23 ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix.

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll has had a poor season, scoring just a quarter of the points of teammate Fernando Alonso, and he has a suspicion why…

The Canadian driver has scored 47 points of Aston Martin’s 221 points this year, a particularly unbalanced team line-up as Alonso has a grand total of 174 points – almost four times the tally of Stroll over the same amount of race weekends.

Stroll has had a nightmare season, filled with bad luck and incidents, as well as illnesses and a pre-season injury that compromised his pre-season preparations.

Lance Stroll: There are things in my control that I can improve

Speaking to media ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix, Stroll addressed his underwhelming season, admitting that he has lacked speed on occasion when incidents haven’t ruined his weekends.

“It’s been rough, it’s been a rough season, to be honest since the first few races, it’s kind of been difficult,” he said.

“A lot of stuff has happened, reliability issues, and unfortunate circumstances.

“The speed, at times, has just been not really there. It’s just things to learn from and now, there’s nothing we can do about it. The past bit of the season is gone, there’s nothing you can really do about it, you can’t go back in time.

“So, just sights set on this weekend and the remainder of the season and trying to just push forward and finish as strong as possible.”

Asked whether he feels the situation has sometimes been outside his control, the Canadian held his hands up to say he has room to grow himself as a driver.

“There are definitely things in my control,” he said.

“I feel like there are things I can work on and improve to be faster. But there’s also been a huge amount of just unfortunate circumstances when I look throughout the year.

“From Saudi running in P4, having the engine problem there, from having a good weekend in Austria to getting a pitstop exactly at the Virtual Safety Car time.

“In Canada, putting on the wrong tyres in qualifying, instead of a new set. We accidentally put on an old set of intermediates, which makes a huge difference in the end result. Just multiple things like that.

“Last week, running in a decent race at the start and having the wing failure, just things happening and missing out on opportunities to score big points.

“The end, sometimes it’s like that, but there are definitely things I can improve on, many things we can improve on as a group to be stronger.

“Now I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season and what we can do to finish strong.”

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Lance Stroll suspects pre-season testing absence playing a role

Despite the issues he’s faced, Stroll explained that he is having no problems summoning up the motivation to continue trying to dip deep and perform at his best.

“It’s not hard. I mean, I get to race Formula 1 cars and go Grand Prix racing,”he said.

“So it’s a great thing to do. I’m looking forward to every weekend, especially coming here, it’s a great track, a great weekend, high grip – I suspect – with the new tarmac, we don’t know.

“But last time we came here, it was super high grip, super fast track. Somewhere incredible to drive. So yeah, I’m looking forward to every weekend.”

Stroll suffered wrist injuries ahead of pre-season testing, injuries that required him to sit out the entirety of the driving days available to the drivers before the season start as he required emergency surgery and maximum rehabilitation time to recover for the season opener in Bahrain.

But, while Stroll hit the ground running with a sixth place at the first race, the Canadian believes missing pre-season testing has played a bigger role in some of his 2023 issues than he initially expected.

“For sure, there will naturally be,” he said, when asked if there was some hangover of performance loss from missing pre-season.

“Missing the beginning of testing and a bunch of items that you try at that time of the year that you don’t really have as much of a chance to try throughout the season.

“You get an idea of what the car does, when you do this for the mechanical balance, or this with the aero balance. This with the diff and this with the cambers and you just get hundreds of laps to do that. And I missed that.

“So, for sure, there are probably moments where I think back to that, and I’m like, ‘Oh, it would have been nice to have that time in the car’. It’s always nice to have time in the car.

“But I also feel like when the car is under me, and I have the confidence to push, it’s been a great car. At the beginning of the year, we saw that the car was really competitive and I didn’t feel like I really lacked much from missing winter testing, I felt really good in the car.

“It’s just a little bit sometimes, for sure, I always feel like there are test items and stuff that you try in preseason testing and prepare yourself for what the car does if you do this, that, or the other.

“I didn’t really get that time to try all those things.”

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