Mike Krack: Lance Stroll is at Aston Martin on merit, not because of his father

Thomas Maher
Aston Martin's Lance Stroll in the cockpit.

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack has said Lance Stroll is very underrated and deserves more credit than he gets.

Stroll will partner Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin for 2023, with the Canadian’s position at the team never in doubt as he is on a long-term contract of indeterminate length.

It has been a year to forget so far for Stroll, who has scored only four points in the 13 races held, putting him 18th in the Drivers’ Championship – team-mate Sebastian Vettel has scored 16 points by comparison, despite missing the first two races of the season.

While Stroll has not had many eye-catching drives this year, team boss Krack has said he is highly underrated as a driver and deserving of his position within the team.

The questioning of Stroll as a driver comes about due to the fact his father, Lawrence, is the owner of the team and, since purchasing the former Force India squad, son Lance has had his seat assured.

“It’s very difficult to say that,” Krack said on the Beyond the Grid podcast when asked about where Stroll fits in the driver pecking order.

“Lance, we must not forget, has never had a winning car so far in his career.”

Krack pointed to the example of how Stroll has popped in tremendous performances in tricky conditions, such as his famous pole position in Turkey in 2020 when qualifying was held in wet conditions.

“He has done exceptional things when conditions allowed – Istanbul, for example, in the wet,” Krack said.

“For me, Lance is one of the drivers that is very underrated. He is much, much better than people think. He also works much, much harder than people think.

“He’s very fit. And also, he’s a very polite person, which a lot of people do not know because they do not spend the time or invest the time to get to know him.”

Aston Martin's Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel on track at the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard, July 2022.

Krack, who took over as team boss for 2022, said he has been impressed by Stroll and reckons the Canadian driver is deserving of his place on merit.

“It is easy to put someone like that into a drawer and say ‘this is someone that is there because his father allowed him’. And that is not true,” he explained.

“He’s a very good driver and I think you see it when conditions are difficult. In difficult conditions, you often see who are the good ones and who are maybe not so strong.

“It is interesting that always when it rains, Lance is there. This tells us maybe we should look a bit more in detail than just saying ‘he’s there because…'”

Lance Stroll is benefiting from Sebastian Vettel’s experience

While four-time former World Champion Sebastian Vettel is leaving Aston Martin and F1 behind him at the conclusion of the 2022 season, his partnership with Stroll over the last two seasons has opened the eyes of the Canadian racer on how to perform at a higher level, according to Krack.

“I think he (Vettel) helped him a lot. I think it is the first time he (Stroll) has had a multiple winner, a World Champion next to him,” said Krack.

“He sees how to approach, how Sebastian is approaching a race weekend or the comments he’s making. When Sebastian speaks, Lance is listening.

“But he’s also asking questions because he wants to learn from what Sebastian is saying. He’ll ask him ‘how do you mean that?’ Or ‘do you also have this and this feeling?’

“So I think he benefits from that. From that point of view, I think that is also why Sebastian is not only himself in [car] number five, but is an asset for the team and for Lance.”