Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda will remain with Aston Martin and AlphaTauri respectively next season with Mike Krack jokingly questioning his driver’s tennis skills while Franz Tost says his driver is “fixed”.
Failing to match Fernando Alonso this season with Stroll yet to reach the podium while Alonso has seven top-three results to his name, questions have been asked about Stroll’s commitment to Formula 1 and if he’s enjoying his time on the grid.
It had respected journalist Ben Anderson telling The Race there have “been some rumours floating around that he’s considering a switch to tennis.”
Mike Krack confirms Lance Stroll ‘stays’ with Aston Martin for 2024
Stroll laughed this off, saying it’s not something he’s ever considered and while he thinks he’s pretty good, he doesn’t believe he’s “ready to go up against [Novak] Djokovic and [Carlos] Alcaraz just yet.”
Stroll is believed to have a rolling contract with the Silverstone team that is owned by his father Lawrence.
The tennis rumour was put to his team boss Krack with the 51-year-old joking that while he doesn’t know his driver’s tennis skills, he does know he’s a good driver.
As such, Aston Martin will be holding onto Stroll for the 2024 championship.
“I don’t know whether Lance is a good tennis player or not. But what I do know is that he is a good racing driver and that he stays with us,” he told Sky Deutschland.
‘Yuki Tsunoda’s future more or less already fixed’
As for Tsunoda, there has been speculation in recent weeks that the Japanese driver’s seat is not as secure as had been thought.
Although he’s scored all three of the team’s 2023 points, he lost to Daniel Ricciardo on the Aussie’s F1 return in Hungary while Liam Lawson also finished ahead of Tsunoda on his AlphaTauri debut at Zandvoort.
It had pundits suggesting Ricciardo and Lawson could be the team’s 2024 line-up with Tsunoda left out in the cold as Red Bull also don’t consider him to be a candidate for a drive alongside Max Verstappen.
Soon-to-be-retired team boss Franz Tost has denied this, saying: “I definitely see Yuki in the team next year. That’s more or less already fixed.”
That leaves just three seats, that of Tsunoda’s teammate as well as one at Williams and one at Alfa Romeo, unconfirmed.
According to F1’s rumour mill, Zhou Guanyu could be out at the end of the season if Theo Pourchaire wins the Formula 2 championship while Logan Sargeant has been told he needs to “earn” his place.
Williams team boss James Vowles shared with Sky Sports the warning or advice, depending on your point of view, he gave his driver.
“The comment I’ve given him is this: It’s a meritocracy. You’re not here just because we want you to be here. You have to earn your place,” Vowles said.
“This is the pinnacle of motorsport, and what I’m asking for you is follow this general guidance, follow this development path, keep moving forward relative to Alex and there’s a place for you here with your name on it.”
“Before then, there’s points with your name on it,” he added.