Aston Martin has dominated headlines throughout 2023, with expectations and hype surrounding the AMR23 dating back to the winter break – even before testing in Bahrain.
Luckily for the Silverstone-based team, they delivered on these expectations immediately with a podium in Bahrain – before securing four more courtesy of Fernando Alonso.
Currently third in the constructors’ standings, there are plenty of reasons to be positive at Aston Martin. However, with improved results and competitiveness comes heightened scrutiny; from the media and fans alike.
As a result, there have been growing criticisms of Lance Stroll’s performances this season, as questions are posed about his ability to compete at the front of F1.
Although fans generally praised his recovery from injury in Bahrain and Jeddah, a sequence of disappointing weekends in Baku, Miami and Monaco quickly changed the narrative.
The Canadian driver is currently 64 points behind his teammate, perhaps the most blatant example of the advantage Fernando Alonso has enjoyed so far in 2023.
However, a solid weekend at the recent Spanish GP was a welcome boost for the 24-year-old, with Lawrence Stroll (owner of Aston Martin F1) reiterating his confidence in his son’s ability:
“I think he demonstrated in Barcelona he’s now starting [to feel better]. It took six or seven races to feel better [from his injury],” he told Reuters.
“I believe they [Stroll and Alonso] will be equal by the end of the season.”
Such comments will almost certainly be received with scepticism, based on Alonso’s level of performance throughout his career and – more specifically – in 2023.
The Spaniard has enjoyed a comfortable edge over his teammate, one which has arguably increased as time has passed since Stroll’s injury.
It is fair to point out that a mechanical failure in Jeddah, alongside damage in Monaco qualifying, has exacerbated the points gap between Aston Martin’s drivers in the standings.
However, such statements – though unsurprising given the strong relationship between the Strolls – will only increase the scrutiny of Lance’s performances.
Lawrence Stroll evidently does not share most of the critiques directed at his son. Nonetheless, it will be intriguing to observe how Aston Martin navigates this unique dynamic within the team.
With the anticipation of the AMR23’s Canada updates on the rise, the British squad’s progress will be closely observed throughout the weekend.
This level of expectation is probably not what Lance Stroll hoped for, as evidenced by his far more conservative statements ahead of his home Grand Prix:
“With how close the pecking order has been in recent races, it will be interesting to see what the characteristics of the circuit do to the competitiveness up and down the pitlane this weekend.
“The margins will be very tight, so we’ll be pushing hard to put on a good show for my home crowd.”
Regardless of the media tornado that is building up heading into Canadian GP, it will be Aston Martin’s responsibility – like the rest of the field – to execute a clean weekend.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang