Throughout most of 2023, Aston Martin has been criticised for its driver line-up. Specifically, the performances and overall ability of Lance Stroll have been called into question among F1 circles this season.
Stroll was levied with criticism before even making his debut with Williams, owing to the financial support provided by his father Lawrence Stroll.
After being outperformed by Felipe Massa (and showing similar pace to rookie Sergey Sirotkin the year after), the Canadian was never regarded as a top talent.
Despite occasional stand-out moments (such as qualifying in P4 Monza 2017), his lack of pace was still noted. It would be unfair to say that Stroll is without highlights in Formula 1, having secured a Pole Position and several podiums.
However, Sirotkin is the only teammate the 24-year-old has outperformed in over seven years on the grid.
This statistic, alongside the unique security he has enjoyed since Lawrence Stroll’s acquisition of Racing Point, is a point of contention among fans.
More recently, the arrival of Fernando Alonso is putting the spotlight on the podium-finisher.
Alonso enjoys a significant advantage over Stroll in qualifying and race day, evidenced most notably by the driver’s standings.
Although an early-season injury has been used to excuse the Canadian’s struggles, the substantial discrepancy in the Aston Martin garage cannot be denied.
Speaking earlier this year, Mike Krack echoed an increasingly common defence of Stroll:
“For us as a team, it is not really a problem,” he explained over the summer.
“Because, like you see in Hungary, he’s competitive. He’s on similar levels to Fernando.
“And I think you need not forget you have one of the greatest drivers of all time as your team-mate. This is not easy.”
Such comments have become increasingly typical from Mike Krack, understandable given Lawrence Stroll’s ownership of the team.
However, Formula 1’s currently ultra-competitive field features the likes of Hamilton, Verstappen, Leclerc and Leclerc.
Moving forward, Aston Martin must assess if they can maximise their potential with Lance Stroll in their line-up.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang