Aston Martin received some good news before the first race of the 2023 Formula 1 season, when they learned that Lance Stroll would be back behind the wheel for the first race of the campaign.
Stroll missed last week’s pre-season testing after suffering a training injury. Reserve driver Felipe Drugovich took Stroll’s place behind the wheel of the team’s 2023 challenger, the AMR23.
But Stroll told the media in Bahrain ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix that despite having surgery on his right wrist, he would be able to drive this weekend. “It was a day-by-day thing,” he explained. “With these injuries it’s always hard to tell. There is not a really quick answer how long it will take. The first few days were rough. It looked like it was going to be tough. But then the last four or five days, it’s really like been improving a lot every day. And I’ve still got 20 hours or something so every hour and minute helps.”
Stroll conceded that he would likely be racing with screws in his wrist, depending on how the doctors feel after a few more days. “The doctors said we’ll reassess,” Stroll told the media. “They could come out, they could stay in, depends on how [I’m] feeling down the line.”
This looks to be a critical season for Aston Martin, who finished seventh in the Constructors’ Championship a season ago. Fernando Alonso joined the team for the 2023 campaign, and this is also the first full season with Dan Fallows as the team’s Technical Director, who joined Aston Martin in April of 2022 after serving as Red Bull’s Head of Aerodynamics.
The AMR23 has drawn comparisons to Red Bull’s 2023 challenger, the RB19.
Hopes for a much better finish were certainly increased last week in Bahrain, when Aston Martin was the talk of the paddock. Other drivers, and other teams, all pointed to Aston Martin as a team to watch for 2023.
Having Stroll back in the cockpit for the season-opening race helps those odds even more.