It is still not clear whether Lance Stroll will be able to take part in the Formula 1 season opener in Bahrain next week. The Canadian misses the ongoing tests in Sachir because he was injured in a bicycle accident. As the team has now confirmed, it is a wrist injury.
“He’s been training for the past week and trying to work on his fitness,” said team principal Mike Krack. “He was cycling and had a little incident that got him injured. And as a precaution, we decided it was better to wait a bit and be ready next week.”
However, Krack does not want to reveal any further details about the extent of Stroll’s injuries: “No, that’s his personal matter,” he dismisses when asked. “So he’s hurt his hand, his wrist. But I don’t want to go into details because it’s also a private matter.”
According to information from our colleagues from “Motorsport.com Italia”, the accident happened during training in Malaga. Stroll is said to have been taken to the Barcelona hospital where he underwent surgery. This was performed by Xavier Mir, who had also operated on multiple MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez.
During the test drives in Bahrain, Stroll will be replaced by Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich, who, even on Thursday afternoon, did not yet know whether he would also be used for the upcoming test days.
Aston Martin waiting for stroll
But even if that’s the case, according to Krack, that doesn’t mean that Stroll will definitely be out this coming weekend: “He completed the morning session today,” he says. “I think that’s also something you have to do as a team to cover all eventualities.”
“We have not yet made a final decision on how we will proceed in the next few days. We will decide that in the next few hours.”
A lot should also depend on when Stroll’s accident happened at all. Because that is not known. If it happened just before testing, it is unlikely that Stroll will be on the grid in Bahrain. However, if it was already early February and only became known shortly before the test, then the recovery time could be sufficient.
However, the team prepares for any eventuality with Drugovich. With Stoffel Vandoorne, Aston Martin would also have a second reserve driver, who will be in Bahrain next weekend but will be absent from testing due to the Formula E event in Cape Town.
Rumors that Sebastian Vettel could step in as a replacement for his old team are unfounded.
Drugovich: Defect right at the first exit
Drugovich completed a total of 40 laps on Thursday morning and set a best time of 1:34.564 minutes. However, there were problems right at the beginning when an electronic problem temporarily paralyzed his Aston Martin and with it the session.
“It took quite a bit of time to fix that,” he says angrily. “But it was pretty straightforward, a simple thing.”
Other than that, things were going quite well for the Brazilian: “It went on after that, a lot of tests for the team, exciting for me, exciting times. I’m obviously here to wish Lance a speedy recovery. But as long as I’m here, I have Have fun and try to help the team.”
Whether he will be allowed to climb into the car for Stroll again next weekend is an open question: “We don’t know yet. They evaluate it day by day,” says Drugovich. “So I don’t know what will happen, it also depends on him.”
Fernando Alonso will be the only driver at Aston Martin on Friday: “Felipe is on stand-by in case we need him,” the team said. You don’t want to set the squad for Saturday until tomorrow.