Lance Stroll has gone deep about the extent of his injury and the hard simulator time he did to decide to take part in F1 Bahrain GP.
Aston Martin had a deja vu moment to start the 2023 F1 season, much like how they did in 2022 when Sebastian Vettel was forced to miss the Bahrain GP and Nico Hulkenburg was drafted in at the last minute. The difference was timing here.
Vettel did complete the pre-season test before catching COVID-19. Stroll, meanwhile, missed the Bahrain pre-season test after a training incident in Barcelona. He broke his right wrist and underwent minor surgery as revealed by him upon his return.
Felipe Drugovich stood for him and was to drive the AMR23 if Stroll hadn’t returned. But with the Canadian getting an all-clear, the Brazilian will do his reserve duties. People have raised their eyebrows upon his return but the Aston Martin driver is raring to go.
He completed a hard simulator session at the team’s Silverstone base before traveling and Stroll notes he wouldn’t risk driving if he thought the pain was too severe or he would injure himself further to miss races ahead and jeopardise his season.
“I fell off my bike and broke my right wrist, so screws,” said Stroll to multiple medias in Bahrain. “I had a surgery on my right wrist, it was just a small procedure and it was just physiotherapy and rehab to get me here. I was in the sim yesterday, the day before, I’m feeling pretty strong.
“We turned up the steering strength and I felt good winding on the lock and going over bumps and all those things. With these injuries it’s always hard to tell, but 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 been improving a lot every day. I got cleared by the doctors and they’re confident I can go racing and that the bones are looking good,” summed up Stroll.
He is hurt but it isn’t that bad to miss a grand prix being a professional athlete. “It hurts a bit, but it feels good,” continued Stroll. “It feels solid and nothing that I haven’t had before. I want to have every chance to go racing. If I feel like I’m fit enough to race, with a bit of discomfort, I’m going to do it.
“We’re professional athletes, in every sport we’re sometimes in a bit of discomfort. If I felt it was not smart or there was a risk or I felt my bones were not ready, I wouldn’t do it. F1 is a long season, it’s 23 races, it’s not all about being here in Bahrain. But I feel confident, doctors feel confident, so here I am,” summed up Stroll, who is not certain when the screws will be off and until then he will have to race with it.
“It is not 100% guaranteed yet,” revealed Stroll. “The doctors said they’ll reassess. But they could come out because, in the end, it depends on how you’re feeling down the line.” While he was away, the bulk of the work had to be carried out by Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard missed the valuable feedback of Stroll who drove the AMR22 and would have felt the differences more. Having been in a familiar position last year when Alonso seemingly broke his bones during the Australia weekend after a crash, he continued to race with it until August with pain.
“I think they are very different things,” said Alonso. “I don’t know exactly what Lance has, and it’s a private thing that you can ask him, and he will check in the car. It’s already very good news that he’s here and he will try – that shows his desire to win and motivation to win. Fighting for whatever position we can achieve this weekend, he’s here and ready to try, so that’s a very good sign.
“In my case, yes, I broke a few bones in both hands last year, so until August I was not fully recovered and had some pain, but we love driving,” summed up Alonso, who noted that he and Stroll were in constant touch in the last few days when the Canadian was in the simulator driving the AMR23 spec.
“We’ve been in contact from day one,” continued Alonso. “Lance was updated on everything during the test. We spoke with him in the lunch breaks and also in evening sessions. He was at the simulator the last few days as well, giving us feedback. We were on the same page basically in real time.”
Here’s news on return of Lance Stroll
Here’s Aston Martin on Felipe Drugovich
Here’s Mike Krack on Sebastian Vettel and others
Here’s Mike Krack, Felipe Drugovich on the situation
Here’s news on Aston Martin reserve on loan to McLaren