Ex-Formula 1 race winner David Coulthard says Aston Martin can’t “keep making excuses” for Lance Stroll’s poor recent form.
Stroll recovered from a cycling accident that left him with two fractured wrists and completely ruled him out of pre-season testing to record a sixth-place finish at the opening round of the season in Bahrain.
However, the Canadian has failed to press on from there and has only scored 37 points across the first eight races compared to team-mate Fernando Alonso’s tally of 117.
Furthermore, while Alonso has taken six podiums for a resurgent Aston Martin side in 2023, Stroll is still waiting to score a top-three finish with a competitive AMR23 car.
Speaking on the Formula for Success podcast, F1 pundit Eddie Jordan questioned how long Lawrence Stroll can continue to defend his son’s position in the team if his performances don’t improve.
“Here’s a question: you own Aston Martin and have poured fortunes and fortunes of your own money [into it]. And there’s a huge amount of sponsorship money.
“What do you say to the sponsors who have come to you when they ask you the question, ‘Are you sure that Lance can do the job that we need to do to get this team to be a winning constructors team?’
“I want to know: if you’re Lawrence Stroll, what do you answer?”
Aside from beating Alonso at the Spanish Grand Prix, Stroll has struggled increasingly to match his partner as of late, dropping out of Q2 in both Monaco and Canada.
While the ex-Williams racer would crash out ignominiously in Monte Carlo, he recovered seven positions in Montreal to register a ninth-place finish at his home race.
Despite Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack crediting Stroll for his comeback, Coulthard asserts that Stroll’s recent qualifying troubles show that “the stopwatch doesn’t lie” in comparison to Alonso, 41, who was able to be Max Verstappen’s closest challenger on both occasions.
“Is it any surprise in one of the most difficult transitional qualifying sessions that you’ve seen this year, and in Monaco as well, that one young, brilliant talent and an older brilliant talent find their way onto the front row?”
“I’m not saying Lance isn’t good enough, he’s won everything all the way through his journey towards F1,” the 13-time F1 winner continued. “There’s been some elements of misfortune in his run this year.
“But there’s a point where you can’t keep making excuses. This is a stopwatch competition, and a certain point that is what will dictate what teams choose to do in the future.”
Aside from Krack, Alonso has also regularly jumped to the defence of Stroll in recent weeks, stating it’s only a “matter of time” before he’s also competing at the front.
“I think we saw many times in the past sparks of Lance, in wet qualifying, in races, at the starts, Lap 1 performance, these kinds of things that are outstanding,” said Alonso.
“And then, some other weekends that the result was not coming, or you get in a bad loop in qualifying, so something like that, and then the weekend is a little bit compromised.
“I think, for him, the most important thing now is to get the consistency, weekend after weekend… That consistency is going to be the next step in his career, to be constantly fighting for the top five and then at the end of the year, you see the amount of points that you gain when you get all the weekends right.”