Aston Martin Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll believes the root cause of Lance Stroll’s 2023 Formula 1 struggles is “bad luck” rather than his son’s “own abilities”.
Stroll, who missed the entirety of pre-season testing with two broken wrists from a cycling accident, started the year by following up sixth at the first race in Bahrain with a fourth-place finish two rounds later in Australia.
However, the Canadian has failed to build on those encouraging displays, scoring only 47 points in total and lagging a colossal 136 points behind team-mate Fernando Alonso.
The Canadian is still waiting to score his first points since the summer break and has also been eliminated in the first segment of qualifying at each of the past four rounds.
Consequently, Aston Martin have fallen away from Mercedes and Ferrari in the battle for second in the Constructors’ Championship, with McLaren now only 11 points behind.
But Lawrence Stroll has defended the growing deficit between his son and Alonso during 2023 by listing the bouts of “bad luck” he considers Lance to have sustained.
“Lance started the year on the back foot with two broken wrists for the first half-dozen races, which was very challenging, but really did a heroic job – and he’s had an unfortunate amount of bad luck,” Stroll explained to Sky Sports F1.
“He’s had nine retirements due to engine failures, or a rear-wing fail [in Japan].
“Half of the races it hasn’t been anything to do with his own abilities, he has just had a lot of bad luck, sadly.”
While Stroll has endured an alarming slump since the break, Aston Martin’s competitiveness has also rapidly tailed off since its surging start to the campaign.
Alonso notched six podium finishes in the opening eight races, but the Spaniard has only added one further top-three finish across the previous nine rounds.
Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack admitted that its regression could be traced back to “side effects” from upgrades it introduced earlier in the year, which Stroll is convinced have hampered him the most.
“Yeah, there’s things for sure,” Stroll said last time out in Qatar.
“There’re always things in every car, I mean, but I think when the car has been really good this year, I’ve been really happy with it. And it’s just recently it’s been a bit more challenging.”
When Stroll’s suggestion was put to him, Krack said: “I think we need to prove it first.
“The fact is that he has lost a bit of competitivity, and this is something we need to understand.
“We have suspicions and indications, and this is I think what Lance is referring to.
“But then we need to make the according changes and see, if this is confirmed, that if you improve that, he improves as well,” he added.