Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Silverstone, 2023

Drugovich’s F1 debut hopes dashed as Stroll returns to take part in Bahrain GP

2023 F1 season

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Lance Stroll will return to participate in the first race weekend of the new Formula 1 season, his Aston Martin team have confirmed.

The 24-year-old injured his right wrist in a cycling accident which prevented him from taking part in pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit last week.

Aston Martin previously announced reserve driver Felipe Drugovich had been selected to take Stroll’s place if he was unable to drive. Drugovich, the reigning Formula 2 champion, prepared to make his F1 debut this weekend by spending two half-days in the team’s new AMR23 chassis in testing last week.

However following what he called “minor surgery” on his wrist, Stroll has taken the decision to race in Bahrain this weekend.

“It was frustrating not to be out in Bahrain for the pre-season test and I was disappointed to miss the three days of running,” he said in a statement issued by the team. “However, given the injury to my wrist, the team and I felt it was best to focus on recovery so that I would be ready for this weekend and the long season ahead.”

He described the “unfortunate accident” which led to his injury. “I fell from my bike when my tyre caught a hole in the ground – but thankfully the damage was not significant and a successful minor surgery on my right wrist fixed the problem very quickly,” he said. “Since then, I’ve been working hard with my team to ensure that I am fully fit to compete this weekend.”

Stroll said he thanked “the F1 community for their support and privacy, as well as the team who have helped my recovery.

“Now I’m ready to get my head down and concentrate on racing this weekend – something I’m really looking forward to.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Drugovich’s F1 debut hopes dashed as Stroll returns to take part in Bahrain GP”

  1. Good news generally, despite Drugovich not getting a chance in the end, but full recovery & that nothing major happened are more important.

  2. Interesting they now confirm he had surgery – I don’t think that was widely shared earlier.

    We’ll see if he is actually ready during practice.

  3. That’s really disappointing! I’d much rather see Felipe drive than boring old Stroll, although I acknowledge that without Stroll, AMR wouldn’t exist…

  4. Drat – I would rather have seen what Drugovich is capable of.
    We all pretty much know what Stroll will be like :/

  5. Coventry Climax
    2nd March 2023, 11:17

    Even better would have been Alonso out of business for some silly reason, and then back after a race or two.
    That would have given us the opportunity to see where all three of them actually stand.
    And my prediction is that that would have shut up the Stroll fans for good.

  6. I wonder if Strolls recovery is right oh the limit time wise, he may struggle in practice if he’s rushed the process. I would have liked to have seen Drugovich get a chance. But it’s better for his career if he does the young driver FP1s and get more experience of F1 and the car before a proper full pre season possibly next year.
    He can actually provide some development feedback throughout the year now he’s had experience in the car and the simulator running he does should be more useful to the team.

  7. Nooooooo! What a shame for him. I was hoping he would shine on debut.

  8. We will know after one practice session if he will make it to the race… money is on him not racing this weekend

  9. Unfortunate. If a decent driver like Drugovich got even a single race, then we could compare how good Stroll really is, in comparison to Alonso at least!

  10. I think there is universal disappointment over this. Might have shown some class to allow the guy a GP even if he thinks he will be ready. It’s not like he’s going to be fighting for a WDC.

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