(L to R): Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Stroll’s points shortfall could leave Aston Martin fifth instead of second this year

2023 F1 team mate battles

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At many teams the balance of performance between the two drivers has ebbed and flowed over the year. Even at Red Bull – a notably one-sided contest – Sergio Perez was closer to Max Verstappen in the opening races than was the case going into the summer break.

But at Aston Martin Lance Stroll started well behind Fernando Alonso and has remained there.

Only in Spain did Stroll start and finish ahead of his team mate. That result can be put down to Alonso making a rare mistake in qualifying and then choosing not to overtake his team mate at the end of the race. Had Alonso not stayed his hand he would have gone into the summer break with a perfect score against his team mate on Sundays.

Given that Stroll bravely started the season while carrying a hand injury, having been forced to miss testing as a result of it, he was always going to start the year at a disadvantage to Alonso. Sure enough he qualified half a second behind him in Bahrain – though that still left Stroll near enough to come alarmingly close to taking both of them out on the first racing lap of the season.

Over the races that followed, on Stroll’s better weekends he would qualify a few tenths of a second off Alonso and follow him home a couple of places behind. However there were several other occasions where he fell short of that.

Alonso’s six podium finishes included Stroll’s home race
In Miami he was eliminated in Q1. In Monaco he got no further than Q2, then had a scruffy race in the rain which included tangling with rivals. At Silverstone he was downright ragged, drove off the track and took Pierre Gasly out.

Following Aston Martin’s stunning start to the season where they were consistently the second quickest team on Sundays, the team’s performance dropped off as the summer break approached, though the last race at Spa brought some encouraging signs that they’d managed to stop the rot. Prior to that Alonso picked up six podium finishes, while fourth place in the Australian Grand Prix is Stroll’s only top-five result in his last 57 grand prix starts.

The upshot is Alonso goes into the summer break with only the Red Bull drivers ahead of him in the championship. Logically it therefore follows that Aston Martin have been competitive enough over the opening races to hold second in the constructors’ standings. Instead, they are third behind Mercedes.

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As Stroll has contributed less than one-quarter of Aston Martin’s points haul, it’s clear that his performances are why the team is one place lower than it could be. But the situation could easily get worse over the final 10 races.

Ferrari are only five points behind Aston Martin and over the last three races have outscored them by 16. And while McLaren may be 93 points adrift, they’ve made significant progress with their MCL60 and have outscored Aston Martin by 53 points in the same period. That’s more points than Stroll has scored in the last 17 grands prix.

As the competition grows stronger, Stroll badly needs to perform on a par with his team mate, or the championship situation is going to get worse for his father’s team.

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Unrepresentative comparisons omitted. Negative value: Stroll was faster; Positive value: Alonso was faster

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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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51 comments on “Stroll’s points shortfall could leave Aston Martin fifth instead of second this year”

  1. Yeah, stroll surely did not help himself with the accident at the start. Maybe he is still carrying some lack of fitness, form or confidence after that? Or maybe being up against a teammate as relentlessly competitive as Alonso is, is just too much for a guy who had most things bent towards him up to now.

    1. @bascb or maybe he’s just a not so good driver. I’d not say he’s a bad one, but he’s definetly not good, prone to mistakes and not much evolution since he joined.

      He lacked against Massa, lacked against Perez, lacked against Vettel… put him against the beast that is Alonso, and he’s obviously going to struggle BADLY.

      It’d be incredibly sad to see this team, after all the effort to come up with a car like this one, to finish 4th or 5th only…

      1. However if you think about it, the car also got worse, it’s not just because of stroll they risk ending 5th, even alonso can’t do miracles with the car they have now, so like ferrari in 2022, if you start with a car that can win the title and end with the 3rd best car, it’s not surprising you’re actually fighting for 3rd.

        So I don’t think, even if stroll was a better driver, that 2nd was ever on the line with this car development trajectory.

        1. @esploratore1 true but the fact remains that if he had scored 50% of Alonso’s points, which is nothing crazy, they’d be fighting for 2nd instead of looking at their mirrors. Stroll is just incompetent in this fight, and as @keithedin says, McLaren is lurking behind having done almost a third of the championship with a wooden spoon and they have BOTH their drivers scoring big points.

        2. The car development went the wrong way which they are reversing (which takes time) using the extra windtunnel time only for that.

      2. @fer-no65 Given the recent performances of McLaren, I think Aston will be more worried about maintaining 4th than any thoughts of 3rd or 2nd. Even in Spa with a slightly stronger performance, Alonso was still a pit-stop behind Ferrari and Mercedes by the end, while McLaren were perhaps only out of contention due to setting up the car more for wet conditions. If McLaren continue to show good form in the second half of the season, with 2 consistent drivers they could easily start eating into the lead Aston currently have on them.

      3. When was the last time someone was better than Alonso?

        AM need a better driver if they want to be better.

        1. Last time was Lewis i think ….

        2. Jenson Button, 2015.

      4. Coventry Climax
        9th August 2023, 23:57

        Not good? He’s been labeled WDC material by several, if not all of his team mates, engineers, team principals and what not. Even Alonso himself praised him straight to P1. Well, P1-to-be land, but still.

        Like at Red Bull, the team is favoring Alonso, with a car clearly developed to suit him, which obviously puts Stroll on a massive back foot. Then there’s Strolls chassis being notably much heavier than Alonso’s and all of the new developed parts that come to Alonso’s car first and sometimes never even make it to Stroll’s car at all! And he’s had so much bad luck this year! Just look at how many times he was taken out of a race already through none of his fault. That’s certainly part of it as well. The team’s strategy too, that always favours Alonso, and that so frequently starts at qualifying already, that it must be deliberate. So, there’s no way you can blame Stroll for having to from much further back all the time.
        It’s a remarkable achievement by Stroll to even be where he is now, given all these drawbacks. Which clearly shows his craftsmanship and top notch quality behind the wheel. Championship material indeed! If it weren’t for all these setbacks, he’d have been champion six or seven times already, easily on par with the likes of Hamilton and most, if not all, of F1’s historically great. No, you’re not being fair on Stroll at all!

        1. Alonso is praising Lance not because he is so good but want to keep good relations with the team (kuch father) Now Lance is not so bad as everyone says but a average driver which does well when it’s wet now we had several wet races but lance didn’t set wonder times during that.

          Fact is this year he does terrible and the accident could be a part of that but then he shouldn’t return so fast and let heal his wrists more and pass 1 or 2 races to come back strong by finishing atleast around Alonso then the team would be much further ahead.

          1. Coventry Climax
            10th August 2023, 18:16

            I know perfectly well why people -not just Alonso- praise Lance.
            But I don’t care who praises him, he’s downright rubbish. Yes, there’s been occasional ‘highs’, but he’s still absolute rubbish.

  2. Disappointed that Alonso didn’t pull a Vandoorne on Stroll. He just didn’t seem on it at the Spanish GP weekend, and I think he played nice teammate to keep his boss happy.

    I would much rather Alonso destroy Stroll each weekend. There hasn’t been a driver on the grid, who has consistently been among the bottom 2 or 3 performers on the grid since 2017, and still had a race seat. Yet, we have Lance Stroll cruising around the circuit outside the points in what was the 2nd fastest car on the grid at the start of the season. His post race interviews are classy as well.. he’s got a disgusted look on his face and really doesn’t seem interested in being there. If Stroll doesn’t quit the sport on his accord, he has zero self respect.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      9th August 2023, 8:26

      He hasn’t actually always been rated in the bottom 2 – 3 though. Some seasons were actually more convincing after 2019 – until this year.

      2017: 17th
      2018: 18th
      2019: 19th
      2020: 15th
      2021: 16th
      2022: 15th

      1. @thegianthogweed This is about where i’d usually rate him too. Better than most of the outright rookies and some 2nd-3rd year drivers due to his experience, but worse than almost every veteran on the grid. That’s pretty consistently been the case, so it looks like that’s just his level and he’s unlikely to improve substantially from there.

      2. Those subjective ratings mean nothing. He never did anything to deserve his seat, not in any team, not any season. Quite humiliating story, at least the way I see honor and dignity.

    2. Isn’t it humiliating enough when your teammate casually sails behind you and generously hands you a few points?

      1. Not for Lance.. he was beaming in the post race interviews. I’ve seen drivers less happy when they win a race as compared to Lance points finish in front of a teammate who gave him charity points.

        1. I’ve seen drivers less happy when they win a race

          This guy, for starters:

          1. Coventry Climax
            10th August 2023, 0:03

            That’s about as hilarious as Stroll being in F1.

          2. That was fantastic, I really didn’t know about that one and I watched a lot of Fry & Laurie, I’m still having to get my breath back from laughing my T___ off.

          3. I loved their programme but I don’t remember seeing that sketch. Excellent! And he really landed that punch! :D Thanks for sharing.

    3. Have you forgotten that Stroll’s father owns the team?

  3. Lance is for sure the worst driver no progress at all since 2019 i don’t see him during TV coverages this year sometimes i had the feeling lance wasn’t in the race or on track.

  4. What’s puzzling to me is that Lance still has defenders. People that will go to bat for him not being a nepotism baby and that he’s actually really good (point to one of his three podiums or the one pole position where Racing Point were the class of the field and Perez messed up the final lap).

    Lance has done 135 races by now, that’s an insane amount of races to still be talked about as a rookie and a young up and comer. Sure he’s not a terrible driver, he’s “fine.” But he’s not 135 race starts “fine.” It’s time for him to go. Surely Lawrence has another position in the team that Lance could be good at and get paid for. I get it, my Boss’s son recently got promoted to “COO” after 5 years with the company, 3 of which he spend as a literal secretary. It’s a thing. So give Lance a nice management position but get him out of that car before you get that Honda engine and that fresh design team builds a championship contender.

    1. I do think Stroll is better than he’s given credit for: I think he’s a very good racing driver and is probably in the top 1,000 single-seater racers on the planet. He’s well short of Alonso, but who isn’t?

      That said… while I think the criticism is overblown, I still don’t think he’s good enough to deserve his seat. To me he’s a good racer who isn’t quite at the standard expected in F1. No shame in that; bow out with respect for getting close.

      1. Given that there’s only ever been 774 race drivers in Formula 1 up until now making the top 1000 isn’t exactly a high bar to set. But yeah, sure, he’s not bad enough to not be worth a couple of F1 seasons.

        I disagree with the “very good racing driver” moniker a lot though. I think Lance is decently fast, but I think he’s a poor race driver. His spatial awareness is barely existent. Just look at his out lap incident with Latifi and post-race crash with Vettel for extreme examples, but also a number of lap one incidents where Lance just seem to forget there’s other cars around is and cuts accross tracks to hit apexes while other cars are there, or for example, the 2021 Hungary race where he plowed into other cars only to be overshadowed by Bottas taking out the entire top of the field outside of his teammate. Point being, he’s decently fast, but his race craft is better suited for F3 than F2.

        1. *than F1.

      2. No shame in that; bow out with respect for getting close.

        But this is the point – he’s the nepo baby son of a rich billionaire who would rather sack the entire team than admit his son isn’t F1 champion material. He will be on the grid up until the point that Stroll Sr. gives up on F1 for some other reason than ‘his son just doesn’t have it’…

    2. @sjaakfoo I don’t think he’s bad but as you say he’s not a driver that’s worth 7 seasons in F1. His only major (and very very good IMO) highlight was that Turkish GP, one he should’ve built his later career from. Sadly he didn’t.

      1. @fer-no65

        In his 135 odd races… he’s performed unexpectedly well in 3 races (around 2%) .. he’s been mediocre in around 30 races and been absolute rubbish for a little over a 100 races. I can’t think of another driver on the F1 grid who’s had over a 100 rubbish race weekends and still had a drive the next season without any worry.

        F1 isn’t for Stroll… his dad should retire and let him run the racing outfit in to the ground.

  5. The funny thing is. If AM does aim for a victory or even a WDC in 2024, Alonso will be the only of their drivers capable of delivering that.

    The added windtunnel time that comes with being dragged down in the WCC by Stroll is actually helping to achieve that goal.

    I am.not saying that is a conscious strategy and if it was I would not consider it honourable but it is a fact.

    Don’t basketball teams do something similar?

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      9th August 2023, 13:01

      I remember table tennis teams tried at London 2012 and got excluded

  6. If the team is serious about becoming a top team they should drop Stroll. But I doubt they will do that since they seem to be existing in their current situation because of him.

  7. I can see Lawrence Stroll taking Lance out of this team and buying him a seat at Williams on a not very distant future just to keep him happy.

    His lack of performance will bite them by the end of the year and it will be all on him failing to make any ground when the car was best of the rest.

    1. I agree. If Lawrence is serious about turning Aston in to a serious outfit, then he should buy another team (Haas maybe) and put Lance in that seat alongside an unrated rookie driver. Lance will be happy every weekend when he finally has a teammate he can beat, while Aston gets Piastri alongside Alonso to challenge for a title.

  8. There’s no reason to pretend Stroll isn’t there because his dad owns the team. However, he’s “only” something like four places down on Alonso on average in qualifying and the race, in a group of cars that includes Sainz, Russell, Leclerc, and Hamilton. That’s stiff competition. There have been far worse drivers in F1 than Lance Stroll.

    Alonso is Alonso; he’s in a very small category of drivers. Hamilton and Verstappen are there too, but that’s about it. Pretty much everyone “fails” when they’re partnered with Alonso. The only person who didn’t, is the man who won the most F1 races ever.

    1. Now trim this list to drivers that have raced as many races as he did.
      He’s likely to be among the worst drivers with over 100 GPs under his name.

      If you’re not that good, you’ll see yourself out of a seat sooner rather than later, but if you are Lance Stroll, it doesn’t matter, your place will be always secured and you’re likely to get even better cars than before, it’s the complete opposite of a normal driver’s experience.

      Easy not to look too terrible when you’re given so many opportunities, including private tests, and some pretty decent cars along the way.

      1. It’s not that easy though, in F1 a tenth or two is made out to be this huge deal, but there are plenty of professional race car drivers all across the world who’d struggle to be that close to the likes of Alonso and Vettel. Not every touring car hero is a Shane van Gisbergen in disguise, I guess.

        Stroll has done over 130 races. That’s a lot, sure. Is he a worse driver than Emerson Fittipaldi and Clay Regazzoni, who he is in between in the all time ranking? Sure, no argument there. But guys like Eddie Cheever (132), Pierluigi Martini (118 ) or Derek Warwick (146)? It’s probably not that straight forward.

        The weird thing about Stroll is that he can be properly impressive in very specific conditions. Just straight up among the best on the grid. Those weird slightly wet-ish situations, that usually speak very well of someone’s feeling for the car. The odd part being that he seems to have limitations elsewhere that affect his ‘normal’ driving. He’s a bit of an odd driver.

        1. It’s not that straightforward because he have been having better opportunities thanks to his wealth. His father was investing heavily in Williams, but when Williams made that terrible 2018 car, what did he do? Left them and went to invest his money on a better team.

          Now you tell me if Pierluigi Martini, who spent most of his career racing for Minardi, could have done the same back in the day….

          1. Edvaldo, you have actually picked quite a poor example in using Pierluigi Martini, because there is an argument that nepotism did also play it’s part in his career.

            As it happens, Pierluigi Martini’s uncle happened to be Giancarlo Martini – a wealthy industrialist and part time racing driver who also happened to help Minardi found his team, helped fund Minardi’s team in those early years, drove for Minardi in Formula 2 and was a close personal friend of Minardi.

            Would Pierluigi Martini have had quite as long a career at Minardi as he did if his family didn’t have such close personal contacts with Giancarlo Minardi himself?

          2. That still does not put him on par with Stroll, as Minardi was among the worst teams of during his time there.

            It’s easier to look better when you can just buy a better team and stay there endlessly. Once in a while, decent results will come. That’s what happens with Stroll.

  9. As a Canadian, Stroll is an embarrassment. He should change his name to Leisurely and things will be right with F1.

  10. Who’s agenda are we feeding & feeling now?

    1. *feeding

  11. AM should have kept Nico Hulkenberg and send Lance to Haas.

    1. Based on the few occasions both shared the same car that would have been a sensible decision.

  12. They could replace him with Mick: the third Schumacher to drive for Jordan. Might come with some free engines, gearboxes etc.

  13. I for one would like Lawrence Stroll to know that I think his son has the natural speed, canny racecraft, and trenchantly unerring decision making under pressure to lead the team to a championship in the very near future. Just a few rough spots to polish and he’ll be fighting it out at the sharp end of the grid week after week. Also, any time there’s an open position on the team, I’m very available and willing to say anything.

  14. The only reason Aston Martin exists is to give Lance Stroll a (good) drive, and that’s all there is to it. Alonso knows that.

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