Aston won’t rule out Vettel as Stroll stand-in

SAHIR, Bahrain. Aston Martin team principal Mike Krak has not ruled out the possibility of a remarkable return for Sebastian Vettel to replace an injured Lance Stroll at the opening race of the Formula 1 season in Bahrain next week, but said their preferred plan was to still have the Walk in the Car.

Vettel retired from F1 in the 2022 final race just over three months ago and was replaced by two-time champion Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin during the winter.

Alonso’s teammate Stroll injured his wrist in a training accident last week and has been forced to miss three days of pre-season testing this week. A decision has not yet been made on his return to the first race, which will take place on March 5.

Aston Martin called on reserve driver Felipe Drugovic to drive the team’s new AMR23 car on Thursday morning and Saturday morning, but Krak said the team has more than one Plan B if Stroll is not fit to race.

“Plan B that we have to decide, we have some B plans, we have to accept the B plan when the A plan is ready,” he said.

On the final day of pre-season testing on Saturday, rumors began to circulate that four-time champion Vettel had contacted Aston Martin about a comeback.

Asked if Vettel could be an option if Stroll is ruled out, Krak added: “Plan B, which we’ve already talked about, we’ll talk about it next week.”

When asked if he spoke to Seb after the Stroll accident, Krak replied, “No, no, I had a few phone calls with Sebastian, but that was also last year and will continue into the future.”

Asked if Vettel showed interest in driving, Krak added: “I won’t tell you.”

Journalists kept asking Krak about Vettel’s return, to which he said, “But don’t forget one thing, he had a very, very thorough retirement plan.

“And I think that’s also something you should respect. Let’s see what happens.”


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