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Who could replace Lance Stroll at Aston Martin?

Aston Martin took a major step in 2023 finishing the season with 280 points, over five times the points they earned in 2022, and with 9 podiums. On paper this sounds very positive considering that the major infrastructure upgrades taking place at their Silverstone base of operations are still under construction and with a lot of new people joining the team since its identity change from Racing Point in 2021.

Although Aston Martin's pace seemed to fall backwards mid-season as teams such as McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari made strides while Aston Martin went down development paths which ended up making the car worse rather than better, a revert back to older spec parts and sacrificing two race weekends to better understand their mistakes with the floor upgrades for 2024 helped them back towards the upper end of the grid.

Unfortunately for Aston Martin most of their points were scored by one driver in Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard scored 206 points and finished 4th in the championship while his teammate Lance Stroll scored only 74 points and finished in 10th position. Another 23 points from Stroll would have meant that Aston would have allowed Aston Martin to finish 4th in the constructors championship ahead of McLaren, bringing big financial and moral gain to the team which cannot be overlooked.

It's no secret that the reason Lance Stroll still has a drive in Formula One is due to his father, Lawrence Stroll, being the owner of the Aston Martin team but that by no means that he isn't a more than capable Grand Prix driver. Lance has three podiums and one pole position at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix which was in more than tough conditions with an extremally greasy track in changeable conditions. Despite this Saturday tends to the weaker side of his craft with his best usually coming on race day, albeit sometimes being damage control from lackluster qualifying.

This has been all well and good for Aston Martin/Racing Point over the past seasons as they have been placing building blocks while still in the midfield pack, but with moving upwards and into the leading group this situation becomes more problematic. The chasing pack of Red Bull is beyond tight and without two drivers who can deliver close to the maximum at least every time the car allows it, Aston will find it hard to make consistent progress in the constructors championship.

This means that the team has to be realistic about it's long-term aspirations and really consider if Stroll is the right fit for the team as they move forward or if a driver change is needed and possibly overdue.

There are four main candidates who could be in line to take over Lance's at Aston Martin:

Carlos Sainz

Sainz was the only driver to secure a win in the 2023 season that wasn't in a Red Bull and finished only 6 points behind his teammate Charles Leclerc but unfortunately it doesn't warrant him an equal status in Ferrari with his Monegasque teammate. Although Ferrari always says that they have no number one driver and offer equal opportunity to both their drivers, it would be foolish not to believe that Leclerc is Ferrari's chosen star and has the overall pace back to back it up. Formula One teams usually develop a car to suit their quickest driver and changes to the Ferrari towards the end of the 2023 season done just that by giving the car a slightly more oversteer orinated balance. This plays into Leclerc's strengths as a driver and against Sainz's.

Carlos is not getting any younger and will soon have to make a decision on how he wants to finish out his Grand Prix career. A move to Aston Martin could offer him what Ferrari cannot, a team that can focus on him and build a future to possibly close out his career finally being the lead driver.

Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda has just come off his best season yet in Formula One yet it feels as if his future in the Red Bull ladder is in it's most complicated place thus far. A returning Daniel Riccardo and Liam Lawson proving that he has the goods to perform in Formula One machinery means that Yuki could end up being caught in no-mans land come the next switch up in both Red Bull owned teams driver line-up's.

A move to Aston would make sense with Honda joining forces with the Silverstone based team at the start of 2026 with a works engine deal. Honda backed Tsunoda's junior career and was one of the driving factors that gained him the Alpha Tauri seat in 2021. Hiring Tsunoda would allow Aston to keep Honda happy with a Japanese driver and provide a competent and improving driver to accompany Fernando Alonso.

Alex Albon

Albon arguably had one of the best seasons in 2023 scoring 27 of the teams 28 points and being the sole reason Williams finished 7th in the constructors championship. Qualifying the FW45 out of position and then putting up stellar defensive drives on Sunday bagged Albon most of his points finishes.

Although Williams gave Alex the avenue back into Formula One, loyalty within the sport can often mean that your progression is halted and after the last year its clear that Albon doesn't owe anything to Williams.

At the age of 27 Albon sits in a similar bracket to Carlos Sainz, albeit with a lot more to fulfill in his Grand Prix racing career. A move to Aston would put Albon in a more upwardly mobile team with higher competitivity and give Aston an extremally quick and hungry driver.

Felipe Drugovich

Aston Martin's current reserve driver should the ideal candidate to take over for Lance Stroll on paper. The 2022 Formula 2 champion is already integrated within Aston Martin and has done outings in Formula One machinery for the team.

Drugovich won the Formula 2 title in his third season in the category beating second place driver, Theo Pourchaire, by 101 points. All this should mean that Felipe should be a great fit for joining Aston, starting out his Formula One career and offering the team a fresh and hungry rookie.

The reason that this comes across as being unlikely is because if Aston Martin had full confidence in the Brazilian they would have given him a drive for the upcoming 2024 season and since this hasn't happened and Drugovich has to take a second year on the sideline and the prospect of a full Formula One drive becomes more and more unlikely.

2024 will be a monumental year for Aston Martin where they have to prove if they have truly have made progress and understand their package. This will only be truly evident at the first race weekend in Bahrain and whether the car is where it was at the start of 2023 or falls slightly back there's no doubt that the pack will be just as, if not tighter than the end of the 2023 season and most likely Aston will not have the luxury of making a huge points gain at the start of the season while others try to iron out their problems.

This should mean that Lance Stroll will have to be on top of his game from the start and if he cannot perform at a high enough level it should mean that the time has come for Lawrence Stroll to move his son aside and get a new driver for the greater good of his team and business.

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Lance Stroll > Daniel Ross

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