Aston Martin break silence on Sebastian Vettel racing in Bahrain GP

Sebastian Vettel retired from F1 at the end of 2022 having made 299 GP starts.

With the start of the 2023 season being just one week away, perhaps the biggest story of the season is already unfolding over at Aston Martin, in response to Lance Stroll’s potential absence from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

It was revealed not long before the start of pre-season testing that the Canadian wouldn’t be present at the circuit, due to him having been involved in a “minor accident” whilst cycling in Spain.

As a result of Stroll being absent from pre-season testing, the Silverstone-based team opted to use reserve driver and reigning Formula 2 World Champion Felipe Drugovich alongside Fernando Alonso, with the Brazilian having done a stellar job in the two sessions he completed.

Only Drugovich was available for pre-season testing to replace Stroll, with fellow reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne having been in Cape Town competing in Formula E.

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There is no Formula E race next weekend, though, with Vandoorne reportedly set to be at the Bahrain International Circuit with the team for the Grand Prix.

Given that Vandoorne hasn’t yet driven the AMR23, the likelihood is that Drugovich will be used for the opening race of the season should Stroll not be fit.

Based on paddock rumours, Aston Martin will need to replace Stroll for at least the opening race, with some having reported that the Canadian has broken both of his wrists.

Aston Martin are yet to officially confirm the severity of Stroll’s injury, with the team expected to make an announcement prior to next week’s Grand Prix to declare whether he’ll be competing or not.

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It has been speculated that another driver has shown their interest in replacing Stroll in Bahrain, with it being a person who’ll likely make a lot of fans incredibly happy.

According to Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel would be interested in replacing Stroll in Bahrain, despite having retired at the 2022 season finale.

Should Vettel astonishingly replace Stroll then he’d start his 300th GP, unless Aston Martin endure any issues before the race.

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The rumour was immediately put to team principal Mike Krack, who refused to give anything anyway.

“He had a very, very thorough plan in mind for his retirement and I think this is also something that you have to respect. Let’s see what’s happening,” Krack said.

Krack was then asked if Vettel would be open to a special return, to which the team boss said: “I will not tell you.”