Aston Martin deliver heart-breaking news to Sebastian Vettel fans

Felipe Drugovich replaced Lance Stroll during pre-season testing in Bahrain.

Much earlier than expected, Aston Martin have announced that reserve driver and reigning Formula 2 World Champion Felipe Drugovich will replace Lance Stroll should the Canadian “not be fit”, ruling out a shock return for four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

Despite Aston Martin having enjoyed a successful pre-season test at the Bahrain International Circuit, the week started in disappointing fashion for the Silverstone-based outfit, after they announced that Stroll would be unable to complete any testing.

It was revealed that Stroll had been involved in a cycling accident whilst training in Spain, with some members of the paddock having understood that the Canadian had broken both of his wrists in his “minor accident”.

Aston Martin haven’t officially confirmed the seriousness of Stroll’s injury; however, they have confirmed that Vettel won’t be replacing him in Bahrain next weekend.

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The crazy scenario began to circulate after Sky F1 commentator David Croft shared that Vettel had offered his “services” to Aston Martin, given that the German needs just one more start to hit 300.

For now, though, Vettel’s record will remain on 299 starts, following a post by Aston Martin on social media.

Aston Martin wrote: “An update on our driver line-up for the #BahrainGP.

“The team continue to give Lance every chance to race, pending recovery from his injury. Should he not be fit to compete, then Felipe will drive the AMR23 alongside Fernando [Alonso].”

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Prior to the announcement on social media, Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack had been pushed to answer if Vettel could perhaps make an appearance at the second round in Saudi Arabia, should Stroll still be unavailable.

Krack ensured that the goal is to have Stroll alongside Fernando Alonso, with that being the concrete “Plan A”.

“I mean, this is very, very hypothetical,” Krack explained to the media, including RacingNews365.

“First of all, our plan is to have Lance in the car.

“And then we will continue to see because we have Bahrain first before we speak about Jeddah. We have not made the final decision [on who will drive].

“Don’t forget one thing. [Sebastian] had a very, very thorough plan in mind for his retirement, and I think this is also something that you have to respect.

“So let’s see what’s happening, [but] I honestly don’t know at this point. [Lance] is obviously our Plan A, we want to have Lance back in the car, but we have to wait [to see] what he and what the doctors are saying in the right moment.

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“There are certain delays or certain limits that you have to give to the FIA, and we will respect this.

“We’ll have to see how the situation is developing over the next day. It’s like in football, you have players that are a little bit injured, and you wait for the last moment, and then you decide if they can play or not.

“We have some Plan Bs, but we have to decide the Plan B when the Plan A not possible. It’s very simple. Can [Stroll] drive or can he not drive?”