Aston Martin reveal why they didn’t want Sebastian Vettel to replace Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll was a doubt for the season-opener in Bahrain following a pre-season cycling accident in Spain.

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack has revealed that retired four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel was not asked by the Silverstone-based team if he’d return to the sport to replace Lance Stroll in Bahrain, after the Canadian was initially a doubt for the season-opener.

Stroll’s participation at the Bahrain International Circuit was a huge unknown ahead of the start of the 2023 F1 season, after the Canadian had a cycling accident in Spain.

The crash actually broke Stroll’s wrist, resulting in surgery that ruled him out of pre-season testing.

As a result, rumours began to circulate that Aston Martin were considering asking Vettel to replace Stroll, should the 24-year-old be declared unfit.

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Stroll ended up competing in the Bahrain GP and battled through the pain to finish sixth.

Krack has since revealed that he was indeed “tempted” to contact his former driver just in case but that ultimately, he opted against it out of “respect” for the German.

“Tempted? Yes, 100%. But we didn’t do it, because we have such a high respect for Sebastian and his decision that he made at the time,” Krack told the F1 Nation podcast.

“I think it would not have been correct even to ask. We wanted to respect the way he was, and we didn’t want to put him in any difficult position.”

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Whilst Vettel didn’t replace Stroll in Bahrain, Krack went on to reveal that the team have remained in contact with the 35-year-old, who sent the team boss a message congratulating them on Fernando Alonso’s podium at the season-opener.

“We have been in touch. We were in touch for the New Year, obviously. But then also Sebastian was Sebastian-like, congratulating us, very gentleman-like, after our first podium in Bahrain,” Krack commented.

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“I always said to him this is also your merit, because he brought us really one step up over the previous two years. He brought us up in a lot of areas, where we have learned a lot and progressed a lot.

“He has certainly [played] his part in where we are now. But he’s comfortable with that; he was not in any kind of regretting [frame of mind] or whatever, because he was very conscious about his decision when he made it.

“I think the respect between himself and the team, or the respect between himself and myself, [was] really shown by this great moment of congratulating us. That was really, really appreciated and also I relayed it to the whole team.”