Aston Martin yet to finalise driver line-up after Lance Stroll injury

Lance Stroll's injury means he will miss the upcoming pre-season test in Bahrain.

It has been a busy week already for Aston Martin ahead of pre-season testing getting underway in Bahrain on Thursday, with Lance Stroll having been ruled out of the test following a “minor accident” whilst cycling in Spain.

Stroll’s absence will certainly be disappointing for the side; however, the Canadian’s full focus for the time being is to make sure he’s fully recovered in time for the season opener at the Bahrain International Circuit next weekend.

With Stroll having been ruled out, attention quickly switched as to who might replace the driver, given that three full days of running for Fernando Alonso would be incredibly demanding.

Aston Martin didn’t leave it long to reveal who’d be replacing Stroll, with 2022 Formula 2 World Champion and reserve driver Felipe Drugovich having been announced as his replacement, with the Brazilian set to kick-start testing for the British team.

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The team confirmed on Tuesday that Drugovich would “share driving duties” with Alonso in Bahrain, with the F2 Champion to drive in the morning session on Thursday, meaning he’ll be driving for the team first in pre-season testing.

Alonso will then be in the car Thursday afternoon, with the plan for testing on Friday and Saturday yet to be confirmed by the side.

“UPDATE: @FelipeDrugovich will attend the Bahrain test to share driving duties with Fernando Alonso,” the team revealed on Twitter.

“Felipe is scheduled to drive AMR23 on Thursday morning with Fernando taking over in the afternoon. Schedule for Friday and Saturday to be confirmed.”

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Drugovich was seemingly the only option to replace Stroll, with fellow Aston Martin reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne having been declared as unavailable, due to being in South Africa this weekend for the fifth round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

Some wondered if Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher would be considered by Aston Martin; however, it was reported by BILD that the German wasn’t an available option.

Giving Drugovich time driving the AMR23 during pre-season testing could actually be hugely beneficial for the team and, of course, for the driver, given how much easier it’ll make future FP1 appearances.

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It’s assumed that Drugovich will be used by Aston Martin this season during two FP1 sessions, in order to comply with the mandatory rookie rule, where each side must use a rookie driver during two free practice sessions.

Typically, a rookie’s first FP1 session is spent trying to understand the car, something Drugovich won’t have to do as much of by driving in pre-season testing.

When it comes to potentially driving in an FP1 session then, Drugovich will be in a much better position to provide the team with more accurate data, something which will also help both Stroll and Alonso.