Under-fire F1 drivers retained for 2024

Aston Martin is set to stick with Lance Stroll despite his recent poor performance, while AlphaTauri will back Yuki Tsunoda.

Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda have secured their seats with Aston Martin and AlphaTauri, respectively, for the upcoming 2024 season. 

Despite recent speculations and rumours swirling around the paddock, both drivers have affirmed their commitments to their respective teams.

While this season has seen Stroll trailing behind the seasoned Fernando Alonso, who boasts seven top-three finishes, Stroll’s performance has led some to question his dedication to Formula 1 and his enjoyment of the sport. 

Notably, respected journalist Ben Anderson raised eyebrows when he suggested that Stroll might consider a career switch to tennis. 

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However, Stroll dismissed these speculations with a chuckle, stating that while he believes he’s a decent tennis player, he’s not quite ready to compete against the likes of tennis giants Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. 

His connection to the Silverstone-based Aston Martin team, owned by his father Lawrence Stroll, is secured by a rolling contract.

Team principal Mike Krack playfully responded to the tennis rumours, humorously admitting that he couldn’t speak to Stroll’s tennis skills but was certain about his prowess on the racetrack. 

Consequently, Aston Martin has confirmed Stroll as part of their lineup for the 2024 championship.

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Krack remarked, “I don’t know whether Lance is a good tennis player or not. 

“But what I do know is that he is a good racing driver and that he stays with us.”

In the case of Yuki Tsunoda, recent speculation had cast doubt on his future with AlphaTauri. 

Despite scoring all three of the team’s 2023 points, he faced stiff competition from Daniel Ricciardo in Hungary and Liam Lawson at Zandvoort.

However, soon-to-be-retired team boss Franz Tost has firmly dispelled any uncertainty surrounding Tsunoda’s position within the team, stating, “I definitely see Yuki in the team next year. 

“That’s more or less already fixed.”

These confirmations now leave only three seats in question: Tsunoda’s teammate at AlphaTauri, as well as one each at Williams and Alfa Romeo. 

In Formula 1’s rumour mill, there is speculation that Zhou Guanyu’s seat could be at risk if Theo Pourchaire secures the Formula 2 championship, while Logan Sargeant has been informed that he must “earn” his place on the grid.

Williams team boss James Vowles elaborated on this approach, emphasising the competitive nature of the sport: “The comment I’ve given him is this: It’s a meritocracy. 

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“You’re not here just because we want you to be here. 

“You have to earn your place. 

“This is the pinnacle of motorsport, and what I’m asking for you is to follow this general guidance, follow this development path, keep moving forward relative to Alex [Albon], and there’s a place for you here with your name on it.”