Lance Stroll addressed his Formula 1 future ahead of the 2023 United States Grand Prix after a bitterly disappointing weekend in Qatar, and inisisted he’s still committed to the sport with Aston Martin.
Stroll trails teammate Fernando Alonso by 136 points in the championship, and the two-time champion has been better by every metric in 2023, but the Canadian is set to remain for 2024 in the team owned by his father Lawrence Stroll.
Rumours that Lance could break his contract and quit the sport have refused to die though, fanned by a torrid Qatar GP weekend.
However, Stroll had an emphatic answer when asked by the media whether he’s smoothed things over with his team and is still enjoying F1: “Yes and yes.”
And Stroll added he does expect a better time in Austin than at the Losail International Circuit:
“Yeah, we’ll have a few bits coming to the car this weekend. So you know, I hope we can be competitive,” he said.
“Qatar was hot for sure. It took me a good few days after the race to feel 100% again, I think we all felt it.”
Stroll averaged over a second slower than Alonso across qualifying and the Sprint Shootout in Qatar, where he was eliminated in the first session of both.
He looked to have turned it around in the race though, battling to a ninth-place finish despite fainting in the cockpit, but an aggregate 10 seconds of track limits penalties dropped him agonisingly out of the points-paying positions.
“For sure, I mean, there’s a few corners here you’ve got to watch out for,” Stroll added regarding the Circuit of the Americas. “So I think it’s something to think about that a lot of tracks now, with the track limits being being a challenge.”
McLaren pace not ideal
One storyline to watch in Austin is the battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship, with McLaren just 11 points behind Aston Martin.
The two teams have had polar opposite yet almost identical seasons, Aston Martin picking up six podiums in the first eight races and McLaren seven in the last eight, with the Woking outfit the worst team at the season-opening 2023 Bahrain GP.
Stroll‘s underperformance compared to Alonso, and the impressive performance of McLaren‘s second-best driver Oscar Piastri, mean Aston Martin face an uphill battle to stay ahead in Austin.
And Stroll seemed well aware of that despite having confidence the AMR23 would’ve improved, adding: “They’re quick, so it’s not ideal.”