Mike Krack has insisted that Lance Stroll remains Plan A and that alternatives will not be considered until it is clear whether or not the Canadian will be allowed to drive in next week’s Bahrain GP.
Factory reserve driver Felipe Drugovich remains the obvious favorite to fill in if needed, having tested the car in Bahrain this week.
However, should Stroll’s problems turn out to be long-term and continue until the second race in Saudi Arabia, Sebastian Vettel would have more time to undertake adequate preparation and, for example, test the AMR23 in the simulator.
Krack confirmed he had spoken to the four-times world champion since news of Stroll’s cycling accident and wrist injury broke, though he declined to confirm whether the German was interested in returning to the sport. cockpit within months of what was thought to have been his last Formula 1 race.
“I’ve had a couple of phone calls with Sebastian,” Krack said when asked by Motorsport.com if they had spoken in the last few days. “But this also happened last year and will continue in the future.”
When asked if Vettel had expressed an interest in driving, he replied: “I’m not telling you.”
When asked if the lengthened preparation times for the race in Saudi Arabia would allow Vettel more time to prepare, in case Stroll was not fit, Krack seemed to leave the door open.
“I mean, it’s a very, very hypothetical thing,” he said. “First of all, our plan is to have Lance in the car. And then we continue to see, because first we have Bahrain and then we talk about Jeddah. We haven’t made a final decision yet. That’s the point.”
“Don’t forget one thing. He had a very, very careful plan in mind for his retirement. And I think that’s also something to respect. So let’s see what happens.”
Philip Drugovich, Aston Martin AMR23
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Krack admitted Stroll’s situation remains unclear: “I honestly don’t know at this point. It’s our plan A, obviously, we want to have Lance back in the car, but we have to wait for what he says and what the doctors say.”
“There are certain limits that must be respected with the FIA, and we will respect them. We will have to see how the situation develops in the next few days. It’s like in football, when there are slightly injured players, you wait until the last moment and then it is decided whether they can play or not”.
“We have to decide plan B. We have some plan Bs, but we will decide plan B when plan A is not possible. It’s very simple. Can he drive or can’t he drive?”
Krack confirmed that Stroll has not been to the Silverstone team simulator, but the plan is to have him try it as soon as possible: “Not yet, he’ll go. It’s the first step.”