Vettel set for shock Aston Martin return?
By Ian Parkes
Sunday 26th February, 2023 - 8:50am
Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack is refusing to rule out the prospect of Sebastian Vettel making a shock return to F1 as a stand-in for the injured Lance Stroll.
Stroll missed all three days of the pre-season test in Bahrain after sustaining a wrist injury following a cycling accident in Spain whilst training.
It is rumoured Stroll broke his wrist, yet Aston Martin has declined to confirm, saying it is a private matter for the Canadian driver.
Regardless of the exact nature of the injury, the 24-year-old is a strong doubt for next weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Aston Martin has reserve drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Drugovich available, the latter testing for two half days at the wheel of the AMR23, suggesting he is currently first in line for the seat.
Vettel retirement needs to be respected
Yet there is strong speculation Vettel could be lured out of the retirement he entered into at the end of last season to partner long-time rival Fernando Alonso in Bahrain, potentially even the following race in Saudi Arabia.
Krack remarked such a proposition was “very, very hypothetical”, yet there was no outright flat denial, indicating there to be a degree of truth to the possibility.
Commenting on the rumours, Krack said: “First, our plan is to have Lance in the car.
“Then we continue to see because we have Bahrain first before we speak about Jeddah. We have not made the final decision (as to who will drive).
“Don’t forget one thing, he (Vettel) had a very, very thorough plan in mind for his retirement, and I think this is something you have to respect.
“So let’s see what happens. I honestly don’t know at this point. Lance is obviously our plan A. We want to have Lance back in the car.
“We have to wait to see what he and the doctors say at the right moment.”
Vettel part of plan B?
Highlighting the protocols in place and the time he is prepared to wait, Krack added: “There are certain limits you have to give to the FIA, and we will respect this.
“We’ll have to see how the situation develops over the next day.
“It’s like in football, you have players that are a little bit injured, and you wait for the last moment, and then you decide if they can play or not.
“We have some plan Bs, but we have to decide on plan B when plan A is not possible.
“It’s very simple – can he (Stroll) drive or can he not drive?”
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