Aston Martin set to lose their top-performing driver for the third time in a row · RaceFans – RaceFans

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14th August 2022, 17:3014th August 2022, 17:24 | Written by
Sebastian Vettel has decided to hang up his helmet at the end of the season. It’s a decision which would likely have been received very differently had he taken it two years ago.

Back then,Vettel was on his way out of Ferrari after Charles Leclerc had wrecked the four-time champion’s claim to be the team’s top driver. Over his final season in red, Vettel was out-scored by his team mate by a ratio of nearly three to one.
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He fared better against Lance Stroll at Aston Martin last year and little has changed this year. However the team has taken another step backwards in competitiveness, so the pair are fighting over fewer points than before.
Stroll has managed four points-scoring finishes, all for 10th place and a single point each time. Vettel has done slightly better, climbing as high as sixth in Baku (also the scene of his best finish last year), giving him a clear lead over his team mate in the championship.
This is generally reflective of the balance of power between the pair. Stroll, in a pattern we have seen throughout his career, fared better on race day than he does over a single lap in qualifying, where Vettel’s margin of superiority is greater.
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If things stay the way they are over the remainder of the season, Vettel’s departure will continue an unfortunate trend for this team. Whenever one of its drivers leaves, it is always the one which has out-performed his team mate.

Perez won for the team then lost his drive in 2020

That was the case for Sergio Perez when the team, then known as Racing Point, cut his contract short by two years in order to make way for Vettel. Perez had conclusively beaten Stroll over their two seasons together.
Stroll arrived at the team at the end of 2018, taking the place of Esteban Ocon. He had out-performed Perez over the previous season, qualifying and finishing ahead of his team mate, though Perez narrowly out-scored him.
The key difference this time is Vettel is leaving of his own choosing, rather than being dropped to make way for another driver. Aston Martin have made another characteristically bold hiring with his replacement, Fernando Alonso, who may prove an even more challenging team mate for Stroll.
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Hulkenberg reprised his substitute role

Vettel missed the first two races of the season as he tested positive for Covid-19. Nico Hulkenberg was drafted in as his replacement.
Hulkenberg stepped in alongside Lance Stroll for the same reason at two races at Silverstone in 2020. He impressively out-qualified the team’s regular driver for the second of those.
Much the same happened this year, and so the leading Aston Martin on the grid for the season-opening race belonged to Hulkenberg. In Jeddah, a new track for Hulkenberg, Stroll qualified ahead, and he led the cars to the flag in both races.
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Proesterchen (@proesterchen)
14th August 2022, 18:01
Cannot be much of a surprise when the guy in the other car is the owner’s son.
slowmo (@slowmo)
14th August 2022, 18:18
I was just thinking that myself. Stroll isn’t ever getting fired and nearly every driver would be faster than him.
15th August 2022, 10:19
That does make the team overall rather uninspiring and throws an ‘investors’ not ‘motorsports lovers’ impression around.
Jason (@jasonj)
15th August 2022, 14:10
@mayrton I think that would make the Strolls much more ‘motosports lovers’ than plain investors. Larry has pushed the son into the sport and is willing to spend ridiculous amounts on building a team around him, regardless of Lance’s talent. That has to be a love of Motorsport, to desperately live vicariously through Lance and spend so much time and resources on a fool’s errand, that’s love, not sound financial investment.
That said, I don’t think Lance is the worst driver in the field, he’s also not the best and not even top 10, but not the worst.
14th August 2022, 18:19
Sad Vettel is leaving. Probably the right decision at this point. He probably needs a change of scenery. Try something else. Hope he comes back in 2025. And try the 2026 regulations. He still is a superb driver.
Rhys Lloyd (@justrhysism)
15th August 2022, 1:27
Not a chance. It conflicts with his new found environmentalism.
15th August 2022, 11:01
His new found misinformed and misled due to being wholly ignorant of anything he is talking about whilst being a massive hypocrite.
W (@vishnusxdx)
14th August 2022, 18:19
That title is a very nice way to express “Lance Stroll is yet again losing to his teammate”.
Qeki (@qeki)
15th August 2022, 7:51
“dad takes away my friends”
SjaakFoo (@sjaakfoo)
14th August 2022, 18:23
One does have to wonder how Father is going to treat Alonso when he starts beating his son in every session. Stroll hasn’t decisively beaten anyone of his teammates, and there have been some that he really should have. And none of those are at the level Alonso, even an Alonso at this age, is at.
I would say it is strange that Stroll’s position isn’t even ever in doubt at the team, but of course nobody is going to tell Lawrence to replace Lance if they value their continued employment. Anyone who has ever worked at a company with a boss that employed their kid(s) knows that you stay on your toes around them and the subject of their work. I would imagine it is no different here.
However, I am happy Vettel is going out like this and not like after the 2020 season. He deserves that much.
Hamp (@luffehamp)
14th August 2022, 20:08
Pairing Lance with Vettel/Alonso is a win-win situation for him.
Did he get beat by them? “Yeah for sure, he’s a double/quad world champion, I’m learning a lot from him for sure”
Did he get beat them on a good day? “I beat a world champion, look how good I am”
You pair Lance with a rookie who starts to beat him regularly he’s going to look pretty silly.
SjaakFoo (@sjaakfoo)
15th August 2022, 17:39
I understand this argument if you look at Lance as a rookie. But Lance debuted a year after Max Verstappen, the same year as Charles Leclerc did. He is not a rookie, he is an experienced driver at this point.
If he is still in his supposed learning phase, he is not doing his job properly.
Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
14th August 2022, 22:19
With alonso at his age, I’m unsure how good he will be though. I doubt he will improve, and he also has to get used to a new team. I would say there is a strong possibility that Alonso will start dropping off a bit (I already don’t think he’s anything like as good as he was) While I also think that there is a similar chance that Stroll can improve a little. He’s poor, but still young, and I don’t see him getting worse at his age.
What I’m saying is that I don’t really think Alonso will be all that much better than vettel (especially in a new unfamiler car, and vettel currently isn’t really beating stroll by as much as a lot are thinking. If Stroll didn’t get team orders in the last race, out of the races that we can compare, it would be 5 – 5 to both Vettel and Stroll.
bosyber (@bosyber)
15th August 2022, 9:01
I see what you mean @thegianthogweed, but then again, so far we have not seen any real evidence of Alonso dropping off, even in qualifying which never was his ultimate strength while he has been very good at using his raceskill and experience to take opportunities when they present themselves.
15th August 2022, 12:03
What are you talking? Alonso is one of the all time great qualifiers. For example he beat Kimi 16-3 in qualifying in 2014 and Button 15-4 in qualifying in 2016.
14th August 2022, 18:51
Stroll is slow. 6 seasons in, there’s no changing on that anymore.
He was also slower than Sirotkin, but more experienced, beat him on points.
Alonso is very likely to be the same history again.
Asanator (@asanator)
14th August 2022, 19:49
I don’t think Stroll is that bad. That’s not to say he is that good either but a fairly average F1 journeyman of which there has been many over the years. He has never really been dominated by a team mate on pace alone, the margins are usually quite small and he has put in a couple of very good performances to justify a seat. More of a problem is his growing desperation to prove himself against his team mates resulting in some very dubious moves, particularly against Vettel this year.
Red Pill (@redpill)
14th August 2022, 20:24
To me I think it’s fairly obvious that Stroll Sr. is trying/attempting to offer his son Stroll Jr. (at all costs) a legendary environment by having these WDC drivers as his teammates, he gets to learn and see them up close. 10+ years from now they can have dinner together, sharing some nice wine reminiscing over the great drivers they had in their stable and were associated with in F1.
14th August 2022, 21:12
I’ve never been able to figure out whether racefans is more antiPerez or more Ocon-loving. Narrowly outscored ? Perez scored 63 points v. 49 points for Ocon. This is a big difference especially because it was already Ocon’s second year … So the title is incorrect. Not third time, only second time
Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
14th August 2022, 22:07
I don’t think vettel has been that much better than stroll this season if I’m honest. Stroll infact has perhaps been slightly more consistent. He would have finished in the points more often than vettel if there were not team orders relating to stroll’s damage last race. However, Stroll will have only finished 10th in all 5 times he was in the points. But it has to be said, a lot of the time vettel has been in the points, some of the positions he gained to get him higher up were a little fortunate. Overall, I would say Vettel has looked just slightly better. But over the past 2 weekends, Stroll has looked better to me. Stroll is still not great, but he’s certainly decent and I would say that he certainly does have several strong races each season.
BasCB (@bascb)
15th August 2022, 8:47
I tend to agree there @thegianthogweed. Sure, Vettel had a couple of really nice drives this year, but he also has a few races with bad mistakes. But Stroll has been decently reliable to be close to points or in lower points positions when the cars pace allowed for it.
Their bigger problem anyway is off course the car and seemingly being unable to get qualifying pace out of it even when it shows moderate pace in the races.
Sham (@sham)
14th August 2022, 22:22
The Strolls between them are turning a really decent team into the back markers.
The Dolphins
15th August 2022, 4:38
Alonso just signed his last contract in F1, he will get up to does with the car fairly quickly next season, get a rude awakening at the amateurish outfit (relatively speaking compared to the top teams Alonso has raced for.) Alonso will undoubtedly beat Lance, as others have, but he will not win any races with them. We will see a return to the frustrated Alonso of the McLaren-Honda days and he will retire at the end of this contract. Hopefully at that point we will see him attempt the Indy 500 again.
Broke1984 (@broke1984)
15th August 2022, 10:43
For me the move to AM for Alonso is terrible, he burnt his bridges with Ferrari and now they’re at the front (though doing everything in their power not to win), his next team McLaren were good last year and at least with Norris behind the wheel they are pulling in ok results. At this point I’m confused as his mantra was « I race to win ». Alpine is fighting with McLaren at least, there is no room at the top 3, unless AM pull off a big upgrade next year then I don’t see them even being in the top 5, I think Haas, Alpha tauri and Williams being the lower teams with AM being only one tiny step above AT. Another rubbish career move for Alonso
15th August 2022, 15:07
Alonso is 41. He just wants security by this point. And obviously, he was never going back to Ferrari anyway.
Pablo Castano
16th August 2022, 0:46
Big year for AM next year to see if the Stroll formula equates to battling for podiums. Senior invested in the team and the infrastructure too, if they don’t start moving up, that boy is the only thing left to change.
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