Recent Surgey Not Expected to Keep Lance Stroll from F1 Opener in Bahrain

f1 grand prix of bahrain previews
Surgery Not Expected to Keep Stroll from F1 OpenerClive Mason - Getty Images
  • Lance Stroll injured his right wrist in a cycling accident prior to last week's three-day Formula 1 test

  • Stroll will attempt to race this weekend, alongside new teammate Fernando Alonso.

  • Should Stroll find he can't go, expect reigning Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich to drive in Sunday's F1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Aston Martin Formula 1 driver Lance Stroll will compete at the season-opening F1 Bahrain Grand Prix in the wake of sustaining a wrist injury last month.

Stroll was cycling while training in Spain and suffered an injury to his wrist which ruled him out of the entirety of preseason testing last week in Bahrain.

formula 1 testing in bahrain day three
Felipe Drugovich filled in for Stroll last weekend.Mark Thompson - Getty Images

Stroll was replaced by Aston Martin reserve driver Felipe Drugovich during testing, raising the prospect that the reigning Formula 2 champion could make his Formula 1 debut. But Stroll will attempt to race this weekend, alongside new teammate Fernando Alonso, with Aston Martin confirming the development on Thursday.


“It was frustrating not to be out in Bahrain for the pre-season test and I was disappointed to miss the three days of running,” said Stroll. “However, given the injury to my wrist, the team and I felt it was best to focus on recovery so that I would be ready for this weekend and the long season ahead.

“It was an unfortunate accident. I fell from my bike when my tire caught a hole in the ground, but thankfully the damage was not significant and a successful minor surgery on my right wrist fixed the problem very quickly. Since then, I've been working hard with my team to ensure that I am fully fit to compete this weekend."

Stroll Facing an Uphill Challenge

The advantage for Stroll is that the Bahrain International Circuit is not the most physical on the calendar, while the cooler evening conditions will aid his cause. Unlike an F1 Sprint weekend he also has three sessions ahead of Saturday’s qualifying hour.

Stroll is nonetheless facing a stern challenge this weekend as his sole experience of the AMR23 came during a brief shakedown run at a damp Silverstone in mid-February.

The other 19 drivers accrued valuable mileage during the three days of running, which was notable for the reliability of the cars, and the number of laps drivers were consequently able to complete.

Stroll can nonetheless lean on the experience of veteran teammate Alonso, who has started more Grands Prix than any other driver in history.

The AMR23 also caught the eye during pre-season testing, indicating that Aston Martin is in a position to front Formula 1’s tight midfield battle.

Drugovich to Remain on Standby

Drugovich, a 22-year-old Brazilian, won last year’s Formula 2 championship in commanding fashion; he was experienced—in his third year—and he swatted aside the threat from a gaggle of highly-rated youngsters with F1 junior affiliations.

But Formula 1 race seats are an increasingly prized commodity, and Drugovich was unable to secure a drive for 2023 despite his Formula 2 crown. Drugovich acquitted himself well during testing but will now slide back into the reserve role which he originally signed up for heading into 2023.

Drugovich and co-reserve—reigning Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne—will remain on standby in Bahrain.