While Aston Martin has an idea of the problem that led to Lance Stroll’s early retirement from the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, they have not yet identified the absolute cause of the issue.
Lance Stroll’s retirement from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last weekend was caused by a specific issue, although Aston Martin has not yet discovered the underlying cause.
Stroll started his race in fifth place on the grid and maintained fourth place for a good first stint until switching to the harder compound rubber on lap 13.
The Canadian was running in the points having passed Carlos Sainz for P4 at Turn 13 on the opening lap. However, three laps after resuming his drive, the Canadian was told by the Aston pitwall to stop his car, which he dutifully did by driving off the course at Turn 16.
“We were just losing power every lap, like six, seven laps kind of thing, just a second and a half every lap and eventually it was game over,” said Stroll after the race.
“They were [applying the fire extinguisher] on the brakes, but there was some smoke from the engine,” he added.
Early indications from when Stroll’s car was brought back into the garage following the race suggested that the AMR23 had an energy recovery issue, albeit the exact nature of the issue was not known at the time.
Mike Krack, the team’s principal, shed some light on the situation after the team had taken the car back into the garage. At least he got to see Fernando Alonso take his second consecutive podium in P3, before losing it to a post-race penalty and then having it reinstated again.
“It is a real shame that Lance was forced to retire early with an energy recovery issue, the cause of which is still being investigated, because he had strong pace and would surely have scored big points tonight as well,” said Krack.
Stroll, who was still recovering from surgery on his right wrist while he was in Saudi Arabia, was obviously frustrated to lose a second chance this season to rack up some impressive points.
“It was disappointing to retire from the Grand Prix after such a promising weekend,” he said. “I had a great start and really enjoyed overtaking Carlos around the outside of Turn 13.”
“It is not the result we wanted, but we leave Saudi Arabia knowing that we have a very competitive car and we will pick up the fight next time out in Australia.”
Despite Stroll’s retirement, Aston Martin still leaves for Australia tied in second place with Mercedes in the standings.