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Aston Martin wants to “prove” F1 car handling shift is hurting Stroll

Aston Martin wants to “prove” that Lance Stroll’s recent Formula 1 struggles are the result of car characteristic changes before it puts a recovery plan in place.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, leaves his pit box

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, leaves his pit box

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Stroll has endured a torrid time since the summer break, having not scored a point in the last five races and been knocked out of Q1 in qualifying for the last four events.

Speaking at the Qatar Grand Prix, Stroll suggested that some changes in the behaviour of the Aston Martin F1 car, especially the way the rear end appeared to be less settled than before, were not good for him.

Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack is aware of the difficulties that Stroll is facing, but said the team needed to be sure about exactly what the Canadian’s issues were before it could address them.

Asked to define what changes with the car Stroll was struggling with, Krack said: “I think we need to prove it first.

“The fact is that he has lost a bit of competitivity, and this is something we need to understand.

“We have suspicions and indications, and this is I think what Lance is referring to. But then we need to make the according changes and see, if this is confirmed, that if you improve that, he improves as well.”

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Speaking recently about if the AMR23’s handling traits were not suiting him, Stroll said: "Yeah, there's things for sure. There's always things in every car, but I think when the car has been really good this year, I've been really happy with it. It's just recently it's been a bit more challenging."

Some of the explanation for the shift comes from upgrade 'side effects' that Aston Martin has been battling with, and suspects has impacted its overall form.

Stroll added: "I think we took some directions with philosophy, of bringing upgrades aerodynamically, that I don't think made us go the step forward that we were hoping for.

"So, we're trying to understand that and bring some stuff to the car in the season now to fix that and help the characteristic that we had earlier in the season, where the car was more predictable, and easier to drive, and more forgiving. I think we've lost some of that.

"It's just about understanding why. In theory, you want to make the car go faster, but I think we might have added overall downforce but made the car trickier to drive."

Aston Martin’s bid to solve Stroll’s problems are compounded by the fact that his team-mate Fernando Alonso is perfectly happy in coping with a more loose rear end.

The Spaniard has a unique driving style that allows him to perfectly balance the AMR23, and it’s something not all drivers feel comfortable with.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Asked by Autosport if Aston Martin’s bid to help Stroll was made harder by Alonso being so comfortable, Krack said: "No, I think at the end of the day you normally do not go completely into such small detail in terms of understanding.

"In our case, when you have difficulties, you normally learn more, and you go into much more detail than you would do if you were just fine. It's the normal thing. I think that we will go through a great learning exercise in that regard."

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