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Has Aston Martin found the reason for Stroll’s failures?

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Lance Stroll has endured a miserable run of form since the Formula 1 summer break, failing to register a single point across the last five Grands Prix while also being eliminated in Q1 in qualifying for the previous four race weekends.

Bookmakers don’t believe in Canadians either. Pin Up UZ estimates the possibility of Lance to be in the top three on the results of qualification of the upcoming U.S. Grand Prix with odds of 100.00.

The Aston Martin AMR23

Speaking at the recent Qatar Grand Prix, Stroll suggested changes in the way the Aston Martin car handles, particularly in how the rear end behaves, have contributed to his struggles. He feels the rear of the AMR23 is less settled now compared to earlier in the season.

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Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack acknowledges Stroll’s difficulties, but says the squad needs concrete evidence regarding the exact nature of the Canadian driver’s issues before it can work to resolve them.

When asked to characterize the specific changes in the car’s handling that Stroll is wrestling with, Krack responded: «I think we need to definitively prove what is happening first. The fact is he has lost some competitiveness, and we have to understand why. We have ideas and indications, which I believe is what Lance is alluding to. But we need to make appropriate setup changes and see if this confirms that addressing these areas also improves his performance».

Recently discussing whether the AMR23’s handling traits are not suiting him currently, Stroll commented: «Yeah, there are definitely some things. There’s always aspects you can improve with every car, but when the car has been really strong this season, I’ve been very content with it. It’s just lately that it’s been more difficult to handle».

Caused by unintended side effects from recent upgrades?

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Part of the explanation stems from unintended side effects from recent upgrades that Aston Martin has been working to rectify, and the team suspects these changes have contributed to its overall drop in performance.

Stroll added: «I think we pursued some philosophical directions with bringing new aero parts that I don’t believe provided the step forward we were aiming for. So we’re analyzing that and planning to introduce some new components to return to the predictable and forgiving balance the car had earlier in the year. I think we’ve lost some of that predictability. It’s just about understanding why. In theory you want to make the car faster, but I think we may have added downforce while making the car trickier to drive».

Aston Martin’s efforts to solve Stroll’s difficulties are made more complex due to the fact his teammate Fernando Alonso seems perfectly comfortable wrestling with a looser rear end. The Spanish veteran has a unique driving technique that allows him to expertly handle the AMR23’s balance, something not every pilot can easily cope with.

When asked by media if assisting Stroll was complicated by Alonso’s ability to extract the most from the car, Krack responded: «No, I don’t think so. Ultimately you don’t normally investigate things in such minute detail in terms of car understanding. In our situation, when you have problems, you learn more and dig into the details much more than you would if everything was working fine. That’s normal. I think we will go through a great learning exercise in this area».