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“King of That Team”: F1 Veteran Sows Civil War Seeds for Fernando Alonso & Lance Stroll Despite Smooth Aston Martin Dynamic

Published 04/17/2023, 5:00 AM EDT

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Imagine being paired with a world double champion driver who, at the age of 41, exemplifies grit and perseverance while you, despite giving it your all, fall short. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll is going through a similar phase right now. Stroll was joined by the ruthless Fernando Alonso as a teammate at the beginning of this year, and the Spaniard isn’t giving Stroll the slightest chance to get involved in a wheel-to-wheel battle. And, following the first three races, when Alonso claimed three podiums, an F1 veteran has sowed the seeds of a potential civil war between the pilots of AMR23.

In each of the three races, Alonso clearly outperformed Stroll. Not only during the races but also during qualifying. In the meantime, Stroll has been rehabilitating from a preseason cycling injury that limited the amount of preparation he was able to put in before the season 2023 campaign’s opening race in Bahrain, where the Canadian placed sixth. The 24-year-old was forced to retire in Saudi Arabia due to engine issues. Also, Stroll missed the podium at the Australian Grand Prix as placed fourth, while Alonso once again claimed the podium for the team.

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In light of these circumstances, former world champion and current F1 analyst Damon Hill has been explicit about Stroll’s goals. Hill contends that for Stroll to win the world championship, he must first rule the team, which entails ending Alonso’s career.

In an interview with the F1 Nation podcast, Hill said, “Stroll’s goal should be to end Fernando Alonso’s career. That sounds cruel, but that’s what George Russell is trying to do against Lewis Hamilton. That’s what Nico Hulkenberg is trying to do with Kevin Magnussen. You have to establish yourself as the king of that team, as the number one.”

The story of Fernando Alonso’s comeback makes for an excellent bedtime story to share with the younger generation. However, his ascent to the top of the podium might cause some friction with Lawrence Stroll and Co.

Can Fernando Alonso’s string of victories cause him to clash with team owner Lawrence Stroll?

On all three of the racing surfaces, Alonso has excelled. The Spaniard has emerged as a team leader due to his heroics, which have transformed Aston Martin. Lawrence Stroll, who might have been hoping for better outcomes for his son Lance, may feel the effects of this.

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Following the race in Saudi Arabia, Peter Windsor discussed the likelihood on his YouTube channel. He said, “At the end, with all the Aston Martin mechanics in green in front of the podium and Fernando being Mr Charm, Mr Charisma with the fluorescent green Aston Martin cap and smile and just looking a hundred million dollars, you had to think, ‘not sure Stroll Sr will be that happy about the way things are going at the moment’.”

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Windsor added, “This is Fernando almost becoming bigger than the team and what’s happening with my son, why is he retired, and what’s going on? This isn’t Red Bull where Dietrich Mateschitz loved lots of different racing drivers and loved putting them together seeing them compete and giving an opportunity to many young drivers. This is the father of one driver effectively buying a Formula One team for him. And seeing now the Fernando Alonso phenomenon and he wants his son there any way.”

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WATCH THIS STORY: How Aston Martin F1 Turned Around From a Struggling Mid-Field Team to Being the 2nd Fastest in 2023

Do you believe the Silverstone-based outfit’s seeds will bear fruit as the season goes on? Is it possible for Lance Stroll to defeat the assassin, Alonso?

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Written by:

Aditya Srivastava

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Aditya Srivastava is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports with over two years of writing experience. He developed a keen interest in the sport after the unforgettable Abu Dhabi 2021 race. As a graduate of a premier institute, Aditya is committed to producing high-quality content that is engaging, informative, and accurate.
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Edited by:

Varunkumaar Chelladurai