Vettel could be an option for a surprise Aston Martin F1 return

Stroll missed a pre-season test in Bahrain after suffering injuries during a cycling incident while training in Spain.

Krack insisted that Stroll remains as Plan A and that no other options would be considered until it was clear that Canada cannot drive in next week’s Bahrain GP.

Official reserve driver Felipe Drugovich is clearly still the favorite to take the seat as he tested the car in Bahrain this week.

However, if Stroll’s problems prove to be more long-term and extend to the second race in Saudi Arabia, Vettel would have more time to make appropriate preparations and, for example, test the AMR23 in the simulator. Vettel retired at the end of last season with 299 grand prix starts to his name.

Krack confirmed he had spoken to the world champion four times since the news of Stroll’s cycling accident and wrist injury became public, although he refused to confirm whether or not the German had expressed an interest in returning to the cockpit.

“I had a few phone calls with Sebastian,” Krack said when asked by Autosport if they had spoken in the past few days. “But this was also last year, and this will continue in the future.”

When asked if Vettel had expressed an interest in driving, he replied: “I won’t tell you.”

Felipe Drugovich, Aston Martin AMR23

Felipe Drugovich, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Asked if the longer lead time to the Saudi Arabian race would allow more preparation time for Vettel, should Stroll not be fit, Krack appeared to leave the door open.

“I mean, this is very, very hypothetical,” he said. “First of all, our plan is to have Lance in the car. And then we continue to see because we have Bahrain first before we talk about Jeddah. We have not made the final decision. That is the point.

“Don’t forget one thing. He had a very comprehensive plan in mind for his retirement. And, you know, I think this is also something that you have to respect. So let’s see what’s happening.”

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Krack admitted that Stroll’s situation is still unclear: “I honestly don’t know at this point. Our Plan A is of course, we want Lance back in the car, but we have to wait, what he says and what the doctors are saying at the right time.

“There are certain delays or certain limits that you have to give to the FIA, and then we will respect this. We will have to see how the situation develops over the next day. It is like in football, you have players who are a little injured, while you wait for the last minute, and then you decide if they can play or not.

“We have to decide on Plan B. We have several Plan Bs, but we have to decide on Plan B when Plan A is not possible. It’s very simple. Can he drive or can’t he drive?”

Krack confirmed that Stroll has not been placed in the Silverstone team simulator, but the plan is for him to try: “Not yet, he will go. It is the first step.”

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