Lance Stroll “feels good” in the AMR24 and says “it should be pretty smooth” to have a new race engineer from Suzuka onwards

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Formula One Team
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Lance Stroll is currently P9 in the F1 Drivers’ Championship with the same number of points as his position. He spoke to media during the Australian Grand Prix weekend about how he feels in the AMR24 and also looked ahead to Andrew Vizard becoming his race engineer from Suzuka onwards.

Stroll has had a far smoother start to his 2024 campaign than he did in 2023 after his cycling accident saw him on the backfoot. Stroll has scored points at two of the opening three races of this season and certainly seems to have carried his strong end to 2023 into this year. The Canadian racer reflected on how and why he feels that has been the case.

“You know I feel good in the car,” Stroll remarked. “It’s a very different car than last year; behaves very differently. So, I think a lot of the things you know coming into this year with driving this car, technique – stuff – is changing and kind of has to be modified a little bit.” Stroll then went on to remind all that “It’s early days – it’s very early in the season”.

Stroll provided further explanation as to the current situation by explaining that there is still a lot of learning going on, ‘driving wise, setup wise’ to get to know how to extract more lap time out of the AMR24. “It is quite different from last year’s car for sure just behavior and style of driving etc,” stated Stroll.

The Aston Martin racer was then pressed for further comment after being asked if it is good different.

“I think there’s strengths and weaknesses,” confirmed Stroll, before not allowing himself to be drawn into such a declaration. “It has more downforce more grip for sure but there’s some characteristic things that are a little bit different that takes some getting used to so yeah, we’ll just say different.”

Another difference which Stroll will experience starting from Suzuka is a new race engineer. This role has been given to Andrew Vizard (currently Aston Martin’s senior performance engineer) following promotion for Ben Michell to become Head of Performance Optimisation at Aston Martin. Vizard previously worked at Williams, Manor Racing, McLaren and Red Bull.

In the moments after the conclusion of the Australian Grand Prix, Stroll made sure to thank his current man in his ear as he said “I’m gonna miss your lovely voice on the radio Ben.” The reply which followed showed how a Race Engineer’s job – and driver’s – is never done even after the chequered flag is waved.

“And I’m going to tell you double yellow delta now mate, still take it easy through there. I’m going to miss you too mate, it’s been a good fun few years,” came Michell’s reply.

Michell has been Stroll’s race engineer since 2021 and time will tell as to how quickly a similar relationship forms with Vizard. However, this would have been accelerated after Vizard was Stroll’s race engineer during first practice of this year’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. A race weekend is whole different situation though so with that in mind, Stroll was asked how the process has been to prepare for the change and whether it is difficult after just three races of the season.

“I don’t think it’s so difficult,” claimed Stroll. “I mean Andrew’s been preparing for a while, coming to races and spending time at the factory so I think it should be pretty smooth but yeah very nice times with Ben for the last few years and you know it’s been enjoyable.”

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Formula One Team