Aston Martin’s teamwork culture benefits from Alonso and Stroll’s mutual support
Formula 1 fans were expecting fireworks when Fernando Alonso joined forces with Lance Stroll at Aston Martin, given their vastly different backgrounds and levels of experience. However, the two drivers have instead defied expectations and formed a strong and positive working relationship, with Alonso actively helping Stroll develop his skills to potentially lead the team in the future.
Fernando Alonso has expressed that his assistance to his Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was motivated by his desire to equip Stroll with the necessary skills to potentially lead the team in the upcoming decade or more.
Despite expectations of potential conflict between Lance Stroll, who is the son of Aston executive chairman Lawrence, and the experienced and outspoken Fernando Alonso, their relationship has reportedly been very amicable thus far in the season. This positive dynamic between them may have been facilitated by Alonso’s superior performance and the fact that he has had a more competitive car than originally anticipated. Although they had a collision in Bahrain, it seems to have not disrupted their overall working relationship.
Prior to joining the team, Alonso had publicly stated his belief that Lance Stroll had the potential to become an F1 champion and had promised to assist him in realizing this potential. During the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Alonso went out of his way to suggest that the team should advise Stroll to replicate a brake bias change that Alonso had made to his own car. This occurred after Stroll had already communicated with the team about not attacking Alonso in order to optimize both of their races, to which Alonso responded in a laid-back manner by saying “well, he can have a try”. According to Alonso, this type of communication during the race is just one example of the close collaboration between him and his teammate.
Alonso further explained that he and Stroll communicate extensively throughout the race weekend, starting from Thursday. They discuss their past experiences at the track, how to deal with traffic, and formulate a plan for each of their cars. If they notice anything during the race that they didn’t previously discuss, and they believe it could benefit the other car, they communicate this information to the team. This level of collaboration and open communication demonstrates the strong working relationship between the two drivers.
Alonso acknowledged that his collaboration with Stroll reflects his intention to support him in his role as a future leader of the team for the next 10 to 15 years, while acknowledging that he himself will only remain in the sport for a few more years. Stroll, who made his F1 debut in 2017, is currently only 24 years old and will still be younger than Alonso in 15 years’ time.
Alonso has had less experienced teammates in the past, including Lewis Hamilton and Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren, and Nelson Piquet Jr, Romain Grosjean, and Esteban Ocon at Renault/Alpine. While his partnership with Hamilton was famously fraught with tension, and his relationship with Ocon on-track soured after it became clear that Alonso was leaving, he views his close collaboration with Stroll as nothing new.
Alonso reflected on his past experiences of collaborating closely with his teammates, some of which went unreported due to his radio transmissions not being broadcast. He suggested that for some reason, F1 broadcasting is now being more favorable to him and his communication with his current teammate Stroll is being highlighted.
After the race, Stroll and Alonso embraced in the media area. It was only after the race that Stroll discovered that the brake bias instruction had come from Alonso.
Stroll commented on their cooperation during the race, stating that they were both focused on the race and that Alonso had better pace, so he did not want to pressure him. Stroll felt that it was smart for them to manage their pace at the beginning of the race. However, Alonso eventually took off and had a much better pace on the hard tires, while Stroll struggled with balance and couldn’t get into a good rhythm.
Aston Martin’s team principal, Mike Krack, expressed his satisfaction with the cooperation between Alonso and Stroll, describing it as “fantastic to see.” Krack believes that their collaboration shows their maturity and professionalism, both in the way they work together and how they interact with each other. He further added that they have recognized that their main competitors are not just each other, but other teams as well. Maintaining this level of harmony and mutual support between the two drivers will undoubtedly benefit the team in the long term.
However, Krack disagreed with the notion that the dynamic between the two drivers is like “big brother and little brother.” He emphasized that Lance is not a little brother and that both drivers are on an equal level. He pointed out that Alonso often observes what Stroll is doing, and vice versa, and believes that they are proper teammates who support and help each other. Krack suggested that the better way to describe their dynamic would be as older and younger drivers rather than big brother and little brother.
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