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There Is Only One Seat Left In Formula One


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Image: Aston Martin F1

In a totally expected, if slightly disappointing, move on Thursday Cognizant Aston Martin F1 confirmed that it would be retaining Lance Stroll in its second seat on the Formula One grid for his fourth year with the team and sixth year in the sport. This news comes months after the team re-signed Sebastian Vettel for a second season, and was allegedly held up in contract clause finalization. Lance is the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll, so I’m not really sure what the contract negotiations possibly could have been. Whether he got to borrow the family’s big yacht on Tuesdays?

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The factory Aston driver has scored a total of three podiums in his time in the sport, two of which came in 2020 when he was driving what was probably the third best car on the grid. Across the 2021 season thus far he has not fared quite so well. The young Canadian has managed to finish in the points only 50 percent of the races run in 2021, and sits 11 points behind teammate Sebastian Vettel who has scored a pair of podiums this year (only to have one stripped away on a fuel regulation technicality).

“Next season I will be embarking on my sixth year in F1, alongside my teammate Sebastian,” proclaimed Stroll the younger. “We started this Aston Martin team campaign together and I greatly look forward to continuing the journey with him next year.

“We have not achieved what we set out to do this year, but that has only amplified our hunger and drive for success next season. Now, with the prestige and support of Aston Martin, and the brilliant new sponsor-partners that such a prestigious brand has attracted, we are well positioned to improve our performance in 2022.”

Stroll likely would not have been my choice had I been in charge of Aston Martin, but alas I am not, and someone who shares his last name is. Sometimes that is how the cookie crumbles. Rich dudes get to make the decisions.

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In any case, this leaves the F1 grid settled for the 2022 season bar one hotly contested seat at the Alfa Romeo team alongside newly appointed Mercedes-Benz-demoted Valtteri Bottas. With Kimi Raikkonen retiring at the end of the 2021 season, Bottas will effectively take over his spot. The other seat, currently held by Italian Antonio Giovinazzi, has not yet been assigned an official wheelman.

Gio has been seriously improving his pace these last few Grands Prix, perhaps in an effort to retain his spot on the grid. Despite my desire to see fresh talent on the grid at every step of the process, I think Antonio has an opportunity here to prove he’s worth it. If he can’t deliver next season, then it’s time he find a job doing something else.

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So there you have it. The 2022 F1 grid is almost complete. Who would you like to see in the other Alfa seat? Is there anyone on the grid that you don’t think deserves to be there? *cough Mazepin cough* Who do you think will adapt best and quickest to the new 2022 regulations that will ostensibly allow for closer racing and better passing action? Let’s discuss.

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