Lance Stroll heads into the 2024 F1 season as one of the drivers who must improve on his performance by a good margin.
The Canadian driver struggled with the limitations of the AMR23 throughout the season as teammate Fernando Alonso scored all eight podiums for the team last year. There was also a whopping 132 points between them in the Drivers’ Championship, with Alonso in 4th and Stroll only P10.
He was certainly not helped by the injuries suffered in pre-season that hampered him when the package was its best.
Stroll is pumped up to see how the AMR24 will perform and hopes they can continue to improve it throughout the year.
“I’m very excited about the ’24 car. I think we’re trying to really build on last year’s car.
“We had a strong car last year, definitely opening up the season. We came out really strong, but we still had some weaknesses in the car at certain tracks. Some of those weaknesses were exposed and we struggled a lot more as a team.
“The whole factory’s been working really, really hard on building from last year, improving some of the weaknesses and also building on the strengths of last year’s car.
“I’m definitely excited for the start of the season, but also throughout the season. It’s a long season in F1 and we want to also really build from race one to race 24 and make the car stronger and stronger throughout the year.
“So, yeah, looking forward to it. I’m excited.”
Asked if he had any input on car direction, the 25-year-old explained that he did not. Instead, he’s focused on testing in Bahrain and trying to find a sweet spot with the 2024 package as soon as possible.
“No, I think these things are always hard to pinpoint kind of before, you know, going into the season. I think a lot of that work’s done.
“Winter testing, figuring out setups and what feels good and works well for you.
“So, yeah, I’m just going to Bahrain. We’ll see, you know, how our race car is looking.
“We’ll make some adjustments and tweak it out at the test in Bahrain, get it feeling good and go racing from there. That’s where my head’s at.”
Pushed again on what he wants from the car this year in regard to characteristics, Stroll says his strong end to 2023 is what he focusing on and that if a car feels strong, it will be.
He also mentioned his strong performances at São Paulo and Las Vegas as he looks to use that as a springboard for the upcoming campaign.
“Like I said, I don’t have a wish list. I think a car feels good when a car feels good.
“I know why things at times were tough last year, but I also think to the good races.
“There was a lot of good in last year too, and we finished strong. I’m just focused on building on that really.”
Barring a sudden and unfortunate change in circumstances, Stroll should take part in testing this year following his accident last year that left him sidelined with broken wrists and a toe injury.
He admits testing and getting plenty of laps under his belt should help quite a bit as he prepares for the new season.
“Testing is really important just to get an idea of what the car is doing and try different setups and see what feels good, works and suits you best.
“I’ll be at testing this year and having that is going to be is definitely going to be helpful.
“Two healthy wrists make life a bit easier in a race car. So, yeah, all those things are definitely going to be good things.”
On the topic of Fernando Alonso and how big of a benchmark he is, Stroll conceded the two-time F1 World Champion was simply faster in 2023.
However, the 25-year-old stated that bad luck exacerbated the gap as he looks to her closer this time around.
“Some speed last year, for sure. He was just quicker. So, yeah, I mean, I have some ideas on where to work on some things that I want to improve on in that regard.
“I don’t like to use the word luck, but I think we had a lot of misfortune last year. I think that kind of made things more challenging when we were fighting for good positions last year. There were a lot of races where we had technical issues.
“We had things that just didn’t go our way.
So, yeah, we want to just build on last year.”