Aston Martin Formula 1 Team Principal Mike Krack has not ruled out the possibility of a shock comeback for Sebastian Vettel to replace the injured Lance Stroll.
Stroll missed all of pre-season testing after sustaining injuries in a cycling accident while training, being replaced by reserve driver Felipe Drugovich.
Vettel retired from Grand Prix racing at the end of 2022 after a 16 year career, and Krack would not be drawn on the German returning when asked by media in Bahrain.
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Krack has talks with Vettel
"I have had a couple of phone calls with Sebastian," Krack said when asked by media, including RacingNew365, if he had spoken with the four-time champion.
"But this has been [the case] also last year and will continue in the future."
When asked if Vettel had expressed any interest in driving the AMR23 as a stand-in, Krack bluntly replied that he would "not tell you."
With such a short turnaround before the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, it was put to Krack that Vettel could appear in the second race in Saudi Arabia on March 19th - to give him more time to prepare. He responded by reiterating the desire to have Stroll in the car.
"I mean, this is very, very hypothetical," he explained.
"First of all, our plan is to have Lance in the car.
"And then we will continue to see because we have Bahrain first before we speak about Jeddah. We have not made the final decision [on who will drive].
"Don't forget one thing. [Sebastian] had a very, very thorough plan in mind for his retirement, and I think this is also something that you have to respect.
"So let's see what's happening, [but] I honestly don't know at this point. [Lance] is obviously our Plan A, we want to have Lance back in the car, but we have to wait [to see] what he and what the doctors are saying in the right moment.
"There are certain delays or certain limits that you have to give to the FIA, and we will respect this.
"We'll have to see how the situation is developing over the next day. It's like in football, you have players that are a little bit injured, and you wait for the last moment, and then you decide if they can play or not.
"We have some Plan Bs, but we have to decide the Plan B when the Plan A not possible. It's very simple. Can [Stroll] drive or can he not drive?"
Ahead of the 2023 F1 season, RacingNews365.com journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth look back on a winter break laden with intrigue and controversy.