Aston Martin’s F1 mid-season downfall in 2023 wasn’t caused by factory move, says Krack

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Aston Martin, under the leadership of team principal Mike Krack, faced a unique challenge in the 2023 season. Despite a promising start, marked by the performance from Fernando Alonso, the team encountered a mid-season slump. In the midst of this struggle, questions arose about the impact of the team’s relocation to a new Silverstone-based campus. Mike Krack, however, is quick to dismiss this as an excuse, emphasizing that the team’s development trajectory should not be overshadowed by the transition.

Photo Credits: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 TeamAston Martin, ramped up by a financial boost following its acquisition by Lawrence Stroll in 2018, embarked on a significant move during the 2023 season. The team bid farewell to its outgrown factory and embraced a purpose-built campus at Silverstone, including a new wind tunnel.However, as the season unfolded, it became evident that the development of the AMR23 did not keep pace with the competition. By the year-end, Alonso and teammate Lance Stroll found themselves trailing behind the teams like Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren.

“At the beginning of the year, when we had these good results, I always had my finger up and said: ‘We will have more difficult times’. And they came, unfortunately, much quicker than we wanted them,” Krack explained. 

Refusing to attribute the mid-season struggle to the factory change, Krack emphasized his aversion to excuses:

“I’m not the kind of guy that looks for excuses. We knew before that we were expanding. We knew before that we were still growing. So if you know that before, you can plan all these things, and you should not use it as an excuse – it’s too easy.”

The Luxembourger outlined the team’s initial confidence in their progress but admitted a failure to match the pace of the evolving competition.

“When we started the season, we were confident that we had made a good step forward. And we were surprised that others were struggling.” he noted. “But then, the competition started to improve, and we did not manage this improvement. We also had our upgrades, but we never made such big steps with our upgrades as our competition did. This resulted in others slipping in between.”

Photo Credits: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

Reflecting on the season, Mike Krack candidly assessed the team’s performance, stating:

“So the gap to the fastest car, which is the objective that we’re using, has not changed that much over the season. But now, there are three or four different teams in between, whereas in the beginning, there was none, you know?”

He went on to underscore the pivotal question: “So it’s basically: what has the competition done, and what have we not done enough? But having too much on our plate doesn’t matter.”

Despite the setbacks, Krack urged a broader perspective, cautioning against expecting a miraculous turnaround in 2024:

“We honestly have to zoom out a little bit, over a three- or four-year period rather than race by race or season by season.

” The team principal underscored the complexity of the Formula 1 landscape, where a single season does not define success or failure, but championship position often takes precedence in the eyes of critics.

“If we do not finish in a higher position next year than we do this year, people will see it as a failure. I think you have to differentiate it a little bit more, but the nature of the business is championship position.”