Krack: Aston Martin leaves Spain with “small disappointment” regarding pace on the soft tyres

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Aston Martin left the 2023 Spanish GP feeling a “small disappointment” towards the pace of the AMR23 on the soft compound tyre, according to Team Principal Mike Krack. He explained the team has no explanations yet as to why it was so much stronger on the hard tyres compared to the softs around the Spanish circuit.

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

The start of the race seemed promising for Aston Martin, with Lance Stroll claiming third on the road after contact between Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso making up two places after a sub-optimal qualifying hindered by floor damage left the Spaniard down in eighth on the grid.

But the green cars would soon start to drop through the field, with Stroll getting overtaken by both Mercedes on the opening stint, and Alonso losing out in a battle against Alpine’s Esteban Ocon. Both ran the soft compound again for the second, but were unable to make any tangible progress on its competitors, with the pace only improving on their final, hard tyre stint.

Speaking after the race, Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack said the team were yet to find the reason as to why it lacked relative to its rivals on the softer compound of tyre, which enable other teams to “drive through” the green cars on the first half of the race, leaving the team with a “small disappointment” after the grand prix:

“There is a small disappointment about our pace, especially in the first stint on the soft tyres. Compared to some of our direct competitors, we didn’t have the pace, honestly. And we need to really understand why, because the gap was quite substantial at the beginning.

“Some cars were just driving through us more or less. And we need to understand that.

“On the hard tyres, for example, we were completely in the game compared to the competitors, so we really need to understand what happened at the beginning there.

“It went overcast very quickly, from very sunny to overcast, which we thought would help the soft tyres,” he said. “But we need to understand why, this difference in competitiveness at different times of the race.”

Krack also explained that a better qualifying and starting position would not have changed things too much for the Silverstone squad, given its pace deficit at the first stint was over half-a-second slower than its direct rivals:

“I think if we had started second, it would have been hard to keep the Mercedes behind in this initial phase of the race, the first 15 laps,” he explained. “I think at times we were five to six, or even seven-tenths slower. And this is something that we need to understand.”

Despite admitting traffic “plays a role” in the lack of pace, the 51-year-old pointed out that George Russell cut through the traffic in his Mercedes with no major issues, signalling that Aston did indeed lack some pace compared to the Mercedes:

“It plays a role, especially on a track like this one,” he said. “On the other hand, I think especially George [Russell], he also had a lot of traffic and just ran through it.

“It is true that as soon as the traffic was cleared, we were in a much better place. But we need to understand why we were there in that position because we were not in traffic all the time also in that stint.”

On the last stint, the AMR23 seemed to be much better balanced, with Lance Stroll keeping hold of sixth place and Fernando Alonso regaining the place he lost to Ocon earlier on, with a spectacular overtake down the main straight, for the delight of his home crowd.

The Luxembourgish insisted that whilst the pace on the first two stints hindered their race, it is “not a drama” for the team as it still had a decent finish of sixth and seventh, bagged valuable points for the constructors’ championship:

“I think we were very strong at the end on the hard. But by then the damage was done. Although I think we should not call it damage. We finished with both cars high up and scored 14 points. So, it is not a drama at all.”

Aston Martin has now dropped from the second place it held in the constructors’ championship since the opening race in Bahrain, and is in third place with 134 points – 18 less than direct rivals Mercedes.