Krack explains ‘admiration’ he has for Alonso & Stroll and how his team showed they are ‘perhaps a little bit different’ from the rest after Mexico GP double DNF

Photo Credits: Aston Martin Aramco Formula One Team
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The 2023 F1 season will be remembered amongst other things as Aston Martin F1 Team’s most successful campaign to date. Team Principal Mike Krack recently spoke to the team’s official website about a memorable F1 season but one which could have been even better after the team headed in the wrong direction with their car after a blistering start to the season.

The Silverstone based racing outfit recorded eight podiums, 280 points and finished the season P5 in the F1 Constructors’ Championship. Key to this was the performance of renowned two-time F1 Drivers’ Champion Fernando Alonso but Lance Stroll had moments of note throughout the year as well.

“The first six races were incredible – but I knew there would be difficult moments that would follow.” stated Krack. “We were realistic and tried to manage expectations. Competition in F1 is fierce; very good teams that didn’t start the season so well would inevitably get on top of their problems and bring the fight to us. We knew it would get harder.”

Aston Martin’s rivals did indeed get on top of things – none more so than McLaren – but the papaya-coloured Woking based manufacturer was also helped by Aston Martin going backwards.

The middle of 2023 was a difficult period for Aston Martin because having made such a name for themselves they went through a run of poor races. On this issue, Krack was pragmatic saying how perhaps it appeared more difficult than it actually was due to the start they had to their season.

“Expectations levels rose dramatically. Imagine if our season hadn’t started with six podiums from the first eight Grands Prix, but instead started with one? Had that been the case, then what happened at rounds nine, 10, 11 and 12 isn’t quite such a contrast. Score 23 points in the first race, understandably the expectation level rises.” explained Krack.

Key to that expectation was Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard, having made the switch from Alpine to Aston Martin, prior to the 2023 season scored six podiums in the first eight races of the 2023 F1 season.  

“What Fernando has brought us is just outstanding,” admitted Krack as he explained what the former 2-time Champion brings to his team. “He drives us on and makes us better – it’s that simple really. He is hugely ambitious and wants to be fighting for podiums every weekend.

“The experience he brings is invaluable, but also the commitment. He isn’t one of those drivers who turn up on a race weekend, does their thing and then disappears. There’s always another question, another WhatsApp message pinging in, constantly looking for things we could improve.

“Having him prowling around behind you provides all the motivation anyone could need. I’m looking forward to what he can do in 2024 now that he’s had a year to fully bed into Aston Martin.”

Formula One is of course a team sport and had the other side of the garage matched the success of Alonso, the team would have rocketed up the table. That said, it cannot be forgotten that a pre-season training crash had Stroll on the backfoot early on. Aston Martin’s man in charge reflected on the performance of Stroll after battling back from wrist and foot injuries.

“Lance is in a great place,” answered Krack. “He’s relaxed and self-confident. You can see it in his body language. It’s very impressive how he has developed as a driver this year. He had the injury pre-season, which put him on the back foot, but he showed real grit and determination to get back behind the wheel as quickly as possible. And, despite all he had been through, he was still very fast.

“Then, later in the season, he came back fighting after a tough phase. He had a lot of pressure to deal with and handled it with a lot of assurance. “

Krack went on to explain how he wished that the season would have been a bit longer for Stroll due to the fact that he certainly found his speed in the final events of the 2023 campaign. With that in mind, Krack said: “We can build on that. That’s what needs to happen now, he just needs to pick up where he left off this season. He’s overcome many challenges this year and now he’s very much on the up.”

Having had troubling moments during the course of the season, Krack also highlighted a particular race weekend when a double DNF for the team still did not alter the mindset within Aston Martin.

“I am full of admiration for the drivers this year. They’ve made us a better team. I think you find out more about their character in the tough races. Mexico was a good example. After that race, they were constructive in the briefings and stuck by us when talking to the media. They could have been really negative in the press – and we would have deserved it for failing to give them a competitive car that weekend – but neither did. Instead, both expressed their faith in the long-term goals and journey we’re on. For me, that stands out.

“In other teams, you often see drivers going to the media to shift blame for poor results onto the team. Lance and Fernando haven’t adopted that mentality. It isn’t the drivers and the team here; the drivers are part of the team. I think in this regard, we’re perhaps a little bit different from our competitors.”

The target is clear for all, to finish higher up the table than previously. Due to the fact that Aston Martin F1 Team opened the new AMR Technology Campus last year, coupled with the announcement of a works partnership with Honda – the future is promising to say the least. Add to that an in-form Alonso and Aston Martin look set to continue making headlines in 2024 and beyond. Mike Krack is optimistic for what lies ahead and the gremlins of the 2023 car certainly seem to have been identified somewhat. However, he also reiterated not to be expecting miracles just yet.

“We know what we want to do for 2024 and the direction we need to go in with next year’s car – but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to turn up at the season-opener in Bahrain next year and be fighting for the race win.” Mike Krack

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