Krack says Hungarian GP confirmed Aston Martin has “not gone in the right direction” with upgrades

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Aston Martin failed to live up to its own expectations at 2023 the Hungarian GP, lacking the pace to compete at the very front of grid, trailing behind its early season rivals of Ferrari, Mercedes and now a resurgent McLaren. Team Principal Mike Krack says the weekend confirmed the team has gone in the wrong direction with its latest developments.

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

After being Red Bull’s closest challengers at the beginning of the season, and even challenging for pole position and the race win at the Monaco Grand Prix, Aston Martin has since failed to deliver on its promise, with a noticeable drop in form relative to its rivals since the Austrian GP in early July. The team introduced a big upgrade package at the Canadian GP, scoring a second place finish with Fernando Alonso – but since then has only managed a best finish of fifth at the Austrian GP, and endured a difficult weekend at the Hungaroring to finish down in ninth and tenth.

Speaking with selected media after the race in Hungary, team principal Mike Krack has openly admitted that the Silverstone-based team has gone in the wrong direction with some of its development choices over the last few races:

“The way we have developed the car, it’s very complex,” said Krack. “You change one thing, but you never change one thing and everything else is fine. You always have side effects when you do changes and you need to weigh what do you use. For example, a part that makes more downforce, but has a different character or vice versa. We think that in one or two situations we have done not the right choice.

“I think both,” he said when asked if the wrong choices were on the development direction or car set-up related. “It took us now a couple of weeks to identify what the issues are and also confirm them. Because you go to one event, you have issues, you go to another one, they are a little bit different and then you don’t know. So you always have to wait a little bit not to take a direction that you just put parts on the car for the sake of putting parts on the car. This is not what we want to do. But we are quite confident that what we can do over the next races will give us improvements.”

The Luxembourgish said the Hungarian GP was the “last data point” needed to confirm that the team has taken a step backwards recently after its latest developments:

“Obviously, you look already before. But I think Hungary was the last element in the puzzle because it is a track where we expected to be a bit more competitive and we were not. And that was the last data point to confirm that we have maybe not gone in the right direction.”

The 51-year-old says the “main reason” behind Aston’s lack of pace in recent races is simply that it was unable to match the rate of improvement of its rivals’ updates – with McLaren and Mercedes making big gains over the last month, hence why the inability to replicate the highs of Monaco and challenge at the front.

He also strongly dismissed suggestions from his own driver Fernando Alonso that the new construction of the Pirelli tyres brought in since the British GP have harmed the team’s relative pace, saying it is a safety matter and not an “excuse” for its recent struggles:

“I think it’s fine. That would be an easy excuse, wouldn’t it? We see that there is a little difference with these tyres, but they were brought on safety and so from that point of view everybody has to run them and it’s the same for everybody. I think we should not use this as an excuse for competitiveness because it’s the same tyres that we have to use going forward. It’s about learning as much as possible about them and moving on. But I think it would be too easy to say it’s tyres.”

With further upgrades to the AMR23 already on the way and expected for the Belgian GP, Krack said the team cannot use the restrictions around the cost cap as an excuse for its underperformance, stating that it will continue to bring developments this season:

“Again, to use cost cap as an excuse not to progress, I think at this stage of the season it’s a little bit strange, but this is not the case for us. We will try to improve the car further, understand these limitations, work on them and try to bring parts and upgrades for the next races that fix them.”