Mike Krack was “100% tempted” to call Vettel to substitute Stroll after bike accident

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Aston Martin’s team principal Mike Krack talks about his temptation to call Sebastian Vettel to substitute Lance Stroll if the Canadian wasn’t able to join the grid in Bahrain.

Photo: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

Mike Krack, Aston Martin’s team principal since 2022, on F1’s “F1 Nation” podcast has spoken about his relationship with his ex-driver, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, and that he was “100% tempted” to call the German to drive the AMR23 at the season opener in Bahrain, due to Lance Stroll’s possible unavailability because of his bicycle accident in mid-Febuary.

Sebastian Vettel decided to retire at the end of the 2022 season, finishing his 15-year career. The four-time world champion, in his two seasons with Aston Martin, could score an official podium at the 2021 Azerbaijan GP and also went to the podium in Hungary, in the same season, but was disqualified after the race officials were unable to extract the required fuel sample from his AMR21.

Vettel, on his retirement announcement, posted on social media – a shocker considering that he had never opened any social media account before – said: “I love this sport, it has been central to my life since I can remember. But as much as there is life on track, there is my life off track too. Being a racing driver has never been my sole identity. I very much believe in identity by who we are and how we treat others rather than what we do.”So, when Lance Stroll suffered his bicycle accident on February 18, only 5 days before pre-season testing and two weeks before the season opener Bahrain GP, Aston Martin was left with no choice but to search for a replacement.

Photo: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

Reserve drivers Stoffel Vandoorne, current Formula E world champion and ex-McLaren driver for 2 seasons, and Felpe Drugovich, current Formula 2 champion and first driver of the new Aston Martin Driver Academy, were expected to step up, with the Brazilian having two half-days with the car in pre-season. But, media outlets started rumoring that the team had called Sebastian Vettel to race in Bahrain, leaving millions of fans of the German under expectation. Now, a month after the GP, where Lance Stroll stepped up and delivered an excellent Q3 appearance and a 6th place finish, Mike Krack talks about his relationship with Seb after his retirement from Formula One. “We have been in touch,” said Krack. “ We were in touch for the new year obviously, but then also Sebastian was “Sebastian like”, congratulating us – very gentlemanly like – about our first podium in Bahrain. “I always said to him: It is also your merit. Because he brought us really one step up over the last two years. He brought us up in a lot of areas where we have learned and progressed a lot, so he has part in where we are now. “But, he was confident in that [retiremment], he wasn´t in any kind of regretting or whatever because he was very conscious about his decision when he made it. And I think the respect between himself and the team or the respect between himself and myself is really shown by this moment of congratulating, that was really appreciated and I also related to the whole team.” But also he talked about why he didn’t call Vettel to relieve Lance for the Bahrain GP, even though he was tempted to do it. “Tempted? Yes, 100 percent. But, we didn’t do it, again, because we have such a high respect for Sebastian, and his decision, that he made at the time, that I think it wouldn’t be correct even to ask. “We wanted to respect the way that he was and we didn’t want to put him in any difficult position.”

But, imagine if Vettel made a Jenson Button’ish one-race return and drove the much improved AMR23 with Fernando Alonso as his teammate?

The reality is that one of the legends of the sport is not on the grid after ending his career on his own terms, but Vettel helped to develop a rocketship for Aston Martin, that bringed them to the fight at the very top.

And he will be always remembered as one of the greats, like Hamilton, Schumacher, Prost, Fangio, Senna, and all the other greats that once competed in the biggest motorsport category in the world.

Photo: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team