2022 AM Wings_Mono Negative

Mike on... the Australian Grand Prix

An opening double-header on two very different circuits gives Team Principal Mike Krack a lot to consider heading to Round Three in Australia.

Mike on Australia 2024 portrait

Of all the races on the F1 calendar, the Australian Grand Prix is the furthest away from the AMR Technology Campus in Silverstone but Albert Park Circuit is very near to our hotel in Melbourne, which means plenty of yawning this week but also a nice walk through Albert Park every morning to get into the spirit of what is always an incredibly busy and exciting race weekend. Team Principal Mike Krack has a few things to say about that – but also his reflections on how our opening races have gone, where we are as a team right now, and the path ahead as this season unfolds.

This is Mike on…

The double-header in the Middle East

"Our start to the season has been solid. At the end of 2023, we were somewhere between fifth and sixth fastest, we made reasonable progress over the winter and were predicting we'd be the fifth fastest team at the start of this campaign, and that's where we are in race trim.

"In Bahrain, with high degradation and plenty of overtaking, finishing ninth and 10th was the maximum we could achieve, and in Saudi Arabia, with Fernando finishing fifth, I think we over-delivered. AMR24 appears to be very good in Qualifying trim, and on tracks where starting position is more significant than pace, we can finish higher up.

"13 points from the first two races feels like a very good start. We have upgrades coming. Things are looking good. We're not far from Mercedes and McLaren, we've worked well operationally with strategy, car build, and pitstops, so I'm quite happy with our start."

Mike on Aus 1

Lance's crash

"Lance is in good shape and looking forward to this weekend. What happened in Saudi Arabia has happened and we don't dwell on it.

"At the start of the race in Jeddah, both drivers were under massive pressure and really struggling with the Medium tyres. Fernando was passed by Oscar Piastri, Lance was being chased by Yuki Tsunoda. They were both looking in their mirrors more than they were looking ahead and, when you're flat out, these things can happen.

"Fernando brushed a wall and was fortunate to get away with it; Lance did the same thing and wasn't so lucky. Small mistake; huge consequences. This is the way it goes on a street track."


"What have we learnt about AMR24 across the first two race weekends and pre-season testing? In terms of quality, it's a step forward. It's also substantially faster than AMR23. We were seven-tenths quicker in Bahrain than a year ago and nine-tenths quicker in Jeddah.

"Our gains are what you might expect, with most of the field making similar improvements. This proves you really have to be at the top of your game at all times.

"So far, the car is a little more difficult to drive than AMR23, but you will always take faster over easier. What we've been doing in recent weeks is trying to improve the car and the balance to allow the drivers to extract more from it.

"We have updates coming continuously. There's plenty to be positive about."

Expectations Down Under

"We had a great result in Albert Park last year with third and fourth, and we'd dearly love to have another one of those. Fernando's fifth place in Jeddah was a mega result after a terrific performance from him but we need to stay grounded. If we came home sixth and seventh, that would be a very good result.

"It's important to not lose sight of the bigger picture. This is going to be a very long season, and we need to keep a constant stream of points coming. When we start bringing upgrades, hopefully, we'll start scoring bigger points and our competitors will start scoring fewer points, which means at the end of the season there's a very good chance of final positions coming down to who did a better job when they were scrapping at the back of the top 10.

"I suspect what we'll see in Melbourne will be closer to Jeddah than to Bahrain. Our job is to try to qualify well, then manage our tyres well. This is a hard week: everyone has made a long trip, we're not here long enough to get comfortable with the time zone so it's a challenge for everyone. If we can get two cars into Q3 and have both in the points at the chequered flag, I'll come home very happy."

Mike on Aus 2

Expecting the unexpected

"In recent years, this race has been set up as a one-stopper – but this year, Pirelli has gone softer with the tyre allocation. I think they and Formula One want to make the race a little more entertaining and introduce the possibility of a two-stop. Before the cars hit the track, I'd be surprised if there's a substantial change, and my gut feeling is the one-stop will still be the preference, but that's something we'll need to find out.

"However, regardless of intention, the Australian Grand Prix is a race where things just happen. Safety Cars, Virtual Safety Cars and red flags have all played a part in recent years, and the team needs to be sharp and ready for anything."

A walk in the park

"I mentioned that Australia is a tough race to do – but it's also a very nice race to do, and the buzz in Melbourne definitely helps with the dislocation. This is one of the few races where we can walk to work and walking through Albert Park is a very good way to start and finish the day.

"The racing programme is packed, with races from early Thursday morning, with every sort of car imaginable. It's also really nice to chat with fans, they're very knowledgeable and always have words of encouragement in the mornings and evenings as they're going about their day."

Mike on Aus 3

A full programme

"One of the series on the support programme is Formula Two, which means the newest member of the Aston Martin Aramco driver squad, Jak Crawford, is with us this weekend. Australia is a relatively new addition to the F2 calendar, but it's good for the drivers to experience Albert Park Circuit.

"Jak has been in the sim a lot for us at the AMR Technology Campus, and my advice to him is similar to my advice for Tina Hausmann in the F1 Academy: finish your races. F2 has new cars this year, and it's so important to get to the flag. The season is long, all the points are important, and sometimes it's better to settle for what you have rather than going for glory.

"Jak is taking this advice very seriously but with a new car, it really is vital to complete all of the laps and learn as much as possible. It means more time on track, more opportunities to try things, experiment with lines, learn about tyres. In the long run, it pays off.

"We'll be following how gets on with interest and, of course, it's another opportunity for him to then spend some of his weekend in our garage and briefings. If you have young drivers around, you have to make them part of what you do, offering them learning opportunities as well as advice and moral support.

"…and then after that, home! It's a long way to Australia but there's always plenty of work to do on the plane. The team can't allow those travel days to be unproductive because there's too much to do. I have downloaded a few documentaries though, to watch on my phone. I'm also hoping to get time to see Oppenheimer. I didn't have enough time on the way back from Jeddah. There's rather more opportunity on the way home from Melbourne."

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