2022 AM Wings_Mono Negative

Mike on... the Bahrain Grand Prix

24 Grands Prix, 24 columns. Team Principal Mike Krack's regular column is back for a record-breaking Formula One season, and there's lots to discuss before the opening round.

Mike on Bahrain 2024 portrait hero

The start of the Formula One season seems to come around sooner every year – though in the case of 2024, that's accurate enough. Having a race weekend begin in February isn't unknown, F1 has had Grands Prix on New Year's Day, but it hasn't been common in recent years. Heading into F1's longest-ever season we are getting started early. We've crammed a lot into the last few weeks with the launch of AMR24, a filming day, and the completion of a good pre-season test. Plenty then, for Team Principal Mike Krack to discuss.

This is Mike on…

The off-season

"The off-season felt very… short. Other than the week-long winter shutdown, the AMR Technology Campus has been a hive of activity. We developed AMR23 deep into the season last year, confident it would help us this year.

"Following an intense production period, everybody at Silverstone deserves a lot of credit for the quality of the car we produced for launch, the amount of spares available, and the way the trackside team was able to get down to business without a hitch."

The test

"I'm also very happy with how our pre-season testing went. We were first out every morning and had no issues with reliability across the three days. That's extremely important, and it usually pays dividends over the first races because you're not hurrying to catch up on missing miles.

"It also demonstrated that we're on the right path with the way we do things. I don't mean that in a complacent way, because there are always things to improve, but having the test go like clockwork reassures everyone that our procedures are working.

"The only interruptions we had were for red flags, and we were able to complete the ambitious programme we had planned. It doesn't deliver any points but it’s a good start. You go into the first race feeling you have a small advantage over those teams that spent more of the test in the garage dealing with issues."

AMR24 pre-season testing

Looking back

"What was also nice from the pre-season test is that we had two race drivers sharing the load. Last year, with Lance injured, Fernando was carrying a huge burden. Felipe stepped up admirably but I'm very happy that this year Lance has had a good preparation.

"Looking back a year, we were anxious going to the first race about whether he'd be able to drive at all, and even after Friday running we weren't sure he'd be able to complete the weekend. This year, we're a lot more comfortable with both drivers having completed solid tests."

Filming day and the fans

"Of course, our performance at the test in Bahrain was helped by having a good filming day at Silverstone the previous week. These filming day allocations aren't like testing, there are all sorts of prescriptions on the tyres the team can run and the number of laps it can complete – but it's still a valuable asset and better to find problems on the circuit opposite the AMR Technology Campus, than in Sakhir, thousands of miles from base.

"It was also wonderful to welcome more I / AM members than ever before to our season launch and give them the opportunity to join us trackside at the filming day. It's always nice to talk to fans because we're fans too. Professional detachment is fine but we're just as likely to want a chat as anyone else. It doesn't matter if the subject is our new car or Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari!

"Ultimately, our team isn't anything without the fans, which is why we're also focused on elevating the fan experience even further this year, starting with having so many faces at our season launch and filming day. All of us remember what it was like racing at deserted tracks in 2020 during the pandemic, and we're very grateful for the support from the fans and the atmosphere they generate. It's why we go racing."

Controlling the controllables

"Lots of people – myself included – commented last year on how easily Fernando slipped into the team. His acclimatisation went very smoothly, he hit the ground running brilliantly, with a string of podiums… but I still have a hope that we'll get even more from him in 2024. I think that's just a natural consequence of him and the rest of the team knowing each other better. At the start, you're gauging capabilities, learning a common racing language, and now that's all firmly behind us. We speak the same language, know how to work together and will gain time through that. It's not magic, just a product of familiarity.

"Lance has put in a good shift over the winter, really working hard. He's trained even harder over the off-season. He's super-fit, hungry for success, and ready for the long season ahead. He finished last season really strong, and he's done everything he can to carry that momentum through the off-season, into the new campaign. 

"We're focused on the task at hand and well prepared. Performance is always an unknown before the first race – you really can't trust testing – but in terms of the things we can control, I think we're in a good place, we have a good development plan in place, a promising upgrade programme and both drivers are ready.

"At this point in the year, that's all you can really do: control the controllable elements – your own performance – and not expend too much effort worrying about things beyond your control. I know that sounds boring but the principle is valid: we can only control what goes on in our own garage, and only by being at our best can we properly compare ourselves to the rest of the field over this weekend and in the weeks ahead."

Lance and Mike 2024 testing


"Bahrain International Circuit is a special track and a very hard place to race. It takes a lot out of the tyres, and long-run performance definitely carries more weight than qualifying position. I read a couple of days ago an article stating long runs are the hard currency of F1. I like that phrase: it is the long runs that deliver points.

"This circuit is a good place to start the journey. It was very windy here during pre-season testing though, and that looks like continuing through the race weekend. Given how sensitive these cars are to wind, it makes it quite difficult to truly gauge performance, so we're not going to get any definitive answers here. Of course, that argument could be made at pretty much any circuit we went to first…"

A different season

"It does feel different going into the racing season in 2024. Last year, we were underdogs, and no-one outside the team was particularly expecting anything from us. We over-delivered in Bahrain, which was very nice. A podium was, perhaps not a true reflection of our pace, as Ferrari were faster than us – but they had issues and that perhaps skewed things a bit.

"This year, expectations are higher, which means there's more pressure. It's a good problem to have, but it does mean you're silently asking yourself a lot of questions. Is the car good enough? Is the development plan robust? What's going to happen on Saturday?"


"Data from pre-season testing and free practice doesn't particularly answer any of those questions. All we can say with certainty is that AMR24 is faster than AMR23, that the step forward is as expected, and that its performance on track contained no surprises when compared to what we saw in our simulations. We're now into the exciting period where we're waiting to find out what others have done. This is racing. Here's to a good season."

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