2022 AM Wings_Mono Negative

Mike on... the Japanese Grand Prix

Updates, penalties, the mighty figure-eight of Suzuka and fans that don't go home. Plenty for Team Principal Mike Krack to mull this week ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.

mike on header portrait

Suzuka is one of the big beasts of the Formula One calendar. The corner names roll off the tongue: Spoon; Degner; 130R, the Esses. It's a special place, whatever time of year we visit – though there are a few interesting possibilities in a race taking place, for the first time, during cherry blossom season. Team Principal Mike Krack discusses that, our upgrade programme, post-race decisions in Australia and more.

This is Mike on…

Standing with Fernando

"The big talking point after Australia was the penalty Fernando received post-race, dropping him from sixth to eighth. We thought that was a bitter pill to swallow, and we fully support Fernando. He is perfectly capable of standing up for himself, but we're one team and we stand together.

"What happened was tough. I saw the comments from fans and understand the frustration with the lack of an appeal – but that's simply the way the rules are written. We can't appeal a stewards' decision, there isn't a mechanism for that. We have a right of review but the thresholds are very high. There has to be new evidence that wasn’t available to the stewards at the time, but that wasn't the case this time.

"That said, I'm not opposed to the rules in general. I don't want race results being decided days and weeks after the fact. It cost us two points, but we have to accept it and move on. Ultimately, to avoid situations like that in the future, we just have to be faster. It's good motivation, and it reinforces our team spirit."

Mike on 1

Lance flies under the radar

"The reality is that, while we feel aggrieved, we haven’t lost a huge amount, as Lance inherited the place Fernando lost. It’s a good illustration of why you need both cars to be there all the time. Lance had a very strong return after Jeddah. He arrived in Australia, performed well and was solid from the first session to the chequered flag. The points he scored were very well deserved. That was true of both drivers in Australia – and I expect more of the same in Japan."


"Arriving in Japan, I haven't had the karaoke experience in Tokyo this year – but there was a factory tour and a fantastic dinner with Honda at a restaurant near their impressive facility in Sakura. 2026 is still a way off, and we have an excellent relationship with our current power unit partner, but I am excited about working together with Honda. We won't have the separation between chassis and power unit that you automatically have as a customer team. We'll just have a 'works' car, we will be one team. I left Sakura and headed for Suzuka positive about the future."

A good opportunity for comparison

"Suzuka this week presents an interesting opportunity to get a good comparison between the late-season AMR23 and the early-season AMR24. Of course, we will always compare the performance of the car one year to the next on any particular track, but there has been a lot of changes in 12 months. This weekend it's a little different, with the gap between the car we had in the autumn and the one we have in spring more useful for understanding our development."

Mike on 2

The mighty Suzuka

"Suzuka is a good place to do this sort of comparison because it really tests every part of the car. It's a very high-speed circuit but there's more to it than just the fast corners. It's never an easy track, but always a fun one for the drivers, because they have to get into a rhythm to get the most out of it.

"We've got the same specification of tyres as last year, as the Japanese Grand Prix came after Pirelli updated their construction. This is useful for comparison – but we also have the same weather forecast with lots of rain around. That we could do without!"


"One of the reasons we'd like plenty of dry running this weekend is that we have a suite of updates for the car. In Australia, we were probably joint-fourth fastest but averaged out over the first three races, fifth is a fair assessment.

"It's a development race now with the teams around us, which is why we're committed to bringing new parts before we get into the Sprint weekends. We've had updates in Saudi Arabia and Australia, and this is the next one. We will go faster with it fitted – but how much faster is a question we need to answer. Dry sessions would help with that."

Mike on 3


"Dry weather would also be nice for the fans in the grandstand. Wet weather won't put them off – but they deserve better! It's one of the things that makes Suzuka special that the fans stay in the grandstand long after the action has finished. They watch the replays and driver interviews on the big screens but also – at least for those opposite the pits – they watch us at work in the garage, keen to understand the process of what we're doing with the car after qualifying, and how we pack down after the race. It is unusual to have this scrutiny, but lovely to see this desire to understand more about how F1 works.

"The sheer volume of support we receive from fans around the world is truly humbling and something we are always very grateful for. Whether you're in the grandstands at Suzuka or cheering us on from home, we hope to put on a good show for you this weekend.

Nb: "...and incidentally, harking back to a conversation I had with a fan in Albert Park, Wayne, still waiting for that email!"

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