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Feature

Mike on... the Canadian Grand Prix

It's fast, it's furious, the atmosphere is fantastic, and Team Principal Mike Krack has experienced everything the Canadian Grand Prix has to offer.

Aston Martin F1

The Canadian Grand Prix. Let's face it, this is a big one for Aston Martin… but then it's a big one for everybody. Out in the St Lawrence River, the Île Notre-Dame packs in a lot of drama onto a tiny spit of land. The lightning-fast Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of the most old-school of circuits: lots of concrete, lots of chicanes, not a great deal of forgiveness – and every corner thronged with enormous grandstands packed to the back tiers no matter the weather – and that's always a lottery too.

The Canadian Grand Prix is about more than just the track. Canada truly embraces its Grand Prix, turning downtown Montréal into one long party for the duration – not that anyone from the pitlane will get to enjoy that, they're all too busy worrying about brakes, tyres, brakes, ride height and did we mention brakes?

Team Principal Mike Krack has experienced every emotion the Canadian Grand Prix can offer, from plumbing the depths after a terrible crash to celebrating the unbridled joy of victory. He's optimistic that we're looking good this weekend for Lance and Lawrence's home race, with the development of the AMR23 continuing at pace. With this, and a look back at a positive weekend in Barcelona, there's plenty for Mike to discuss, shared with I / AM members first.

This is Mike on…

Montréal memories

"For me, and for personal reasons, this is a special place. When I was with BMW-Sauber, I had my worst moment here, with Robert Kubica's crash in 2007 – but also my best moment, when he won the following year.

"I like the track; it's heavy on the brakes, the walls are never far away, and it's a big challenge. Looking at it on a map, you think it's all straights but there's more to it: it's very technical with the chicanes and the hairpin. It always has drama and that generates a great atmosphere – but this race excels at that beyond the track too. The whole city has a buzz about it when Formula One is in town – and that's really, really cool."

Canadian GP

Trying times in Barcelona

"I've got mixed feelings about the Spanish Grand Prix. We had huge support from you, our fans, but this was the weekend that we feel we slightly underperformed. I'm sorry for all of you who turned up wearing green and wanted to go home celebrating another podium. If you've read my 'Mike on…' columns before, you'll know I've said that there will be weekends like that one – I just wish it hadn't happened there!

"But ultimately, you don't get to choose and sometimes things go against you. The incident for Fernando in qualifying made things difficult – though the way he drove with half the floor missing was fantastic. In the race, we didn't have the ultimate pace. We must not forget though that both cars scored and we came away with 14 points. Fernando analysed it well: it was our worst weekend of the year, but we outscored Ferrari. That's not terrible – but it does show how our expectations have changed."

Moving on

"Following the Spanish Grand Prix, we did a lot of analysis to understand what we could have done better. This is a normal part of the racing landscape but, because we felt that we weren't at our best in Barcelona, it had a little more significance. We think we've figured out why we slightly underperformed. I don't want to go into the details, but we're confident it's something we can eliminate and not face this weekend in Canada."

Fernando Spain - Mike on Canada

Home race #2

"The bright spot from Spain was that Lance finally had a cleaner weekend. It was good to see, given he had tough races in Miami and Monaco. This should be a good springboard for him heading into his home race, where he's always gone well in the past. Of course, it's a super-important weekend for both Lance and our Executive Chairman Lawrence, and a second home race in a row for us – as was the case in Barcelona, we're expecting to see a lot of green in the grandstands."

Development

"We're quietly confident that the track will suit the AMR23. So far this year, we've been strong on the brakes and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a place where that really matters. Our development programme is also rolling forward – our plan this year has been for continuous improvements rather than big upgrades. We had a few items for Monaco, a few for Spain, and several more here."

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Unsung heroes

"On that subject, we really should mention the huge effort going on back at base to keep up the rate of development. When we talk about good races, praise is often directed at the drivers and the trackside team in general, but the production and logistics operations are absolutely crucial.

"Keeping a constant stream of new parts and spares arriving at the track is worth a lot of laptime and just as important as a good qualifying lap, the right strategy, and a great pitstop. It's not as glamorous, not in the public eye – but it's the backbone of the operation. To keep up that pace of delivery has been remarkable, given it's been done against the background of a triple-header and the start of production's migration into the first new building of our Technology Campus. It's a big achievement for everyone back at home.

"The work on the campus, incidentally, continues at high pace. I took a walk through the ground floor at the start of this week: the reception is now finished, and the race bays and trim shop are all looking amazing. What's happening in Silverstone is incredibly exciting and essential if we are to achieve our ambitions in Formula One."

Don't miss the chance to hear from Mike ahead of every Grand Prix. Join our free membership programme, I / AM, to have exclusive insight from our Team Principal delivered directly to your inbox.

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