2022 AM Wings_Mono Negative

Mike on... the Hungarian Grand Prix

Underdogs, upgrades, a new Qualifying format and a truly remarkable career. Team Principal Mike Krack has plenty to discuss this week.

Mike Krack

The Hungarian Grand Prix can surprise and sometimes even shock. 20 years ago, a debut victory from pole for a young Fernando Alonso was certainly a surprise. In the past this race has delivered sudden showers, first corner collisions and exceptional levels of tyre degradation.

This year, it presents an opportunity for us to perform a mini-reset. The last two races haven't seen us at our best – less perhaps a case of poor performance, more a case of a furious technical battle that sees the teams around us developing at pace and the pecking order being anything but firmly established.

In his latest pre-race column, made available first to I / AM members ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Team Principal Mike Krack has got a few thoughts on the races behind, the races ahead, the trial of the Alternative Tyre Allocation, the mindset of the team as it develops, and the truly remarkable career of Mr Fernando Alonso Díaz. 

This is Mike on…


"We were sorry to not match the expectations of our fans at the British Grand Prix. We've had a couple of races now where we did not perform the way we should. We need to do better. It's critical we keep momentum up. We're halfway through the season and it's nice to look at six podiums, and Fernando has finished in the points at every race. It's a good achievement – but expectations are changing, and we want more.

"Fernando has scored the lion's share of the team's points so far this season but that is in no way a reflection on Lance's performance and dedication. He's putting in the hard yards, doing everything he can to arrive at every Grand Prix at 100 per cent.

"He's doing the right things, but his campaign has been devoid of luck on many occasions. The British Grand Prix was a case of damage limitation and Lance raced hard to try to get into the top 10. If we're a little more competitive at the Hungaroring, Lance will be in the mix."

Hungarian GP


"There's a natural assumption that, following a fantastic start, we're now falling away but it's not as simple as that. We need to keep the AMR23 car competitive at the front, while not taking our eye off next year's challenger.

"This is a positive challenge: we know how it feels to get on the podium and we are hungry for more – but it doesn't come for free. You have to work and work hard. Lately, other teams have been doing a good job, and we have to take another step. We have to stay realistic as well: know what we are about and what we can achieve with the tools we have."

The Alternative Tyre Allocation

"At the Hungarian Grand Prix, we have the Alternative Tyre Allocation (ATA) and the new Qualifying format it brings with it. It was intended to have a debut at Imola and sadly didn't happen, so we have it here now.

"The basics are that we come into the weekend with two fewer sets of tyres for each car and must use a specified tyre compound in each part of Qualifying – Hard in Q1, Medium in Q2 and Soft in Q3. It's part of an effort to reduce F1's carbon footprint. Two fewer sets of tyres per car means 160 fewer tyres required at a Grand Prix – that's an entire truck.

"I'm pleased that we're trying this: I think the sport has to stay open-minded and open to new ideas. We can't have too much of a purist mindset. We have to work together, try new things, evolve the sport. Not everything we try will work, and not everything will stay forever – but that's OK: it's important to try these things and if they don't work, we say OK and try something else."

Hungarian GP

Monaco without the walls

"The Hungaroring is sometimes called 'Monaco without the walls' – but we've got to be cautious about predicting our performance here will be similar to our performance there. Yes, the AMR23 will certainly be better suited to the Hungaroring than it was to Silverstone, but a lot has changed since Monaco back in May.

"This season is moving quickly and a lot has happened in two months: upgrades are changing the competitive picture, and perhaps some teams that didn't start the season as well as we did are now delivering performance that will make our task harder. I still believe we can be cautiously optimistic here – but perhaps a little more because the circuit will suit us, rather than in pure performance terms."

The approach to the weekend

"Well, as usual, it's very hot, as usual, there's a threat of thunderstorms and, as usual, there's going to be an enormous crowd. This really is a circuit where the drivers have to get into a rhythm – but that's not always straightforward.

"It's always very important to qualify well, and that again will be key with the new format. Our approach has to be similar to the things I've said before on Sprint weekends: try to get everything right in FP1 and FP2, bring the car through, and have solid results in Q1 and Q2 without trying to do too much – because trying to be super-clever will not benefit us.

"Going into the race, it's one of those circuits where anything can happen. We've seen big first-lap crashes, surprise winners and so on… it's important to put yourself in the best possible position to take advantage of whatever comes your way."

Hungarian GP

Underdogs and overachievers

"As I said at the top, we need to do better and that adds pressure – but it's something that comes automatically. Month by month, we have better tools and better infrastructure and that naturally means the pressure ramps up. We knew this up front: we have a fantastic campus now, and performance is expected.

"We need to learn to not be underdogs. It's comfortable being an underdog: nobody has high expectations, you can only do well. If you don't do well, OK, you're an underdog. We need to move on from that and change the mindset."

20 years since Fernando's first win

"This weekend there's a lot of attention on Fernando, given it's the 20th anniversary of his first F1 victory, here at the Hungaroring in 2003. People are asking me how much he's changed since then, and the simple answer is I don't know – because I haven't worked with him across the last 19 years!

"I don't know if Fernando is at his very best now or not, but I'm very happy to take him as he is now. It's fantastic to have someone like him in the team. Aside from the performance on track, he drives the mindset. He has a winning mentality and we want to instil that throughout the team."

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