After a strong start to the 2023 Formula One season, Team Principal Mike Krack opens up about the mood inside the team, Lance's recovery and why the AMR23 looks a little different this weekend, in a revealing interview first shared with I / AM members ahead of Saturday Free Practice in Saudi Arabia.
Open, honest and insightful, these are Mike's thoughts ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
This is Mike on…
"How we will fare this weekend is an unknown. The circuits could not be more different. Bahrain has a very abrasive track surface, a lot of low- and medium-speed corners and many run-off areas, whereas Jeddah's track surface is very smooth, there are a lot of high-speed corners and there are walls that will punish you if you make a mistake.
"We'll learn more about the competitiveness of our package this weekend. It would be bold to say we'll achieve a similar result to the one in Bahrain, but we will do everything we can to bring home a good amount of points."
Changes to the AMR23
"We'll be running less downforce than in Bahrain and therefore use lower-downforce specification front and rear wings this weekend. We will also have a couple of other minor modifications to help us in the high speed. The changes to the car are aimed at making it more suited to the high-speed characteristics of the circuit and its fast, sweeping corners.
"We have confidence in our car based on everything we've seen so far in the simulator, testing and at the season opener. We set ourselves ambitious targets with the AMR23 – looking to improve in every area – and we've achieved them. We've started the season with a good baseline."
"It's hard to comprehend the scale of the challenge Lance had to overcome to be on the grid and compete. But he didn't make a fuss about it, and he never complained – he was completely focused on the job he had to do. He was determined to get in the car and, despite the pain, just went for it – and he delivered by bringing home really solid points.
"He will feel better this weekend because his injuries have had more time to heal but there is still some way to go until he will feel 100 per cent. Lance is doing everything he can to get back to 100 per cent as soon as possible and I'm looking forward to seeing how he fares this weekend because the characteristics of the circuit should suit his driving style."
More to come from Fernando
"We will get even more out of Fernando and he will get more out of us as our relationship grows. We are already collaborating at a very high level, and the celebrations in Bahrain showed the strong bond that already exists between Fernando and the team, but we're still very much in a building phase – still getting to know each other.
"Having a competitive car helps, but the great thing with Fernando is that you always know where you stand. He pushes the car to the limit and isn't afraid to tell you what's not working well and where improvements can be made. There's lots more to come."
The mood inside the team
"The buzz in the team is phenomenal right now and part of that is down to the result in Bahrain. In the garage and at the factory, everyone is incredibly motivated – and they are happy.
"Happiness is important because working in Formula One is more than a job, it's an expression of passion. Passion is what drives our people and when you get good results on the track, that's the reward for all that passion – all that energy you've put in.
"The podium in Bahrain is a milestone on our journey. We have ambitions to reach even greater heights, but it's important to celebrate our achievements along the way because it feeds the passion that drives us."
The state of mind
"Our mindset remains the same: we are focused on delivering another solid performance. But Bahrain taught us that we can be more confident in ourselves. We can do it. We can take the fight to some of the top teams and put pressure on them.
"Belief is building in the team and in what we are doing. We will stay focused on ourselves, not on what our competitors are doing, and continue to do things the Aston Martin way."
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