Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack is keen to see what progress the team has made in high-speed cornering following the upgrade it introduced in Canada.Fernando Alonso‘s second place, as he finished less than ten seconds off victory despite extensive fuel-saving.
Alonso was instructed to lift-and-coast for around two-thirds of the 70-lap race as a precaution over concerns over a problem in the team’s fuel system, which “did not materialise in the end”. But team principal Mike Krack was wary that had Alonso been driving at the car’s potential then Red Bull’s race winner Max Verstappen may have upped his pace in response to maintain his advantage.
It was a strong comeback weekend for Aston Martin, at least on Alonso’s side of the garage, as second place in qualifying and the race was a vast improvement on the previous race at Barcelona, where he started and finished outside the top six. However his team mate Lance Stroll suffered a disastrous qualifying session in Montreal which left him 16th on the grid, from where he was only able to recover as far as ninth.
Krack said the upgrades, focused around the floor and the engine cover towards the rear of the Aston Martin AMR23, brought everything in performance gains that the team had expected. However the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is among the six temporary circuits that have formed the first eight rounds of the season, while the Circuit de Catalunya with its medium and high-speed corners exposed the AMR23’s weaknesses two weeks ago.
The next six rounds are all held at more conventional, permanent tracks. But Krack is not worried about a repeat of the team’s Barcelona struggles.
“I’m not concerned because I think we have seen the latest upgrades have seemed to work. And there is some tracks coming now where you have a lot of high-speed corners, and I think we improved our car in high-speed corners, which we have not so many here.
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“So actually, we’re looking forward to them, because in such circuits I think we will also see the true strength of the Red Bull, and also it means we have a better indication of how far we are away.”
The next round in Austria is a sprint race weekend and therefore only features one practice session. That leaves Aston Martin little time to optimise set-up while still learning about their upgraded car.
“I think always when you put new parts on the car, you have to be through into a bit of a re-learning loop. How is your car behaving in different conditions, in different ride heights? So I think we have a lot to learn, and we have to also develop the car further over the next races,” added Krack.
But despite the apparent improvement in the team’s form, Krack warned conclusions should not be drawn based on a single race at a track which is unlike those the series will head to next.
“Canada is specific and I said in Barcelona that we should always wait for a couple of races to identify, really where you are,” said Krack. “With the mix between updates and the track characteristics, how they come, it makes it really difficult to get a clear picture.
“So I think the safest thing to say at this point is Red Bull is in front and the other three [top teams] are close. I think that is what we can say safely. Anything else I think is probably also the shape of the day, how you are on that day or how the circuit is suiting your car, or which tyres you have on.”
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2023 Canadian Grand Prix
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