Aston Martin making progress but “still not anywhere near” podium return

2023 F1 season

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Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack says his team are “still not anywhere near a podium” but are making positive steps forward with their car.

Heading into the summer break, Fernando Alonso remains third in the drivers’ championship having taken six podium finishes from the opening eight rounds of the season. However, the team has gone four rounds without a podium finish as rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren have made strides in the development race.

Last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix brought encouragement for the team as Alonso secured a top five finish last, contributing to Aston Martin’s largest points haul since the Austrian Grand Prix. After the team introduced upgrades to its engine cover in Hungary, the penultimate round before the break, Krack says the top five finish at Spa-Francorchamps was “very, very important” heading into the four-week hiatus.

“For everybody involved, they have put crazy hours over the last weeks and it’s always important to realise that hard work pays,” Krack said in response to a question from RaceFans. “Otherwise you get disillusioned and it’s becoming more and more difficult.

“I think that is very, very positive for the team to see that working hard together, we can improve the car. But this was only the first step. We are still not anywhere near a podium finish. So I think there is much more that we need.”

With limited dry running across both the Hungarian and Belgian Grand Prix weekends – due to a limited tyre allocation at the former and rain during the latter – Krack credited his team for making the upgrades work despite having minimal data to assess them with.

“We have really done 24-7 analysis trying to understand and also trying to do something about it,” he explained. “Obviously, in the short time between Budapest and [Spa], there’s not so much you could do but great credit that we managed to to do something.

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“Everybody was really flat-out. And also [Saturday] after the off [for Alonso], to prepare the parts again, so great credit to everybody involved. That was really, really nice to allow us to now look at this and then try to improve the car for the next race.”

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023
Aston Martin’s last podium appearance was in Canada
Alonso gained four places on the opening lap in Spa during the melee after Carlos Sainz Jnr and Oscar Piastri clashed at La Source on lap one. While Krack said Alonso’s start was “key” to him jumping from ninth on the grid to finish fifth, his ability to maintain his position showed the team had improved compared to recent rounds.

“He said that he was not under threat to fall back again,” Krack said. “He gained positions at the beginning and we held it – it was not that there was a major danger coming from the back. And this is the difference to the previous races.”

While Aston Martin appeared to be making progress back up the order again, championship leaders Red Bull continue to run away out front, taking their 13th consecutive race win to maintain a perfect run of victories over the first half of the season. Asked by RaceFans whether it was disheartening to see the scale of Red Bull’s advantage for far into the season, Krack said that “disheartening is not the right word.”

“It’s a challenge,” he continued. “You see how far they are and you see also how much work it is to keep up or to try and keep up with them. And it shows what a great car they have and what a great team they are.”

After performing better at a lower downforce circuit like Spa compared to the high-downforce track of the Hungaroring the week prior, Krack says Aston Martin need to figure out how to be fast at all kinds of circuits.

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“I think if you want to play a role in the championship, you have to be strong everywhere – you cannot say ‘we just go for that track or that track’,” he said.

Zandvoort and Monza are very different and we have Singapore and Japan – also very different. So and you need to perform well on all four of the next four and you need to have a package ready that allows you to go more on a low drag, to high efficiency, to high downforce or maximum downforce. The car has to behave well everywhere, this has to be the basics, and then obviously then you do your wings to adjust to do certain tracks.”

Krack confirmed that Aston Martin will not be “turning off the tap” with development on their AMR23 over the rest of the season. Asked if he felt it would be possible for any team to catch Red Bull over the next year, Krack believes it is.

“We will try,” he said. “It shows that with less wind tunnel time, it is possible. So everybody has to look at himself and try to put his processes correctly in place to do as good a job and maybe even better than they did.”

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2023 F1 season

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Aston Martin making progress but “still not anywhere near” podium return”

  1. Well, let’s see what results come out of it then. Would be good if they get back into the mix – having Alonso with a decent car in the fight for front rows and podiums is always a boon for the fans IMO

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      3rd August 2023, 14:49

      @bascb agreed, I expected Alonso to be on the podium in almost every race but they seem to have lost pace since Austria or McLaren, Mercedes, and Ferrari have found some pace.

  2. Does mr. Stroll have another son? I think the problem is in Alonso. Lance can’t do it all by himself. Have two proper drivers, young talents, and sky is the limit.

  3. Adney Gonsalves
    3rd August 2023, 15:58

    They would have been on par with points with mercedes if Stroll Jr pulled his weight. AM is my fav team n it hurts to see them fall behind their competitors

    1. True, however when you lose pace there’s only so much great drivers can do, see that even alonso can’t keep ferrari, merc and mclaren behind when they have a strong car now.

  4. José Lopes da Silva
    3rd August 2023, 21:41

    That dutch guy who said Alonso would win a race this year doesn’t understand anything of the sport

    1. ? is this from a earlier post if they reverse their development it should bring more performance and go from there again. But a win i don’t see that happening.

  5. @ WillWood Autosport hinted at the fact that Aston were required to make some changes to here car. Has Racefans heard anything to this effect??

  6. playstation361
    17th August 2023, 0:43

    We definitely will see teams like these picking up. Also will be the case with Ferrari.

    The strength of this progress is mechanical development of the technology.

  7. Prashanth Ramadas
    17th August 2023, 0:46

    We definitely will see teams like these picking up. Also will be the case with Ferrari.

    The strength of this progress is mechanical development of the technology.

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