Aston Martin: Team on track to be F1 contenders by 2025, says Mike Krack
New Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack has said he believes the team is on track with its plan to be a Formula 1 title contender by 2025.
The 49-year-old former BMW Motorsport boss was appointed by ambitious Aston Martin owner, Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
“We have everything we need, but we have to make the right decisions,” Krack said.
“It doesn’t come on its own. It’s hard work over days, weeks and months.”
He has extensive experience in motorsport engineering and management, having been a race engineer with the BMW Sauber team in Formula 1 in the 2000s, before taking up management positions in racing departments. from Porsche and BMW.
Aston Martin is the second team in recent years to set itself a five-year plan towards competitiveness – but Krack believes it can succeed where Alpine, formerly Renault, has failed to make progress.
“I agree that five-year plans don’t always work,” he said. “There can only be one winner. And very often you have a disruption – like this year with a new regulation – where you have to readjust.
“But on the other hand, which is a bit different from the team you mentioned [Alpine] are we not an OEM [major car manufacturer].
“We are a lean management structure and we can decide very quickly and we are very flexible. We have great possibilities and we have a fast decision path. This is an asset that not everyone has.
“Obviously, you can’t plan for success, but you have to put everything in place to achieve it.”
The team that Krack now leads under Stroll and group chief executive Martin Whitmarsh became Aston Martin last year. It was renamed by Stroll after taking over the historic road car business in 2020 following its acquisition from the former Force India F1 team in 2018 after it collapsed into administration.
Through the team’s various appearances since its founding as Jordan in 1991, they have earned a reputation for punching above their weight.
Why is Krack at Aston Martin?
Krack said part of the allure of accepting the job, other than the chance to lead a team in motorsport’s top tier, was because he saw similarities to his time at Sauber – and had also learned lessons about what to avoid.
Sauber, a privateer team with a reputation for being eternal midfielders, was taken over by BMW in 2006, and the company has set itself the goal of competing for the title in 2009.
It sacrificed the chance to push for the championship in 2008, when Robert Kubica was leading the points table after winning the Canadian Grand Prix in June, by halting development of that car so it could focus on changes to rules to come the following year.
BMW’s 2009 car was uncompetitive and the company pulled out of F1 at the end of the season.
“I kinda resent the situation I had with Sauber,” Krack said. “We were in a similar situation where at times we were clearly above our abilities and then we had a great partner come along and all of a sudden you had opportunities that you never had before. . We have something similar here.”
He added: “BMW also had a five-year plan and it was run in a very corporate way, which we have to avoid at all costs here.”
The foundations of ambition
Aston Martin is building a new factory at its Silverstone base, which is expected to be completed in early 2023.
Krack echoed Stroll saying it would be “state of the art”, adding, “We’ll then have all the possibilities and facilities you need to be successful.”
The Luxembourger’s appointment follows in the vein of McLaren’s decision to bring in former Porsche Motorsport boss Andreas Seidl as team principal in 2019.
Seidl has since made a significant impact and is widely respected within F1, while McLaren have made remarkable progress under his leadership.
Krack, a former colleague of the German, described his management style as “bringing people together to give them the necessary confidence, and I can succeed in forming teams that work well together”.
And he said he doesn’t have “a big list of names I want to bring in” from his old companies.
“It’s more important to see what structure we have here,” Krack said. “There are really good people here. It’s more like we have to fill a role and we know someone in my network, I’ll make a suggestion and push to get the right people. But it’s not at all like I would I like to trade people for people I know, not at all.”
Aston Martin’s current drivers are Sebastian Vettel, four-time champion, and Lance Stroll, son of Lawrence.
Vettel’s contract expires at the end of this season and Krack, who worked with Vettel at BMW Sauber in 2006, said: “It’s clear that a guy like Sebastian doesn’t want to be 15th or 12th or eighth. is our task to deliver a successful structure.
“Sebastian is a smart guy. He will not just focus on this year’s car, but [on whether] he sees the potential. And if we can offer him that, we have a chance of keeping him longer.
“I didn’t tell him about it. It’s our job to deliver the right package, and then Sébastien [want to] stay and other drivers would like to join us.”