Fernando Alonso will be ‘difficult’ for Aston Martin, says team boss Mike Krack

Fernando Alonso won the world title in 2005 and 2006

Fernando Alonso will be “a challenge” for Aston Martin when he joins them next year, team boss Mike Krack has said.

The two-time champion is join Aston Martin of Alpine, which would not offer him the conditions on which he wished to stay.

Krack said: “He can push us, more than a driver who doesn’t have this caliber. It may be much more difficult than now.

“We discussed it. We said, ‘What are the pros and cons?’ And we came to the conclusion that it was the right step.”

Alonso is a legendary figure in Formula 1 and, at 41, is still considered one of the best drivers in the sport.

But he is also known to be someone who demands a lot from his teams.

The Spaniard will replace the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who is retiring from F1 at the end of the season, in a team that sits ninth out of 10 in the Constructors’ Championship. Alpine is fourth, with six races of the 2022 season remaining.

In an exclusive interview, Krack told BBC Sport that Alonso was Aston Martin’s number one candidate to replace Vettel because of his “speed – you know where the car is, that’s the first thing”.

But he admitted: “It will be a challenge for us.”

Krack said: “Normally drivers with that experience, they don’t have that desire to win. Normally that desire goes down, especially if they’ve won before.

“Fernando has this unique combination of speed, thirst, drive and experience. For us, he is the perfect candidate.

“The downside could be that if the car we deliver is just not good enough, then we know it gets difficult. But it gets difficult with every driver if the car is not fast enough.

“We think having someone like Fernando is really, really important to take the next step as a team.

“You have to learn how to manage champions, which we have already done with Sebastian. Because these drivers are very demanding, they are quite difficult to manage. I wouldn’t even say that Sebastian is so difficult to manage if you are transparent, honest and upright. And I think it’s the same for Fernando.

“Difficulties arise when expectations do not match deliverables, or when they are not upfront.

“He knows very well when he comes here that we probably won’t win the first race together.

“But he can be assured that we’re giving him everything and we’ll listen to what he has to say. And if we can’t deliver something, we have to tell him, openly and transparently, ‘Listen, we can’t do that. With all the possibilities, that’s what we can do next.

“I think if we have that kind of dialogue, it won’t be a problem.”

Conceptual errors and growing pains

Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has scored 20 points so far in his final season in F1

Aston Martin has had a disappointing season.

At the start of the 2021 season, team owner Lawrence Stroll – a Canadian billionaire – set a goal for them to be able to win by 2025.

But after finishing fourth in their previous guise as Racing Point in 2020, they have fallen to seventh and now ninth over the past two seasons.

Stroll has funded a new factory, which should start operating early next year, and launched a recruitment drive, including signature of former Red Bull head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows as technical director.

The 2023 car will be the first Aston Martin designed under Fallows’ direction.

Krack, who joined the team in February, said Aston Martin’s growth plan combined with the massive overhaul of technical regulations for this season “was perhaps a bit more than we could stomach at the moment. era”.

He said Aston Martin’s performance this year was the result of a combination of factors.

The main ones were: they started this year with an aero concept that they couldn’t maximize because it suffered from an instability called porpoising – a phenomenon that has affected many teams; and Aston Martin had tried to grow too quickly following Stroll’s increase in the team’s budget.

“We have a small structure that relied on a few people that you put a lot of financial resources into and you grow very quickly. And if you grow very quickly, the whole structure can’t scale that quickly,” Krack said. .

“Normally you reduce efficiency if you grow too fast and that’s something that has happened.

“The [car] The concept that was decided upon was a direction that ultimately offered very high aerodynamic potential but which, due to porpoising, could never be exploited.”

This forced Aston Martin to abandon its first aerodynamic concept and switch to another – similar to the one chosen by runaway championship leaders Red Bull.

Aston Martin has since made progress – their car was on an upward performance trend until a blow at the last race in Italy.

“The reason we are improving is that we identified the technical weaknesses in the car and worked hard to eliminate them and one after the other, some in parallel,” Krack said.

“One is the weight of the car, the other is the feedback to the drivers, and the other is the aerodynamic performance and we have improved all areas and we continue to improve them.

“The rate of change and the developments we have taken so far give me good confidence that we can continue until the end of this season.”

Owner Stroll ‘is down to earth’

Krack admitted that Stroll was “very demanding” and that his investment caused “pressure”.

But he said: “The financial means he has put into this team gives him the right to be demanding. But he doesn’t put too much pressure on us.

“He’s there once a week or something, and wants to know what’s going on, what’s next, why did we do the way we did, what do we do next and what’s our strategy. And then after two hours, he has something else to do, it’s not that he comes in and decides every point, not at all.

“Giving your president an update at least weekly is warranted. There are also phone calls in between, but they’re more like catch-ups.

“But, at the end of the day, I admire his patience, honestly. Because success hasn’t come the way he wanted it to from the start, and the patience he’s shown shows that he’s realistic and understands what what he does.”

Krack, who joined Aston Martin after successful spells in the motorsport departments of BMW and Porsche, said his job so far has been to guide the team as it adapts to its new circumstances.

He said: “When you get an injection of money, the thought is normally, ‘We want to do more and more and more and more’. And sometimes the hardest thing is to say, ‘Stop, we’re waiting with that, and you just focus on that until you’ve solved it. The hardest part isn’t saying, “Yeah, we’re doing it.

“There’s always this saying – I throw you three balls, how many will you catch? Probably none. But if I throw one, chances are you’ll catch it. And that’s the thing – focus on one item, and take the next item when it’s finished.

“We have to make the improvements. And at the end of year four, or in the middle of year five, if you can see clear progress, it doesn’t matter if you’ve won three races or two races or 10.

“The most important thing is that you see the path and then you have to adjust along the way.”

Comments are closed.