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Krack: We have updates for Imola but nobody stands still in F1

alonso krack aston martin f1

Ahead of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack reflected on the first quarter of the 2024 Formula 1 World Championship season.

Notably, compared to last year the team of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll have not had the kind of car they had last year, until around this time. Early last year, they were second in the pecking F1 order, with their Spaniard scoring a slew of podiums. This year he has not one to his name so far.

StatsF1 show that after six rounds in 2023, Alonso was P3 in the F1 Drivers’ standings on 93 points. This year after the same amount of races he has only scored 33 and lies P8. On 27 points, Stroll was P8 last year after six GP weekends, this year he is P11 with nine points to his name thus far.

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In other words, Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin have gone backwards. 12 months ago, they were P2 in the F1 Constructors’ Championship with 120 points scored. This year they are P5 on 42 points.

Krack: We are where we expected to be

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In a team press release, Krack endeavoured to explain the downfall with his ‘first quarter’ summary: “It has been a busy first few months of the season. Performance-wise, we are where we expected to be. We’ve closed the gap to the front but it’s ultra-competitive and the pack is very tight.

“Coming into this year, we expected to be fifth fastest and that’s where we’ve often been in race trim. In Qualifying, we’ve often been third fastest which has been positive, and we’re working hard on developing the car to make sure we can capitalise on our strong performance over one lap.

“I’m proud of how the team, both trackside and at the AMR Technology Campus, has dealt with the recent flyaways. For those attending races, we’ve flown long distances both east and west, almost every two weeks, so adjusting to the time zones has been one of the biggest challenges at the start of this season.

“Operationally, we’ve been very strong. Our pitstops have consistently been among the fastest and we have not lost a minute of track time because of any operational glitches. As a team, we’ve executed well throughout the campaign and that is down to the hard work and dedication of everyone both at the Campus and the track.”

Can Aston Martin recover and be GP podium contenders again?

PEREZ Sergio (mex), Red Bull Racing RB20, portrait, VERSTAPPEN Max (ned), Red Bull Racing RB20, portrait, ALONSO Fernando (spa), Aston Martin F1 Team AMR24, portrait during the Formula 1 Lenovo Chinese Grand Prix 2024, 5th round of the 2024 Formula One World Championship from April 19 to 21, 2024 on the Shanghai International Circuit, in Shanghai, China - Photo Paulo Maria / DPPI

Looking ahead to the weekend at Imola, the Grand Prix weekend denied us last year by devastating floods throughout the region, Krack said: “We’re bringing an update to Imola as part of our continuous programme of in-season development.

“This should address several areas for improvement that we’ve identified, but it’s all relative – nobody stands still in F1 – and our competitors will be bringing new parts too.

“All we can do is focus on ourselves and continue to close the gap to the front. Everyone in the team is pushing hard, and the update this weekend is just another example of the tireless effort and dedication from everyone.”

Seven races between now and Round 14 in Belgium before the summer break are on the cards for F1 teams, Krack’s included: “We’re going to be racing at least every other week between now and the summer break which is great, and we’re excited to go back to Imola. It’s a real test for the drivers – and the engineers who are trying to optimise the setup.

“After the terrible flooding that prevented us from racing at Imola last year, we’re looking forward to returning to this iconic circuit and hopefully, we can put on a good show for the fans.

“The passion that Italian fans have for the sport and Ferrari is well known, but in recent years we’ve seen increasingly more green in the grandstands when we’ve raced in Italy and I’m hoping to see even more this year.”

Krack: Imola is steeped in history

senna memorial

The Aston Martin team principal recalled: “We all remember Fernando’s thrilling battles with Michael Schumacher here in 2005 and ’06. It’s also sadly where we lost Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in 1994 and 30 years on from that tragic day, the F1 community will come together this weekend to remember them and pay tribute.”

As for the on-track action, Krack reckoned: “There’s lots to look forward to. It’s a special race and frequently serves up a great spectacle.

“Pirelli is bringing the three softest tyres in their range for this weekend, one step softer than the last time we raced here, so that adds a new variable and could provide the opportunity for some bold strategy calls.

“Scoring points is always our first target at every Grand Prix weekend and at Imola things will be no different. We have good Qualifying pace so our first job is ensuring that continues and then we’ll be working hard to convert that into a strong race finish.

“Typically, there aren’t many overtaking opportunities at Imola, so track position will be key – the margins are so fine at the moment, which makes Qualifying well even more important,” ventured Krack.

Round 7 of the 2024 F1 World Championship takes place this weekend at Imola, the 31st running of the Grand Prix at the venue. Previously as the San Marino GP, nowadays aka as the Gran Premio dell’ Emilia Romagna.

Big Question: Front-runners this time last year, nowhere in 2024… What’s going wrong at Aston Martin?