‘Mike Krack’s job managing drivers made more difficult with owner and driver combo’

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll celebrate the Spaniard's podium finish. Bahrain March 2023

Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll celebrate the Spaniard's podium finish with a fist bump. Bahrain March 2023

After an unintentional coming together between Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll on Lap 1 in Bahrain, a race that ended with Alonso on the podium, Ralf Schumacher reckons Mike Krack is going to have a tough time managing his Aston Martin drivers.

That, he adds, won’t be made any easier by the fact the team is owned by Lance Stroll’s father.

This season more than any that have gone before it, the Aston Martin team-mates have a lot to fight for, podium finishes and even race victories.

Alonso clinched the team’s first podium at the opening race of the championship, the Spaniard third on the day while Stroll was sixth.

There were lots of hugs, congratulations and Alonso even called Stroll his “hero” given that the Canadian was racing with injured wrists and a broken toe.

But while the appreciation was highlighted on Sunday, it may not continue if Aston Martin stay in podium contention as Alonso and Stroll fight for the champagne moments, or even the top step of the podium.

Schumacher reckons managing his drivers will be an even more difficult job for team boss Krack given that Stroll’s father Lawrence owns the team.

“It won’t be an easy task for him,” the former driver told Sky Deutschland. “This is always the case when the family is the owner and driver at the same time.

“But he brings a human component that is very important. Martin Whitmarsh is also not known for being a cheerful person. It will be his [Krack’s] job to take the people, the team and the drivers with him.”

Krack: ‘Things like that always happen on Lap 1’

Krack’s management skills were almost put to the test at the very first race of the season as Stroll hit the back of Alonso on the opening lap.

Racing for position Alonso tried to cut back on Lewis Hamilton, which meant he was suddenly in Stroll’s path with the Canadian fighting the other Mercedes of George Russell.

Fortunately it was a case of no harm, no foul.

“I haven’t spoken to Lance yet,” Krack said immediately after the race. “I don’t know if he miscalculated, but of course he was in a battle with George Russell.

“Things like that always happen on Lap 1, but obviously you don’t want to see them, but those are things that can happen.”

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Alonso admits Aston Martin ‘got lucky’ as nothing broke

Alonso revealed after the race that he initially thought it was George Russell who hit him.

He asked the Aston Martin pit wall several times during the grand prix who was it but his race engineer wouldn’t tell him.

He finally got his answer when he watched a replay in the cooldown room where he was joined by the two Red Bull drivers.

“Into Turn 4, I thought it was George,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.

“But I saw the replay on TV later, and it was Lance. He had a very good start, because he was alongside me into Turn 4. We got lucky, obviously, that both cars didn’t have any problem and we could continue.

“It was our lucky day for many things, for this contact, and also to have cars with strong contact.”

As for Stroll, he feels he “dodged a bullet” with that one.

“It was really, really terrible timing,” he said.

“I was down the inside of Russell, trying to stay in front of him, so braked late so then Fernando went for the cut back on Lewis and stopped the car in the middle of Turn 4.

“We just came together, so it was really horrible timing for all those things to happen with the great car we had today.

“But, very fortunately, we both saved it and went on to have a good race and scored points. We dodged a bullet there.”