New Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack admitted the team needs to field a strong car if they are to keep Sebastian Vettel beyond the end of the season.
The four-time World Champion endured a tough season battling on the edge of the points-paying positions for the team, who finished P7 in last year’s Constructors’ Championship.
Vettel said himself that his interest in staying in Formula 1 is dependent on being able to compete at the front of the field, but said separately that the appointment of Krack as team boss will help Aston Martin, with the two previously having worked together at BMW.
Krack, who replaced Otmar Szafnauer as team principal with ‘Team Silverstone’, backed up Vettel’s words, admitting the onus is on the team to bring a competitive car to the grid in 2022.
“It’s clear that a guy like Sebastian, a four-time World Champion, he doesn’t want to be 15th or 12th or P8, that’s clear,” Krack said while speaking to the media, including PlanetF1.
“It’s our task to deliver a performing car or, say, a performing structure because I think Sebastian is a clever guy. He will not be focusing just on this year’s car or whatever but focusing more on what is happening and if he sees the potential.
“So if we can manage to offer this to him, I think we have a chance to keep him for longer. To be honest with you, I have not spoken with him about it – this is something that will have to come.
“But all in all, it is our task to deliver the right package, then Sebastian will stay and other drivers will like to join [the team].”
Krack was race engineer when Vettel took his first laps in a BMW Sauber in Turkey back in 2006, and he said the two formed a solid relationship that will resume this season.
But with that, he insisted that it is “super important” that Vettel and the team are honest with each other throughout about their performance.
“He does not have to be always the island of comfort for everyone, but I think it’s very important for such high-class drivers that they feel the support of the team,” said Krack.
“I think what matters here most is being transparent about what we expect, about where we are, and this is something I handled also with all of the drivers I had in the past with my former employer.”
Vettel is well-known for being one of the most analytical drivers on the grid in his race debriefings, and expects hard work from people around him to try and push forward.
Krack said he can relate to how Vettel works within a team, as they are very much in the same school of thought in that regard.
“First of all, he is a very nice guy, so he manages to surround the team around him by, not being nice all the time, but being respectful,” Krack said of Vettel’s qualities.
“This is an ethic that I share largely, so that’s also one of the reasons I think why we get along very well.
“Compared to when I knew him last, he is now a four-time World Champion. He has accrued a huge amount of experience… he knows exactly what he needs to go faster.
“So from that point of view, I think it’s great to have him because also he can steer us as a team in our development.”
Vettel’s future will be decided by wins
Sebastian Vettel has been talking about his Formula One future and what needs to happen for him to stay.