Aston Martin boss Mike Krack says the “special dynamic” between Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll is also infectious for the crew and is boosting their progress.
Following the retirement of Sebastian Vettel, Alonso made the switch from Alpine to Aston Martin for F1 2023 as he joined the charge for the ambitious team looking to contend for titles in the coming years.
And already a huge step towards that goal has been made, the team going from P7 finishers to currently scrapping with Mercedes for this season’s ‘best-of-the-rest’ status behind runaway leaders Red Bull.
And it is safe to say that Alonso and his new team-mate Stroll, the pair knowing each other from when Alonso raced for Ferrari and Stroll was a Ferrari junior, are getting on very well indeed, Alonso having already this season given advice for Stroll when driving out on the track, with the pair often calling off any potential battles between themselves to work as a team.
This then is all pooling together to create a uniquely positive environment according to Krack, which is speeding up the team’s progression.
Asked on Channel 4 to identify the recipe for Aston Martin reaching this point where they seem so strong, Krack replied: “I think the recipe on this is teamwork. I think both are very mature drivers and we have a special dynamic between the two.
“They know each other very long from the days where Lance was a Ferrari driver in the Ferrari Academy at the time.
“And you know it was quite interesting because we had prepared some meetings where we define how are we racing each other when a car comes behind with a different strategy, stuff like that, and they were super mature about it, they gave us their view of how they wanted to do it and we were fine with that.
“And we saw then in Baku, straightaway when Lance was behind Fernando, ‘tell him I will not attack, let’s do this together’.
“And obviously if this is the situation between your two drivers, it’s also the same between your crews, engineering, mechanics and everybody’s just pulling on the same side of the road, but that is really really interesting and it allows us to move on forward quicker.”
There has been some tough lessons for the team to learn though in these unfamiliar lofty heights, such as the critical tyre decision in Monaco where the weather radar told the team that rain was not coming, triggering them to pit Alonso for dry tyres, only for the heavens to open and force Alonso to pit again on the next lap for intermediates.
Alonso had been running P2 and ultimately retained that position, which became his finishing result, though it did potentially led leader and ultimate victor Max Verstappen off the hook.
Krack says that such decisions are magnified in the upper echelons of the grid, rather than new ones, though it is a situation which the team must adapt to.
“The decisions that you make are not different if you are in P18 or in P2, but you are much more exposed,” said Krack, “so everybody speaks about it and that puts a lot of pressure on the team.
“And you need to be careful that not everybody goes in protection mode and conservative all the time. So that is something that we have to learn, frankly, because we’re not used to that.
“And we got the first taste in Monaco about it and we will learn from it.”
Aston Martin did slip behind Mercedes to P3 in the Constructors’ Championship after the Spanish Grand Prix, the gap now 18 points, though Alonso has teased upgrades for the Canadian Grand Prix that will see them “crush” their rivals.