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Aston Martin: F1 factory switch no excuse for mid-season slump

Aston Martin Formula 1 team principal Mike Krack says the team moving into its new Silverstone campus should not be used as an excuse for its mid-season slump last year.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, in the garage

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Following its purchase by a Lawrence Stroll-led consortium in 2018, Aston Martin has been more comfortable financially – allowing the team to leave the factory it outgrew and move into a new, purpose-built Silverstone-based campus.

The switch was made during the course of the 2023 F1 season, with a new wind tunnel having recently been completed.

Meanwhile, the British outfit had its best start to a campaign ever since it was founded in the early 1990s, with Fernando Alonso being Red Bull's main challenger and taking six podiums in the first eight rounds.

However, the AMR23's development was unsuccessful compared to that of the competition, and by the end of the year, Alonso and team-mate Lance Stroll regularly lagged behind the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren – which Krack had feared might happen, though not so soon.

"At the beginning of the year, when we had these good results, I always had my finger up and said: 'We will have more difficult times'. And they came, unfortunately, much quicker than we wanted them", Krack told Autosport in an interview at the end of last year.

However, when suggested that the large-scale infrastructure changes might have been a distraction, the Luxembourger declined to use this as a justification for the slump.

"I'm not the kind of guy that looks for excuses", he said. "We knew before that we would move. We knew before that we were expanding. We knew before that we were still growing. So if you know that before, you can plan all these things, and you should not use it as an excuse – it's too easy.

Aston Martin factory first day

Photo by: Aston Martin

Aston Martin factory first day

"When we started the season, we were confident that we had made a good step forward. And we were surprised that others were struggling.

"But then, the competition started to improve, and we did not manage this improvement. We also had our upgrades, but we never made such big steps with our upgrades as our competition did. This resulted in others slipping in between.

"So the gap to the fastest car, which is the objective that we're using, has not changed that much over the season. But now, there are three or four different teams in between, whereas in the beginning, there was none, you know?

"So it's basically: what has the competition done, and what have we not done enough? But having too much on our plate doesn't matter."

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Krack was keen to dampen expectations for 2024, as he reckoned this particular campaign wouldn't make or break the Aston Martin project.

"We honestly have to zoom out a little bit, over a three- or four-year period rather than race by race or season by season", he claimed.

"If we do not finish in a higher position next year than we do this year, people will see it as a failure. I think you have to differentiate it a little bit more, but the nature of the business is championship position."

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