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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Disappointed Aston chasing answers for soft stint woes

Aston Martin is at a loss to explain why its pace was so poor in the opening stint of Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix. 

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43

The Silverstone-based squad has been Red Bull’s closest rival for much of this season but endured its most difficult outing of the year at Barcelona. 

Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso did not have the pace on the soft early on to take the fight to Mercedes and Ferrari, and in the end, they came home a distant sixth and seventh. 

Team principal Mike Krack believed his squad’s fate was sealed by it being so uncompetitive on the soft tyres that the majority of drivers opted to start the race on. 

Asked by Autosport if he was disappointed with Aston Martin’s performance, Krack said: “There is a small disappointment about our pace, especially in the first stint on the soft tyres.  

Compared to some of our direct competitors, we didn't have the pace, honestly. And we need to really understand why, because the gap was quite substantial at the beginning.  

“Some cars were just driving through us more or less. And we need to understand that.” 

Krack said that no obvious answers for the problems had emerged during the race, and thinks that even if his drivers had qualified nearer the front then they would still have struggled. 

Mike Krack, Team Principal, Aston Martin F1 Team, in the team principals Press Conference

Mike Krack, Team Principal, Aston Martin F1 Team, in the team principals Press Conference

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

I think if we had started second, it would have been hard to keep the Mercedes behind in this initial phase of the race, the first 15 laps,” he explained. “I think at times we were five to six, or even seven-tenths slower. And this is something that we need to understand. 

I think we were very strong at the end on the hard. But by then the damage was done. Although I think we should not call it damage. We finished with both cars high up and scored 14 points. So, it is not a drama at all. 

One theory about the tyre struggles is that the Aston Martin could struggle more when battling in traffic compared to when it is racing in the clear air that Alonso in particular has enjoyed several times this season. 

Krack said it could have been a factor but that was still no excuse for it not doing a better job. 

It plays a role, especially on a track like this one,” he said. “On the other hand, I think especially George [Russell], he also had a lot of traffic and just ran through it

“It is true that as soon as the traffic was cleared, we were in a much better place. But we need to understand why we were there in that position because we were not in traffic all the time also in that stint.

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