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Krack: Aston Austrian form reflects “conservative” approach

Aston Martin Formula 1 team principal Mike Krack has downplayed the suggestion that the Silverstone outfit has underperformed thus far in Austria relative to its usual 2023 form.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso qualified sixth and seventh for Sunday's grand prix before repeating this achievement in sprint qualifying, but this time with Alonso in the more advanced position before a Leclerc penalty promoted both drivers one grid slot.

Stroll got ahead on the first lap of the sprint and, helped by staying out on intermediate tyres, he and Alonso eventually finished fourth and fifth after running close together in the final laps.

While the team has this year gotten used to earning podiums and qualifying in the top four Krack insisted that the weekend so far does not represent a downturn in form.

“I think we are not far from where we should be,” he said. “It's a track where the gaps are super small, you have a small glitch in one corner, it costs you positions. So we were not unhappy [with] where we were.

“Sprint weekends have their own rules. It's super tight and sometimes you have to go a little bit conservative on the sprint weekend because you've seen how important is to score."

Aston Martin's haul of nine points on Saturday was greater than either of its immediate rivals, with Ferrari registering six and Mercedes, one. 

Aston Martin is one of several teams that opted not to complicate the Austrian weekend by bringing updates to a sprint event.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

It thus stuck with a stable package based on the Montreal updates, having been caught out when it ran a new wing at the last sprint in Baku.

“We have this philosophy of continuously bringing parts to the car and this will continue from now on," said Krack. "But we said almost every race, and the 'almost' refers to a sprint weekend, where we prefer to take a bit of a conservative approach.

“Because if you lose a little bit the direction, then after FP1 the car is in parc ferme, and you lose one and a half races basically because you have maybe made a mistake. 

"So from that point of view, we take it conservatively. But you see also other teams, they also do very conservatively for sprint weekends.”

While Aston Martin has not brought updates to the Red Bull Ring, other teams have introduced new parts, with McLaren running Lando Norris in what has been described as a 'B-Spec' version of the MCL60.

Warning how this can skew the pecking order, Krack said: “You will remember that I'm always saying you need to be really careful in taking one track and then judging if the pecking order has changed. We have a lot of change.

“You have seen McLaren, for example, has brought a big upgrade here. You have always some people making changes, then some people making mistakes, and then quickly you have a different order.

“And then you draw conclusions. I think you always have to wait maybe two or three races, different characteristics, and then make a judgement.”

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