Formula 1 | Interview – Krack: How Aston Martin F1 convinced Alonso

Interview - Krack: How Aston (...)

Mike Krack, the director of Aston Martin F1, spoke in detail about the news that caused a sensation at the very beginning of the summer break: the transfer of Fernando Alonso from Alpine F1 to his team for two years, at from the 2023 season.

How did the deal to sign Fernando come about?

We were always focused on Sebastian [Vettel], but we insisted that he answer us before the summer holidays – because the longer these discussions go on, the more problems you encounter. The ball didn’t really start to roll until the Wednesday afternoon before the Hungarian Grand Prix, when Sebastian confirmed his plans and told us he wanted to retire. We officially contacted Fernando later the next day. A few days later, the deal was done.

What convinced him to join the team?

Fernando is a machine – a racing machine. He is totally focused on the race. He is determined to perform and compete at the highest level and sees Aston Martin F1 as the team that will enable him to do so. Fernando sees the potential in the team – the new facilities we are building, the people we hire, the investments made, the advancements of the Aston Martin brand – and he sees this as an opportunity. Aston Martin F1 is for him the best opportunity to realize his ambitions.

Will he clearly be the number one driver?

No. Fernando and Lance will have equal status. Fernando asked for no such thing. There have been talks in the media of offering him things like number one status and a huge salary, but I can assure you that Fernando isn’t doing it for the status or the check at the end of the month.

Of course, the package should be commensurate with a driver of Fernando’s caliber and experience, but how quickly the deal was done tells you that things like salary or deal details aren’t were not Fernando’s main motivations.

He said it himself before the break: when both parties want to agree on something, it only takes 10 minutes. What convinced Fernando was the opportunity to be part of a team that is progressing and where he can have a real impact.

Aston Martin F1 is in the second year of its five-year plan to reach the front of the grid and Fernando is 41. Isn’t timing a problem?

I don’t see Fernando’s age as a problem. For me, it doesn’t change anything. He should be judged on his speed and performance on the track – and it’s clear he’s as good as ever. Besides, isn’t 40 the new 30? I turned 50 this year and people keep telling me it’s the new 40. If that’s true, then Fernando is only 31!

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that there are many years to come together, if we can make the progress we need with the competitiveness of the car. We underperformed as a team last season and this season; we know we have to produce a much better car.

What if the team isn’t progressing fast enough? Fernando has never been one to mince words…

The most important thing is to be transparent and honest; Fernando is an outspoken man. But it’s also important to remember that riders like Fernando only achieved what they achieved because they kept asking questions – they kept pushing, they kept wanting more. more. I’d be worried – and disappointed – if he wasn’t like that. However, Fernando should not be the first to ask these questions, we should ask ourselves.

We must be prepared; we must be able to anticipate what he will ask. What ideas might he have? What could he want from the car? What processes would he like the team to put in place? What was he doing in other teams that he thinks we should be doing as well?

If we already have the answers or if we are as prepared as possible for these questions, then Fernando will know that we are on top of things – he will know that we give our all, what he expects of himself and those that surround it. him.

Do I think it will be easy to manage Fernando? Not at all. It won’t be easy. He will challenge us and constantly push to do more – that’s the nature of a true champion – but you can be sure he’ll get the most out of the car. If we want to grow and become a top team, we have to be able to handle those kinds of characters. Fernando is exactly the one we need.

And what about Lance? How will he handle Fernando as a teammate?

People underestimate how good Lance is – they think he’s only here because his dad owns the team and put him in the car. But you don’t do as well as him against a four-time world champion by accident, nor do you win as many junior championships as him by accident.

It’s important to remember that Lance has never really had a winning car in Formula 1, a car in which he can show what he is capable of – to really put his talent to use. It’s up to us to give it to him, and to Fernando.

When Sebastian joined the team, people said Lance didn’t have a chance, but Lance did incredibly well against a four-time world champion – they got really close. People are saying the same thing now that Fernando joins the team, but let’s wait and see. Lance might surprise a few people…

Even Fernando?

I don’t know if Fernando underestimates Lance, he’s certainly not afraid to race him in the same car – or any other driver for that matter – but there’s a respect between them.

They have known each other for many years, they have faced each other and Fernando knows the qualities of Lance. There is real respect.

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