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Though through five races, the F1 team’s season isn’t exactly on the trajectory needed for that to happen.
The inaugural Miami Grand Prix has brought Formula 1 to Florida, and proved it is possible to make an exciting street circuit out of what is basically an outsize parking lot. It also gave us the chance to spend some time with Aston Martin F1 team principal Mike Krack and discuss both his team’s season and his hopes of retaining the talents of lead driver, and quadruple world champion, Sebastian Vettel.
Aston Martin’s 2022 season hasn’t got off to a great start, the team having scored just five points in the constructors’ championship—four of those down to Vettel—and currently second-last in the standings, above only Williams.
“Obviously we didn’t start where we wanted to start,” Krack admits, the Luxembourg-born engineer having taken control of the team in January following the departure of previous boss Otmar Szafnauer to Alpine. “Sporting competition is always a relative thing—you can do a good job and others do better… I think the target should be that we finish better than we did last year and we really see a continuation in performance improvement.”
Aston finished seventh in the constructors’ championship last year, with Vettel scoring the team’s first podium finish with second place at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Krack admits retaining the talents of the 34-year-old driver, who is out of contract at the end of this season, is important to the team’s stated aim to win a Formula 1 championship within five years of its foundation—this being the second season. As the second-most successful F1 driver currently on the grid in terms of championships—behind only Lewis Hamilton—there is little doubt Vettel would have no difficulty finding a seat elsewhere.
“We are having conversations with Sebastian, obviously—and we would be happy to keep him,” Krack said, “but I think it is down to us, it is our role to deliver a proper performance improvement for the races to come. And then I think it would be much easier to retain him than if we continue where we are now, or certainly where we have been the first three races of the year. But I think the curve is already showing a little bit up.”
Which seems like a realistic, level-headed appraisal—though with a Miami race that started in the pits and ended (also in the pits) with a 17th-place showing by Vettel, how much up that curve is showing is questionable.
Krack was also happy to see a second race in the United States, and hopes that plans for a third round in Las Vegas next year work out.
“More races in the US is a huge benefit. It is a huge market, a very big economy, and a very important one for us. I think that the fanbase in the US is so big it would be good if we could have another race next year, if we could do three races in the US, that would be a great thing.”
Perhaps more surprisingly, Krack also welcomes the prospect of new teams being allowed to enter Formula 1 to expand the total entry list.
“Personally, I think it’s a good thing to have more teams, especially an American team would be great for the sport,” he said, in what might be an elegant bit of trash talking directed at the nominally American Haas F1.
“We also maybe need an American driver, and I’m supportive of that, too,” Krack added.
Share your thoughts on the inaugural Miami Grand Prix—and the performance of the Aston F1 team—in the comments below.