Aston Martin’s fightback in the United States Grand Prix still constitutes a missed opportunity given how competitive the team was on Sunday, according to team principal Mike Krack.
Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll both dropped out in Q1 on Friday in Austin and then suffered poor performance in the Sprint, leading to the team taking both cars out of parc ferme and starting Sunday’s race from the pit lane. After making set-up changes and running Alonso’s car in a previous specification while Stroll used the most recent upgrades, both climbed through the field, with the Canadian scoring points in seventh place, but Krack said it’s a bittersweet result.
“You have to accept that after three days of really hard work, there is a couple of smiling faces in the garage and this is well-deserved, but you also have to see what a missed opportunity this might have been,” Krack said. “This is the reality.
“The fact is that on Friday we should have done our homework, we didn’t do it and we had the consequences all over the weekend. Now there is always the rule ‘don’t bring the upgrades to the Sprint weekend’, but when you take this decision to do it nevertheless, you know what the risks are and then you cannot complain when it happens. But it’s another lesson learned.”
Krack admitted Aston Martin was too conservative with its set-up earlier in the weekend as it tried to evaluate upgrades in just one practice session, and was able to lower its ride height for Sunday’s race after starting from the pit lane. The Aston team principal expects the team to have a better picture of how to set the car up using the upgrades in Mexico.
“We didn’t know when we took the decision,” he said. “When you take the decision you have to weigh everything up carefully, and one of the things we knew was that it would be very difficult to score when you start from the pit lane, especially with the pace we had (on Saturday). Obviously now we know that it was the right decision.
“I think we were also helped a little bit by circumstance because you can see that the whole pit stop sequence started around lap 9/10/11 and we had three or four cars that just cleared that we didn’t have to pass because they went quite early. We were surprised how early some of them came in, but then it was good because then you’re running more in free air.
“We need to do the analysis properly. We have some good data now because in the middle of the race we had both cars driving behind each other with six or seven seconds of difference and also no car in between, so there should be enough data to know what to do.”