Mike Krack talks about how and why he joined Aston Martin as he returns to F1, while adds on reuniting with Sebastian Vettel.
Krack is making his F1 return for the first time since 2009 with an impressive career to date. His focal Formula One experience was being part of the BMW Sauber team in the noughties. His initial departure from the sport saw him have a successful career in WEC with Porsche as well as BMW’s Motorsport Director, which was what he was doing up to now.
Thus, the month of January saw him become Team Principal at Aston Martin, replacing the departing Otmar Szafnauer. It is a great challenge as he explains how the discussions came about and why he agreed to join the F1 team at this juncture.
“I was at Petit Le Mans – and I probably caught Covid at Petit Le Mans,” said Krack to media including F1 website. “I was sitting in my home office for two weeks quarantining after testing positive. Then I got a call from a headhunting agency
“I have to be honest, I was flattered by the opportunity that I was offered. There were several meetings with Martin Whitmarsh and with Lawrence Stroll, until we came to a point where we shook hands and we said we can do this,” summed up Krack.
The job he is undertaking is to lead Aston Martin to being F1 world championship contenders, which is a part of Stroll’s five year plan. “I think Formula 1 is like the Champions League, and every professional football player wants to play Champions League,” continued Krack. “It’s the same for motorsport, [whether you’re] an engineer or driver. So, from that point of view, it’s the ultimate place to be.
“At Aston Martin, yes, the pressure is there, but I think you have to turn that into positive pressure. Yes, we want to succeed. We have to succeed, but also, we’ve spent so much time and so much budget, and it’s not for being second or participating.
“Obviously, you cannot switch and be… winning from the first day. But at the end of the day, it’s a huge challenge but it’s also a huge opportunity that we have now. With that brand, the Aston Martin brand, we have all the ingredients that you need to be successful,” summed up Krack.
Of course, Aston Martin were in the pinnacle of Motor Sport in the late 1950s, but they are not the same now. The current team – which it has taken over – began life as Jordan Grand Prix in 1991, became Midland, Spyker, Force India, Racing Point before its current step.
While over the years, they have built a reputation as an underdog outfit but this time things are a little different. Starting last season, they signed Vettel alongside much admired Technical Personnel coming from various F1 teams like Eric Blandin (Mercedes), Lucan Furbatto (Alfa Romeo) and Dan Fallows (Red Bull).
These recruitees along with construction of an impressive new 400,000 square foot facility which is to house both a new factory and a new wind tunnel, shows the seriousness from Aston Martin. With Krack, he has one familiar face from the last time he was in F1. He is reunited with Vettel, with whom he worked in Sauber back in 2006.
“I think we have a very good relationship,” said Krack. “We have not been in touch so much over the years after I had left Formula 1, but when we met again it was like we had seen [each other] yesterday, so it was very, very good to catch up. It’s clear that a guy like Sebastian, a four-time world champion, he doesn’t want to be 15th or 12th or P8.
“That is clear. I think Sebastian is a clever guy, so he will not be focusing just on this year’s car or whatever, but focusing more on what is happening and if he sees the potential. If we can manage to offer this to him, I think we have a chance to keep him for longer,” summed up Krack.
Aston Martin have the name, the personnel and the technology and are striving to reach number one. The team have announced a five year plan to do so. They may be deemed to be putting pressure on themselves but they have a clear cut and precise plan of targets and objectives to succeed.
Here’s Sebastian Vettel on trying different styles in Barcelona
Here’s Lance Stroll and others on 18-inches tyres