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Formula 1 United States GP

Aston Martin knew bringing F1 upgrades to US GP sprint was risky

Aston Martin Formula 1 team principal Mike Krack admits that the Silverstone outfit knew it was a risky move to bring a major upgrade package to a sprint weekend.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

The team struggled to optimise its latest updates after problems arose in FP1 at the US GP, after which the specification was fixed.

That led to a disappointing qualifying session on Friday, and an equally frustrating shootout and sprint on Saturday.

The team eventually opted to take both AMR23s out of parc ferme and make wholesale changes that triggered pitlane starts for Sunday's main event.

Fernando Alonso went back to the Qatar-spec aero package, while Lance Stroll's car also underwent set-up changes, with both men going down on ride height after the team initially took an overly conservative approach.

The cars proved more competitive than expected in the race. Alonso was running ninth when he was forced to stop with floor damage, while Stroll eventually finished in the same position.

The Canadian then gained two spots from the disqualifications of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

Asked by Motorsport.com if he would have done anything differently, Krack insisted that the team knew that things might go awry.

"You need to be aware of the risk," he said. "And we lost the Friday due to preparation, we were not well enough prepared, we overheated the front corners, and we lost the session.

"When you have only one hour when we came here, we said we have to be 100% in this one session. If we have one glitch, you don't have the data that you want to have.

"And we had a glitch, and we didn't have the data. So I think it's manageable if you have no issues, to bring upgrades into a sprint. And other teams are doing it. It's doable, but the risk is higher."

Krack admitted that the result was welcome after a tough weekend for the team.

"You have to accept that after three days of really hard work there are a couple of smiling faces in the garage," he said. "And this is also well deserved. But you have also to see what a missed opportunity it might have been.

"And this is the reality. So, 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 upgrades to the sprint weekend. When you take this decision to do it, nevertheless, you know what the risk is, and then you cannot complain when it happens. It's another lesson learned."

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Krack said that making the points had exceeded expectations given the pitlane starts.

"You know that it will be very difficult to score if you start from the pitlane, especially with the pace that we had yesterday. Obviously, now we know that was the right decision.

"I think we were also helped a little bit by circumstance, because you can see that always when we came [behind other cars], they went to pit. I think the whole pit stop sequence started around lap nine, 10, or 11.

"And we had two or 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 pitted. But it was good, because then you're running more in free air than if you are in traffic."

Krack stressed that getting the new parts to the car required a huge effort, one that saw the team play a curfew joker on Thursday evening as the crew worked late into the night.

"People underestimate very often how much work you have to do," he said. "Geometrical checks, deflection checks, all these checks that you have to do, it takes very, very long, and the floors and wings and the bodywork, it arrives late, so you bring everything on Thursday morning or Thursday lunchtime.

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"And then you have not so much time to do all that prep work. You have the declarations to do with the FIA. And I think every professional race team has to do all these tests and checks before you go into a race weekend.

"So it's a huge amount of work. And you have not a lot of time. And if you then have a joker left, you've got to take it."

Regarding the floor issue that stopped Alonso, Krack said: "The track is brutal here. It's really very, very tough. And there was one part of the floor, the floor on the right, that is just broken off, like half a metre in length. Just gone."

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