Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack has highlighted a key public outburst of Fernando Alonso’s frustration with Alpine as proof of the 41-year-old’s continuing absolute motivation to succeed in Formula 1.
Alonso made the surprise move to Aston for 2023 by signing a “multi-year deal” that will keep him at the team until at least the end of ’24 and completed his first test with the team in the post-season Abu Dhabi test last week.
Krack suggested Alonso’s first test “ignited another spark” with the team once personnel saw how motivated he was.
Despite Alonso turning 42 next year, Krack believes his motivation is unquestionable. He uses Alonso’s frustration at losing seventh place in the Mexican Grand Prix when his Alpine engine expired as proof of this.
It marked Alonso’s fourth race-ending mechanical failure of 2022 at that point and led to him describing his Alpine team as “unprepared”.
“I always hold up this picture of the Mexican Grand Prix about his frustration of not having finished seventh,” said Krack. “This is an example of dedication and motivation.
“So if you have someone with this passion and drive to win, it has an impact on the team. And we could clearly see how everybody was really happy to have this guy in the car last Tuesday.
“So I think he ignited maybe another spark from his own passion and desire to win onto the team.”
Krack also says new signing Alonso “can have a big role to play in the future of the team” that extends beyond a driving role, something Alonso is also keen for.
Alonso’s deal will keep him at the team until at least the end of 2024, but Alonso has also spoken of his desire to extend the partnership beyond his stint driving for the team.
Krack confirmed preliminary conversations have happened about the possibility, with Alonso regarded as “a core part” of the team’s ambitions.
“We have had some very good conversations already with him,” said Krack when asked about the possibility of a longer-term association with Alonso. “This, in my opinion, can go beyond driving.
“Fernando is joining us as a core part of the team and we have to see how this is going to develop.
“But I think he can have a big role to play in the future of the team.”
Alonso had his first outing for the team in last week’s Abu Dhabi test, completing 97 laps in the Aston Martin AMR22.
Krack was impressed “by the efficiency of transmitting the messages” in terms of giving feedback, with Alonso “straight to the point at all times and very friendly and open”.
He shrugged off suggestions that there might be problems between Alonso and the team in the future, saying “I have no indications anything could go in the wrong direction”.
Krack also said that Alonso has immediately shown he can fill the void left by the retiring Sebastian Vettel – particularly in terms of selecting the feedback that matters in terms of driving the team forward.
“[They are] different because they have different backgrounds, one is Latin, one is German,” said Krack when asked about the similarities and differences in working with Alonso compared to Vettel.
“That makes a difference. But what they have in common is the focus, the focus on improving, the focus on making progress and also isolating what makes us progress instead of maybe just being detailed.
“So some similarities, but also some differences.”
Recently-appointed technical director Dan Fallows, who started work with the team in April, believes the quality of feedback Alonso offers is important for the team given Vettel’s departure.
Aston Martin finished only seventh in the constructors’ championship in 2022, albeit only on countback to the best result after ending up level on points with Alfa Romeo, and has ambitions to do considerably better than that next year.
“From a technical perspective, it’s important that we have drivers who are able to give good feedback,” said Fallows. “I don’t say ‘positive feedback’, because that’s not always the case, but good feedback and is able to describe what they are feeling in the car. That is very important for us.
“We are very fortunate in that Lance is very good in that respect as well. So I don’t think by Seb leaving that we were missing anything particularly.
“But we do want to produce a car which is significantly better than next year, we want to see that sort of progression and we need to make sure we have drivers who are able to extract the most out of that.
“In Lance we have a driver who is able to drive the car and clearly Fernando has a huge amount of experience and has a proven track record of doing that as well. So it’s a very exciting driver line-up.”