Aston Martin reveal extent of Mercedes Ferrari battle
By Ian Parkes
Saturday 22nd April, 2023 - 4:24pm
Mike Krack feels it is too close to call between Aston Martin, Mercedes, and Ferrari following the opening three races of the F1 season.
Aston Martin has surprised everyone throughout the sport with its sudden emergence as a frontrunner after last year managing only seventh position in the constructors’ championship.
Following his winter move from Alpine, Fernando Alonso has so far proven a revelation with a trio of third-place finishes, whilst team-mate Lance Stroll has performed wonders after breaking both wrists in a pre-season training accident.
The Silverstone-based team has taken advantage of Mercedes’ struggle to get to grips with its W14, although there were signs of improvement at the last race in Australia.
As for Ferrari, the SF-23 has so far encountered tyre issues during a grand prix that affects its race pace, in stark contrast to its relatively strong qualifying form.
With the trio of teams fighting for the ‘best-of-the-rest’ tag behind runaway leaders Red Bull at this early stage of the campaign, Aston Martin team principal Krack said: “Everything is very, very close.
“You have this big midfield where everyone is basically within one, two, three-tenths (of a second). The situation with Ferrari and Mercedes is a bit the same.
“Depending on the circuit, on its layout, one team has the upper hand, then maybe it’s different somewhere else.”
Pertinently, however, Krack added: “What is clear is that Red Bull is fastest.”
Fine margins for Aston Martin
Mercedes certainly came out of its shell at Melbourne’s Albert Park, where Ferrari suffered a day to forget.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton started from second and third on the grid as their car appeared more settled.
Russell even led the opening laps after passing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the run to Turn 1, only to retire at the start of lap 19 with a power unit failure which has since been diagnosed. Hamilton at least salvaged second behind his Dutch rival.
Ferrari’s day started and finished badly as Charles Leclerc was involved in a lap-one incident with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll from which he was unable to recover.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, was on course for fourth until penalised five seconds late on for causing a collision with Alonso. Ferrari’s attempt to have the punishment reviewed was ultimately rejected.
After three races, the picture is constantly changing for Krack, who said: “I did say we would need to wait a couple of races. You cannot say after one race we are here, we are there.
“You need more data samples to really understand where you are.
“We saw in Bahrain we were very competitive against many. In Jeddah (Saudi Arabian GP), it was okay, and in Australia, we had a proper fight.
“All in all, if you take all the data together and you look at where you really are, you will find that the margins are very, very close.”
Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section
Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]