Aston Martin ‘nervous’ for Baku sprint
By Ian Parkes
Sunday 23rd April, 2023 - 10:48pm
Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack has declared himself “nervous” going into next weekend’s sprint ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The shortened race makes its debut around Baku’s city streets where accidents have been common over the years since the event made its debut on the F1 calendar in 2017.
Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll can testify to that after he suffered a tyre failure – along with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – during the 2021 grand prix that catapulted him into a wall, causing major damage.
Looking ahead to the prospect of a sprint race around a street circuit, Krack said: “I’m nervous about a sprint in Baku because you just don’t have enough time to repair if you have major damage.
“Straight after the sprint, you have to put the covers on, and then in the morning, you have only three or four hours to repair your car if it’s heavily damaged, so there is a high risk with that exercise.
“But again, it’s the same for everybody, and it is not so difficult to overtake at Baku. If you take risks in the more cornering parts, then there is a higher risk (of an accident).
“But I think it will be a good show over the weekend.”
Proposed sprint changes part of F1 evolution
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend is set to be further spiced up by the addition of two qualifying sessions.
The plan is Friday’s traditional qualifying run will set the grid for Sunday’s grand prix. On Saturday, second practice will be ditched in favour of a shorter qualifying programme that will form the line-up for the sprint.
After the F1 team principals agreed to the changes on Sunday ahead of the recent Australian Grand Prix, the F1 Commission is due to vote through the proposals on Tuesday, followed swiftly by the World Motor Sport Council in time for the Baku weekend.
“In general, F1 has to evolve, but also it has to keep its DNA,” said Krack, with regard to the plans.
“There were some constructive discussions on how to achieve that.
“You have to also understand all the stakeholders’ interests, which we do.
“But then also we have a very tight timeline now, with regulations, with tyre availability, with engine mileage and all that.
“All these points, you have to factor in and try to find a sensible compromise.
“At one point, you also have to put the interests of a single team on the side and look at the big picture.
“From that point of view, I think there were very constructive discussions.”
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