Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack says the side has been undertaking “crazy hours” in an attempt to recover the ground it has lost compared to the start of the year.
The Silverstone-based side began the season as the surprise package, registering six podium finishes in the opening eight races with winter addition Fernando Alonso behind the wheel of its AMR23 car.
However, neither Aston Martin driver has been classified inside the top three since the Canadian Grand Prix in June, with Krack attributing “side effects” from recent upgrades for its downturn in form.
But Alonso was able to recover from a crash in the Saturday Sprint Race in Belgium to finish fifth in Sunday’s race – his best result since taking second in Montreal – prompting Krack to admit Aston Martin “looked a bit more competitive than recently”.
When asked to explain Aston Martin’s improved showing, Krack said: “I think as I said Thursday we have really done 24/7 analysis trying to understand and trying to do something about it.
“Obviously in the short time between Budapest and here there’s not so much you could do, but great credit that we managed to do something, everybody was really flat out, and yesterday after the offs to prepare the parts again, that allows us to look at this and try to improve the car for the next race.”
Krack believes the result was important for maintaining morale within the team’s ranks, but underlines that further improvement is needed to challenge for the podium again.
“This is very important, for everybody involved, they have put crazy hours over the last weeks and it is important to realise hard work pays otherwise you get disillusioned and it becomes more and more difficult,” he explained.
“It’s very positive for the team that you see with working hard together we can improve the car but this was only the first step, yeah, we were still not anywhere near a podium finish so there is much more we need.”
Aston Martin’s recent slump has seen it drop 51 points behind Mercedes in the battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship.
With the British marque only five points above Ferrari, Krack has stressed the importance of developing a package that is strong at every circuit on the calendar.
“Yeah if we want to play a role in the championship you have to be strong everywhere, you cannot say we just go for that track or that track, Zandvoort and Monza are very different, Singapore and Japan are also very different, so you need to perform well on all four of the next four and you need to have a package ready that allows you to go more on the low drag to high efficiency to high downforce, the car has to behave well everywhere and this has to be the basics, then you will do your wings to adjust to the certain tracks.”
Having emerged as Red Bull’s closest competitor at the beginning of the campaign, Krack insists it is possible that a rival team can catch the reigning World Champions.
The Austrian outfit has won all 12 races to be held this season, despite contending with the lowest allocation of aerodynamic testing time of any team on the grid.
“We will try,” Krack said when asked if anybody can match Red Bull’s current level over the next year.
“I think it shows that with less wind tunnel time it is possible. Everybody has to look at himself and put processes correctly in place to do as good a job or maybe even better than they do.”