Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack has downplayed Fernando Alonso’s comment that his AMR23 car was “undrivable” during Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.
After Alonso placed the team on the podium rostrum for the seventh time this year in Zandvoort, Aston Martin struggled profusely with aerodynamic efficiency at Monza.
The Silverstone squad were optimistic of a more competitive showing on the high-downforce Marina Bay Circuit, but Aston Martin ended up empty-handed.
Alonso, who was the only Aston Martin driver in the race after Lance Stroll’s qualifying crash, picked up a five-second time penalty for crossing the pit-lane entry line, endured a slow second pit stop, and then headed down the escape road at Turn 14 to compound his misery en route to classifying last.
“I think we all expected a strong weekend in Singapore, it was not the case,” Alonso reflected.
“We didn’t have the pace that we were hoping for. Too many things [went wrong]: a mistake going into the pit lane, a sloppy stop, traffic all in one race. So a race to forget.”
Krack added: “We thought we had a good rhythm. I think we knew upfront that it would be difficult to go with the front guys. So I think on the Medium, everything ran pretty solid. Then after the Safety Car we fitted the hard tyres, and we struggled a bit more, we need to understand why.
“To a point where we said when the Virtual [Safety Car] came we were not sure that we could go the full distance with a decent level of performance.
“And we decided to change, and then the sequence of events, the penalty, the pitstop went wrong, and then we came out in a really bad position, and that was it at the end.”
At one stage in Sunday’s race, Alonso branded his car as “undrivable”.
“We need to look at it because the car was very difficult to drive, very little rear end from the car,” Alonso expanded.
“We killed the tyres very quickly after the pit stop, so it was a tough race. We need to look at the details, obviously we don’t have the answers yet, but we need to get better for Japan.”
Krack has played down the significance of Alonso’s radio outburst, adding that it’s Aston Martin’s role to ensure the team delivers a car that matches up to his expectations.
“As a team, we need to acknowledge if a driver is critical,” he explained when asked about Alonso’s radio message.
“Obviously there is not the performance that he’s expecting, and that he’s used to, and then I think it’s okay. We want them to give everything, and then it’s normal that also sportsmen react like that. So it’s not a problem.”
Despite Alonso admitting on Friday the likes of Ferrari were “out of reach”, the Spaniard had turned in an eye-catching long run.
Krack has urged the British marque to “really understand what happened” regarding its failure to translate that encouraging practice pace when it counted into Sunday’s race.
The Aston Martin team boss also confirmed that the two-time World Champion was nursing damage on his car, having lost a suspension fairing early in proceedings.
“We also have a little bit of damage on the car that we need to understand, how much it did,” Krack revealed. “We had an issue on one of the suspension fairings, an aero part. We saw it on the pitstop, and we saw it in the pictures.
“We had three different specs of tyres. And Singapore is also somewhere where you run close in traffic all the time, which is affecting always a lot and you don’t know how much are others saving, how much are people managing? So this is one of the most difficult races always to understand.”
Alonso’s failure to pick up any points marked Aston Martin’s first scoreless weekend of the year, witnessing the team lose ground to both Mercedes and Ferrari in the standings.
However, Krack is determined not to dwell on the result ahead of this weekend’s race.
“We have also had a couple of good ones,” he argued. “I think over a season with 23 races, and generally in sports you have ups and downs that’s normal.
“So we have to learn our lessons from this weekend, take the positives and move to Japan as quick as possible.”