Mike Krack feels Aston Martin faces a “worst-case” scenario across the Belgian Grand Prix F1 weekend as it introduces the latest upgrades onto its AMR23.
The cars driven by Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll will sport changes to the floor and rear wing as the team attempts to claw its way out of the problem it has created for itself after failing to ‘make the right choices' with its development direction.
The problem for Aston Martin, however, is the fact this weekend at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit includes the third of the six sprint events, whilst there is also the added complication of the weather, with rain forecast on all three track days.
In terms of validating the new parts, and given the difficulties posed by the weekend, team principal Krack said: “That is obviously a big challenge. Sprint and rain for learning your car, is probably the worst case.
“But what options do we have? We cannot say we don't come to Spa, so we take the car as it is. We will put the parts on that we have, and we will try to do our best.”
Krack has confirmed the new rear wing is “more lower downforce-specific” rather than track specific
“This weekend will be mainly about getting it right in these conditions, with the sprint, not making mistakes,” added Krack.
“The drivers will have a hell of a task, with probably changing conditions, changing lap by lap, so I think it will be a proper challenge this weekend, but we look forward to it.”
The team made a stunning start to the season following the development path taken over the winter, emerging with the second-quickest car behind Red Bull, allowing Alonso to score five podiums (four thirds and a runner-up) in the opening six races.
After taking a step back in the Spanish Grand Prix as the team delayed updates, an upgrade package for the following race in Canada resulted in Alonso again finishing second.
But the parts flattered to deceive that day, since when the results have tailed off dramatically , with Alonso finishing fifth, seventh and ninth in Austria, Britain and Hungary respectively, whilst Stroll has taken the chequered flag in ninth, 14th and 10th.
“Other teams have caught up and brought performance to their car which we didn't match,” said Krack. “So and that is the main reason why we fell back.”
Despite the massive strides taken over the winter, Krack concedes the cars “are super complicated” to develop.
“It is not just about adding downforce,” said. “The (car's) characteristics, you have the porpoising effect, floor loading and stuff like that.
“I think it has become very, very complex to improve the performance, and it's not just a downforce offset, there are also a lot of balance issues.
“So we will try to improve the car further, to understand these limitations, to work on them, and try to bring parts and upgrades for the next races that fix them.”