How F1 teams use media to further political agendas ‘surprises’ Aston Martin boss

Aston Martin's Mike Krack at the pit wall. Bahrain. March 2022. Credit: Alamy
Aston Martin's Mike Krack at the pit wall. Bahrain. March 2022. Credit: Alamy

Returning to the F1 grid after 14 years out, Mike Krack was “surprised” at how the Formula 1 teams use the media to “do politics”.

Ticking off his first season as Aston Martin’s team boss, and F1’s first under a brand new set of technical regulations, Krack has experienced Formula 1’s politics both on and off the track.

While the on-track politics in 2022 related largely to porpoising, some teams calling for the FIA to intervene and others feeling it was up to the teams to resolve their own issues, the off-track was all about the budget cap.

Not only those exceeding it, but those demanding more leeway.

While Red Bull, along with others, called for the FIA to increase the cap in light of an unforeseen rise in inflation, others, such as Fred Vasseur, believed the teams should “switch off the wind tunnels” to keep costs down.

After weeks of complaints, the teams sat down with the FIA and agreed a 3.1% increase. Apparently unanimously. And yet some still went to the media to complain.

Speaking to Sport 1, Krack said: “I admit, I was surprised by the small details reported in Formula 1. And how the media is often used to do politics.

“A team boss ran to the media immediately afterwards and lamented that the increase wasn’t high enough.”

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He added: “I’d rather talk about the sport instead. The fans are interested in lap times, less in budgets or underbodies that are too flexible.

“But maybe I’m not enough of a politician.

“One thing is certain: you shouldn’t overestimate all of this and always have to keep calm.”

Who complained about the increase not being enough?

That was Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Prior to the teams sitting down with the FIA, the Briton warned that as many as “seven of the teams would probably need to miss the last four races” unless the cap was increased.

He, and it must be said other team bosses too, got their way with motorsport’s governing body announcing they’d be allowed to spend 3.1 percent more.

Horner still wasn’t happy, telling Autosport: “Is it enough? Not compared to inflation, and what it is today.

“It’s not enough for us, and it’s too much for the little ones. So it’s a compromise, and a consensus was found in the end.”

But complaining, and using the media to do so, is nothing new in Formula 1. Teams have been speaking, could one say out of turn?, for decades and it is not something that’s likely to end.

At the end of the day the teams are all in it for themselves, they’re are here to win. As Toto Wolff put it: “It’s about protecting your own team.

“I think we all do that, trying to stay ahead or protect ourselves or, in a way, understand where [team] policy is going. I think it’s quite normal.”

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