Mike Krack believes the key to convincing four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel to commit his long-term future to Aston Martin is to show him that the team have the potential to soon fight at the sharp end.
Vettel recently signed a new, 'multi-year deal' with Aston Martin, but there has been no official confirmation as to when his terms will expire.
What is clear is that the 34-year-old will remain with the team until at least the end of the 2022 season, as they look to get amongst the leading pack following the sport's massive regulation change.
Krack has conceded that, as a driver who counts 53 race wins, Vettel will not likely be sticking around if the team fail to convince him that race-winning machinery is coming his way.
Aston Martin are keen to see Vettel stay with them as they work through a five-year plan to what they hope will be the top step of the podium.
But during a winter that has seen Max Verstappen put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him with Red Bull until 2028, what do Aston Martin need to do to convince Vettel to commit the next chapter of his own career?
How Aston Martin can convince Vettel to stay
The first test in Barcelona offered little clues as to how good Aston Martin will be during the upcoming season, but next week's test in Bahrain (10-12 March) should offer fans a clearer insight.
The Silverstone-based team, owned by Lawrence Stroll, are certainly keen to show that they are doing all they can to catch the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.
They are currently in the process of building a new state-of-the-art headquarters, factory and wind tunnel – the first all-new factory built by an F1 outfit for nearly two decades.
After appointing Martin Whitmarsh, formerly of McLaren, as CEO back in October, Aston Martin then added Mercedes' chief aerodynamicist, Eric Blandin, to the team before Krack arrived as Team Principal.
And Krack, who worked with Vettel during their time together at BMW Sauber, is well aware that the driver will want to see the team heading in a positive direction if he is to commit to them his long-term future.
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Krack says "clever guy" Vettel will be looking ahead
"I hope that myself [being here] is already enough for him to stay! No, I'm joking," said Krack, as he discussed Vettel's future.
"It's clear that a guy like Sebastian, a four-time World Champion, does not want to be 15th or 12th, or in P8, that's clear.
"It is our task to deliver him a performing car, or let's say a performing structure. Sebastian is a clever guy so he will not be focusing just on this year's car but focusing more on what is happening and if he sees the potential.
"If we can manage to offer this to him, I think we have a chance to keep him for longer.
"To be honest with you, I have not spoken with him about it. This is something that will have to come, obviously."
Will Aston Martin be Vettel's final team?
Now aged 34, Vettel's fine career is fast approaching its final years.
There is still potential for the German to continue racing into is his 40s, with Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso having each shown that such a feat is possible – but the time will one day come for Aston Martin to plan for his replacement.
For now, the main goal is to deliver Vettel with a car that convinces him to prolong both his stay and his career, but the team also know that becoming F1's newest race winners will open the door for Vettel's eventual replacement to be a driver with an equally impressive CV.
Krack added: "It is our task to deliver the right package, then Sebastian will stay and other drivers would like to join."
Video: Aston Martin present their new F1 car!
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