Aston Martin's new team boss, Mike Krack, has absolved Sebastian Vettel of underperforming in Australia, after the four-time World Champion endured a hugely dramatic weekend of incidents and accidents.
Vettel's return to F1, after missing the first two Grands Prix due to testing positive for COVID-19, was initially impacted by an engine issue on Friday, forcing him to miss most of the opening practice sessions.
This was followed by Vettel crashing the car in FP3, with the team managing to rebuild it just in time to get him out for a solitary lap in Q1 – a lap that wasn't good enough to progress through to Q2.
Starting the race from 17th, Vettel then made an early error as he slid off the track and into the gravel, before crashing out on Lap 25 of 58 as he lost control of the AMR22 riding the kerbs exiting Turn 4.
The crash resulted in Vettel requiring a trip to the Medical Centre for precautionary checks.
Aston Martin boss explains Vettel's tough weekend
"I think we really take something away from it," Krack told media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked whether Vettel's return had been beneficial for himself or the team in general.
I'm happy that Seb is fine after all these incidents, but I think, if
someone like him, a four-time World Champion, has the issues that he was
having this weekend – this is not down to not driving, because he has
driven the car.
"We need to really look at what the car is providing him, what feedback he gets from the car. Him being off so much as he has been this weekend is not normal."
Krack added that he has every confidence in Vettel, and vowed that Aston Martin would figure out how to give their champion driver better equipment to work with.
"I do not think that this is related to having two missed races," Krack commented.
"I mean, he has been a multiple winner in Melbourne. He knows where he is here, he has had some tests with the car.
"I think it [would] be really easy to say he was not there for two weekends. [With] a driver of that class, we really need to check what tools we are giving him."
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Why are Aston Martin struggling?
After three races in 2022, Aston Martin are the only team yet to score a point.
It's been a disastrous start to F1's new era for the outfit, and indicates a further slide from an operation that was capable of podiums and even a victory as Racing Point in 2020.
Krack said the main issue with the AMR22 is linked to its aerodynamics.
"In Formula 1, if you're not performing, it's normally quite easy to identify the reasons why teams are performing and others are not, aligning with aerodynamics and car weight at the moment," he said.
"While we've made progress on the weight side, we have struggled on aerodynamics.
"This is something we need to really focus on. I don't want to go into the complete detail, but the reasons for the performance are normally in that area, and for us, it's the same – everything becomes much more difficult.
"The better aero you have, the easier everything gets. The drivers are happy, the results are a bit better, so everything gets easier. And, if not, you put everything in doubt."
Video: Aston Martin present their new F1 car!
Check out Aston Martin's new F1 challenger, the AMR22, which was presented to the world during a special launch ceremony.