Spyker rookie Sutil raring to go 29 Jan 2007
In December Adrian Sutil had the best possible Christmas present when he was confirmed as a 2007 Spyker race driver. Since then its been a whirlwind of PR and press activities and visits to the team factory at Silverstone, but the one thing Sutil hasnt done yet is drive the car.
He will get his hands on the teams new machine after the launch on Monday, February 5, and perhaps only then will he really appreciate that hes landed the job hes dreamed about.
Every day its getting better and better, and I go closer to the feeling that I know Im a race driver, he explains, speaking to Spykers official website. Its quite hard during the winter. Suddenly the news came out, and I read that I was a race driver! Once the testing starts everything will come clear in my head, and Ill really believe it.
However, he is not just biding his time and awaiting the new car. Apart from working on his fitness programme with team physio Alex Leizinger, Sutil has been spending a lot of time at the factory, and has thus become a regular commuter from his home in Munich to Heathrow.
I have no girlfriend so I have a lot of time! Especially before the season starts its good to find time to speak to the engineers, and they have more time as well. If you want to change something on the car, thats the time you have to ask.
On Monday this week he was having the second of a series of seat fittings in the cockpit of the new car. Its the first time that hes had a chance to have a real influence on his personal comfort zone while a car is being built. When youre as tall as Sutil is, details are important.
With the seat, everything has to be 100 percent. Then you can go to the first test and you know that you did everything you could during the winter. There are many, many steps with the carbon seat. In F3 you do a simple foam seat, and its quick. Here you need several days to do it properly.
Especially for me, we have to find all the space we can in the car, because Im quite tall at 1m 83cms. The car was quite tight last year. It was still nice to drive, but its even more important when you are racing. So this year for sure I want to have everything like I want it. We can change the pedals to how I like them, for example.
It might not have been fitted to the car, but Sutil has already been working with the 2007 spec steering wheel. Its connected to a computer in the design office, so he can run through all the functions and help to optimise the layout of the switches. The change of engine supplier from Toyota to Ferrari has even had an impact on the steering wheel, because the driver has different parameters to deal with.
Were discussing different modes, the pit limiter, and so on. There are many, many buttons on the wheel, and it can be confusing. Its a good thing to learn it at the factory, because you cant destroy anything on the car! Its fun to do some demo laps. If youre in a race and you have to look at the dashboard and you cant find a button, its a problem. Everything must be very easy to find.
You can say, I want this, and its OK, no problem. You are also so limited in other categories, you get your car and you cant change anything. Its so interesting, and its really, really nice to help build your own car!
Sutil has also been busy getting to know the people he will be working with, especially his race engineer Brad Joyce, who has overseen Tiago Monteiro for the past two seasons. Its crucial that the two men form a good relationship and understand how each other likes to work - and play.
Weve been talking about everything. Its important to get to know each other a little bit better. Its not only a question of racing, but what he likes, what he doesnt like. Then you can work together much easier at the track.
Sutil has also been doing his pre-season homework, studying data from Melbourne and the other early races, and generally immersing himself in everything that is going on at the Spyker base.
Last year I went to all the areas of the factory, and even had a look at the wind tunnel, just to see everything. I thought that maybe Id have only one time in my life to be that close to an F1 team, so I wanted to use the opportunity - I didnt know what my future would be!
Fortunately he now has as much time to look around as he wants