Exclusive interview - Spyker's Adrian Sutil 05 Jan 2007
McLaren and Ferrari will have to wait says Spyker newcomer
Confirmation that Adrian Sutil had landed the second Spyker race seat surprised many in the paddock. While few doubted Sutils driving talents, many had expected the fledgling team to rely on a pay driver for 2007. But with technical director Mike Gascoyne on board and a contract with Ferrari for engines in place, Sutils signing is further proof that Spyker are thinking long term. And the 23 year-old German is just itching to get started
Q: Spykers team principal Colin Kolles has always been a vocal supporter of your driving talents, but the timing of your signing came as a surprise to many. What do you think turned the decision in your favour?
Adrian Sutil: Colin tried always to be helpful in my career. I thought it would be a test-driver contract for 2007 and my manager Manfred Zimmermann did not tell me anything until the point he fixed the deal. I am sure he and Colin had some hot negotiations.
Q: The talk is about a long-term contract. How long?
AS: Im sure you understand that I am not allowed to talk about the terms of the contract. But it is true that we signed for a longer term. So McLaren and Ferrari will have to wait for me I am joking!
Q: Michiel Mol, Spykers Formula One director, said that the teams 2007 budget has been gleaned from a combination of television, sponsorship and driver money. This suggests that you have added value to the team beyond your driving abilities
AS: I do have a driver contract with Spyker and they signed me because they believe in my talent. Since I had my three Fridays with Spyker we talked and the team wanted me to become one of their race drivers. Thats it. We are not able to give millions to Spyker. But for sure the German market is of great interest for Spyker and my manager does have very good contacts. So lets see what we are able to do together.
Q: How does it feel to finally get the chance to be one of the 22 Formula One race drivers?
AS: Great, really great. But I am sure when I am on the grid for the first time in Melbourne and the red lights go off, I will realize that I did it. I can't wait for that moment.
Q: Your former Formula Three team mate Lewis Hamilton has said you will give your fellow Spyker driver Christijan Albers a run for his money in 2007. Does that create pressure?
AS: No, not at all. Lewis is a great and incredibly fast guy, we are still in contact. We learned a lot from each other and pushed real hard when we were team mates at ASM. Christijan Albers is a nice and fast guy and does have a lot of experience in F1. I do have to learn a lot. I have only had around 1500 kilometres in an F1 car and do not know most of the circuits. But to be honest, every driver wants to beat his team mate. If I wasn't convinced of that, I shouldnt be in Formula One. But I know I need time to learn.
Q: The team did not participate in the pre-Christmas tests and have also announced they will miss the January sessions too. When will we see you take to the track? You hinted that it could be in Valencia at the end of the month? If so, will you drive the new car?
AS: It looks as if it will be in Silverstone at the beginning of February, already with the new car I hope.
Q: One of the most important things must be for you to get to know the team. Are you a regular visitor to the factory at the moment?
AS: I know them from my Friday tests, but youre right, during the next few weeks I will be at the Spyker factory very often and I will try to learn as much as possible. I am very interested in what is happening there.
Q: The hiring of Mike Gascoyne and the engine contract with Ferrari have undoubtedly boosted the teams prospects. What are your expectations for the season ahead?
AS: Yeah, it looks if everything is going in the right direction. Mike Gascoyne is great for Spyker and Ferrari engines will help. So the package seems to be very good. Lets see whats possible.
Q: You will turn 24 on January 11. What will be your birthday wish?
AS: To have a good first qualifying, finishing the first race, having good fights and making no mistakes. Just doing a good job so that people say he is a good one and deserved the Spyker cockpit!