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Exclusive interview with Robert Doornbos 31 Jan 2007

Robert Doornbos (NED) Red Bull Racing Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain. 26 January 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton

With the Newey-designed RB3 and two veteran drivers out to prove their worth, Red Bull will be one of the teams to watch this season. Robert Doornbos certainly agrees. The Dutchman, who competed in three races for them last season, has just confirmed he will stay on as their reserve driver…

Q: 2007 will see you return as Red Bull’s test and reserve man. Are you a little disappointed that it wasn’t a race seat or are you glad to stay with Red Bull, especially considering the RB3’s potential?
Robert Doornbos:
Yes, for sure it’s good to be back again with the team because we have had some good moments last season…but of course I wouldn’t have said ‘no’ if they would have offered me a race seat! Especially when I saw the new RB3 finished in Barcelona last Friday!

Q: You’ve completed many kilometres in the RB2. At first sight, how does the RB3 differ?
If the car goes as fast as how it looks than Red Bull is up for a great season! Obviously the main difference at first sight is our new aero package which is something completely new and hasn’t been designed before in our Milton Keynes factory. You can see that Adrian Newey is really pushing hard to make a big difference.

Q: For now at least, it seems that the Friday sessions will be the exclusive domain of the race duo. So how and when will you be able to contribute to the development of the team?
I fully understand and respect the team decision to let the race drivers get maximum mileage and I would have asked for the same if I would have been back in the race seat. I’ve gained respect within the team with my testing and racing performances during last season and what I understand is that the team liked to have me in case Mark (Webber) or David (Coulthard) has a problem

Q: How rigid do you think that ‘no-Friday-man’ rule is?
I think every team has to decide for itself what to do, but for sure the advantage data wise is not so big as it has been with running a third car over the past seasons.

Q: Red Bull has one of the ‘oldest’ driver line-ups on the 2007 grid. Did you consider that fact when you signed to the team and how it might affect your future options?
I did notice the fact that Red Bull normally pushes for its young stars but now has quite an ‘experienced’ driver line-up in RBR. But for me this season it’s going to be very important that I race again and I’m very thankful to Red Bull that they understand my needs to get back racing.

Q: Obviously you will have some time available this year. How do you plan to fill that? Will you be racing in the Champ Car series?
Unfortunately this year they couldn’t offer me a race seat, but with my current situation I still have a foot in F1. But it would be good to race in Champ Cars this year as they have some good races in my home country!

Q: In December you tested for the Forsythe Team and, before the Red Bull launch, you were in Sebring testing your former team boss Paul Stoddart’s Panoz DP01. Could a career on both sides of the Atlantic be an option for 2007?
I think it’s an option for sure and if I can get a deal then I’ll be collecting a lot of air miles with all the travelling!

Q: Will Red Bull support you in any possible American endeavours?
Like I said, I’m very thankful to Red Bull as they already told me that they would support my US adventure and that if I could race in the front that the publicity would be good for them and for me.