Q&A with Spyker's Kolles and Gascoyne 16 Oct 2007
With their maiden championship point from September's rainy Japanese Grand Prix now confirmed, Spyker are looking to the future. Ahead of the final race of the season this weekend, team principal Colin Kolles and chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne discuss the squad's performance this year and reveal their hopes for an even brighter 2008
Q: Colin, we are now at the end of the Spyker's first season in Formula One racing. How would you review the year?
Colin Kolles: If you look at the year as a whole, it has not been easy. We have had many challenges and tests, but I think we can be proud of how far we have come and what we have achieved. We said this would be a year to stabilise the team, set new standards and procedures and really put down the foundations to let the team move forward over the coming seasons. I think we have achieved all of these aims. The technical team is now working very well together and we are seeing the rewards of the investments in the B-spec. I hope next year with increased resources we will be able to really challenge.
Q: The team's first point is now confirmed too. Does this exceed your expectations for the year?
CK: We set out to get a point this year and we did, but now we need to do this on track so we can celebrate properly! I was delighted to hear the point was confirmed, Adrian (Sutil) did a brilliant job to get from the back of the field and although we did not know about the point until well after the race, he thoroughly deserved a good result after such a tough race.
Q: The ownership of the team has also changed hands again, this is a positive move for the team?
CK: We still have one owner who is the same! Michiel Mol remains with the team as he and Vijay Mallya have 50 percent each. It's very encouraging to see Michiel and his family stay for further seasons as he has been a big figure in the team and we're very appreciative of his continued support. Together with Vijay I think we can look forward to a new stability that will help the team find its former glory again.
Q: In the final race of the year what would you like to see from the team?
CK: Well I know what would be a dream result, but we have to be realistic. We need to have a strong finish with both cars to get as much data as possible for next year. If we finish in the points it would be a good result for the winter, but let's see what the conditions are like, where we qualify and what is possible on Sunday.
Q: Mike, we are now nearing the end of your first season as chief technical officer. Has this season met your expectations?
Mike Gascoyne: It has obviously been a very difficult season. We've been compromised on the development of new parts by financial circumstances, some of the development such as the wind tunnel has taken much longer than we expected to get up and running, but we have ended the season on a high, with the B-spec car scoring its first point and new owners who are very committed to moving the team forward. It's a big well done to the team for all their hard work after a difficult year. I hope we can now look forward to an improved season next year.
Q: As you have said before, the B-spec F8-VII is the starting point for next season's car. Is this a solid basis to build on?
MG: I think we have made a good step forward with the B-spec. We knew it was never going to be enough to take us to the top, but we now have a lot more resources to put into development, particularly into aerodynamics. We have shown very clearly that we know what we are doing and when we put parts on the car, they improve performance as expected. Over the winter we can now get our heads down and get on with this development and by the middle of next year, I think we can expect to be truly competitive.
Q: Is the new wind tunnel part of this programme of development?
MG: The wind tunnel programme started last week in Brackley. It's several months later than we would have hoped for, however with Aerolab working alongside our own tunnel, we will have significantly more resources than we have had in the past. With the introduction of the B-spec, we have shown we know how to move the car forward and with these new increased resources I think we can be very confident about the future.
Q: What do you expect in the final race in Brazil?
MG: I think we will run lower levels of downforce in Interlagos due to the series of main straights and in general every time we have run the car in lower downforce trim we seem to be more competitive. Sakon (Yamamoto) was very good in Brazil last year, it's a track he knows and likes, and although it's a new track for Adrian, we should look to finish the season with a good, competitive race.