Q&A with Spykers Albers and Sutil 05 Feb 2007
Now in his third season of Formula One racing, Christijan Albers will pair up with new face Adrian Sutil at Spyker for 2007. As the teams new car is launched at Silverstone, the pair contemplates the season ahead - and their first impressions of each other
Q: Christijan, youre staying with the team for a second season this year. What were the aspects that made you want to stay?
Christijan Albers: I really liked the team, they are a lot of fun and I enjoyed last year, and I was pleased with the new Spyker team coming on board. Its given everyone a real push to stay and keep developing their different areas to bring the team to the top of the game. We all want to get to the front and everyone is motivated to get there. This year we know we have to focus on getting results and a better car throughout the season, but by signing Mike Gascoyne and Ferrari as engine supplier we have shown we are really serious about this.
Q: Mike Gascoyne has a very good reputation within Formula One racing. How excited are you to be working with him?
CA: Im really excited to be working with him. Hes been in the business for a very long time and has worked in a lot of teams and manufacturers and his experience will be a great help. Personally, Im interested in seeing how he works and learning from him.
Q: How much work have you been doing with the team over the winter for this season?
CA: As a driver you need to help with the development of the car and work with the people in the factory to get the results the team needs. I have worked closely with the team to give the most accurate feedback I could and help with the direction of the new car. I have tried to say from a drivers perspective what needs to change and what could be better and why the areas need to be improved.
Q: Last year you got closer and closer to the mid-field, and there was a real optimism that things had turned around. Are you confident you can pick up where you left off?
CA: Our aim this year is to be up there with the middle part of the grid and get some points. We want to be as competitive as possible, but we also have to be realistic about what we can achieve. Last year was obviously frustrating as we didnt score any points, but we want to get the most out of the car and be clever about it; but the biggest step will come mid-season.
Q: As a Dutchman, what does it mean to you to be driving a Dutch-owned car in Formula One racing?
CA: Its the best feeling - everybody has been so positive about it and so supportive, its really been phenomenal!
Q: You have a new team mate this year - how has your relationship been developing?
CA: Adrian is a good driver and he will be quick this year, but as a driver you should always be pushing to the limits without thinking what the guy in the car next to you is doing. But Adrian will be a good team-mate and it looks as though hes going to be a big talent. The team has made a good choice. First of all we both have to fight to make the car better and then well see where we are, but you can guarantee that well both be giving it 100 percent.
Q: Adrian, you are now a full-time Formula One driver. It must be exciting, but also nerve-racking - how have you been preparing for your first season?
Adrian Sutil: Im really happy to be making my debut so Im not nervous at all. Physically, I have been training very hard, helped a lot by my trainer Alex. I have been out running and cycling every day and in late January I also went for four days warm weather training in Majorca - it was tough with five to six hours or exercise a day, but you have to be fit to do F1 so I dont mind, especially if it makes me more prepared for the first race.
Q: Have you been spending much time at the Spyker base in Silverstone getting to know your team and your engineer?
AS: I already knew the team a little last year, its all quite cool and Brad Joyce, my engineer, is a good guy. I think well work well together. Ive come to the factory quite a lot as there is so much to learn there. There is so much to see and pick up and at the factory you can see how everything works and fits together in the team. Its very important for me to learn about the technical aspects of the car as it makes you a stronger driver.
Q: Youre part of a new wave of young drivers on the grid this year. Some youve raced against before - how well do you know them?
AS: Young drivers are obviously the future of the sport and its exciting to be part of that new group of drivers coming in now. I knew some drivers, like Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen, quite well as Ive raced against them before. Its difficult to say how well we will all do now were in F1 together as so much depends on the car. If you look at the stats over a race year, you tend to see that drivers hold their grid positions in the race, so if your car is slower you will stay at the back. Of course weve never all raced together in F1 so I cant say how it will turn out, but I do know what I can do. Well just have to wait and see in future to see which teams improve.
Q: You have moved straight from F3 to Formula One racing. How big a jump will that be?
AS: It will be difficult for sure as the difference is quite big, but Im not completely new as I did three Friday sessions last year and some testing too. Once youve got the feeling and you know how to drive the car, its a case of looking to build up the miles as a driver. It helps now that I am completely focused on F1 and am not doing any other championships like last year so I hope to be well-prepared - from the middle of the season you should be able to see what I can do.
Q: Your team mate Christijan Albers is a quick, experienced driver, do you think your respective talents will benefit each other?
AS: Christijan is a very good driver and we get on well together, so I think the partnership will be beneficial to both of us. Hes quick so I will have to work hard, but I hope I can push him too.
Q: Which circuits are you looking forward to this year? How much experience do you have on some of them?
AS: I know some of the circuits, particularly Fuji as I raced there several times already and I like it very much. I also know Spa and the Nurburgring and Im particularly looking forward to Monte Carlo too as I hold the lap record there in F3. Its always a special track for drivers, but this one is very special for me.