Exclusive Q&A with Spyker's Christijan Albers 26 Feb 2007
'Time to stop talking and get results' says the Dutchman
With two previous incarnations - Jordan and Midland - in as many years, Spykers immediate history has been more than a little eventful. But with the Dutch automaker now firmly ensconced, Mike Gascoyne at the drawing board and a Ferrari engine in the back of the car, race driver Christijan Albers believes 2007 could finally see the team making headlines on the sports - rather than the business - pages
Q: It's your second season with the team, but it will be the first full season under Spykers new management. Last year was difficult, has calm now been restored?
Christijan Albers: Not only is the team calmer, it's also much more motivated. It's really nice to be there at the moment - everyone has always had a lot of motivation to do well, but now there is something extra. We're confident we can improve this year and get some results and, hopefully, some points.
Q: Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne will add valuable experience to the team. Are the effects already tangible? And how involved has he been with the new F8-VII?
CA: It's been good since he came on board, you can already see his influence in lots of ways. He is getting involved in the new development and testing of the new car and so far it's been going well. I have a lot of respect for him - in my eyes he's one of the top three technical guys in F1. Having him here can only be good for Christijan Albers as I can work with him at races and tests to improve myself - I'm really eager to learn from him.
Q: Spyker was the only team not to test before Christmas. Many thought that if any team needs to test then its Spyker - did the decision come as a surprise?
CA: We might not have done a lot of testing compared to the other teams, but when you look at the information we have gained from that short amount of time we have been out, we've really found the performance and speed, perhaps more than any other team. The decision not to test was a team decision and I think it was the right one as Mike and (technical director) James Key have been able to focus on the new car and make sure that it's as good as we can make it. It's a lot of money and effort to run an old engine in a new car so we waited until we had everything ready. We've done a lot of miles so far with this new car and found a lot of gains in a short time.
Q: Has there been progress from the mid-February test in Barcelona to teams most recent session in Valencia?
CA: Yes, for sure. We've found more time, more grip and more performance and hopefully we'll be able to achieve a good finish and be strong in Melbourne. I've got a lot of trust in the car and the team have been doing a good job to get it better.
Q: How has the 2007 car improved from the 06 car?
CA: It's a new package with the new Ferrari engine, which is already very strong. It's a new design philosophy too. So far it's better in many ways than the 06 car; it's much more consistent.
Q: Can you realistically expect to score points this year?
CA: It's always difficult to say how you'll do, but points are certainly the aim. We have to try and achieve points - there's no discussion that this is our goal.
Q: What are your aims for 2007?
CA: As before, the goal is to score points a few times and get some results - that's normal. I have to do this, it's my job, there's nothing more to say about it. It's time to stop talking and get some results and points.