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Q&A with Spyker’s Christijan Albers 26 Mar 2007

Christijan Albers (NED) Spyker.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 15 March 2007

Dutchman hoping for change of luck in Malaysia

Christijan Albers had a difficult opening to 2007 in Australia as he didn’t feel at one with his race car through Friday and Saturday. Under parc-ferme rules the team could not change the set-up for Sunday, so instead opted to start the T-car from the pitlane, which allowed them to make changes. Unfortunately, after this change, Albers’ race ended early when he slid into the gravel after his radio earplug came loose, got trapped in the seatbelts, and created a major distraction - a new but very genuine addition to the racing driver’s book of excuses!

Q: What’s your overall feeling on the Australian Grand Prix weekend?
Christijan Albers:
It was quite a frustrating weekend for me. I just have to stay relaxed and find out what the problem is. It’s not easy for us, but we are pushing really hard and we’ll see how it goes in Malaysia. We’ve already found some things where we could improve and it’s just me that has to get used to everything. It’s a different driving style from last year with these new tyres, and we didn’t have that much testing. I think the others are maybe adapting a little bit quicker to them.

Q: Why did you and the team decide to switch to the T-car before the start?
CA:
I just didn’t feel right still with my race car. It was really difficult to find something, and we decided to go to the T-car. At least when I started in the T-car I had a better feeling. So we have to look into the data and analyse what was going on.

Q: Were you surprised that the car got all the way across the gravel into the tyre wall like that?
CA:
No, because I was 30 metres too late on the braking! When the radio came loose I was looking down, so was a little bit too late…’

Q: Up to then did you feel some potential in the car?
CA:
If you look at the race the laps I did I was doing reasonable lap times, until I went off. So there’s a lot of potential in it. I just had a lot of bad luck through the weekend, and I have to get rid of it! I prefer to have the bad luck at the first race than the last race.

Q: This was chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne’s first race weekend with the team. Did the presence of someone who’s been in top teams make a difference - for example in the way the race weekend was run?
CA:
Yeah, for sure. Everybody needs to find his way, and I think Mike is finding his way quite quickly and easily. Now it’s only a question of Christijan Albers feeling comfortable again, and getting a reasonable set-up where he can perform again. Everything has to come together, and then when that is done you can get comfortable again. And if you get comfortable, you’re quick.