Interview with Super Aguris Daniel Audetto 30 Mar 2007
2006 backmarkers Super Aguri stunned the field in Melbourne when both their cars made it into the second phase of qualifying and Takuma Sato progressed into the top-ten shootout. Anthony Davidsons third place in testing at Sepang on Friday suggests their pace was no fluke - no wonder Managing Director Daniel Audetto is feeling optimistic
Q: The 2007 season is underway and the team appears to have made significant progress during the winter period. What was the teams reaction to its performance in Melbourne?
Daniel Audetto: We were positively surprised! Our good, hard work completed during the winter testing, our better knowledge of the Bridgestone Potenza tyres and the addition of Anthony Davidson to the team has paid off. It goes without saying that Takuma showed a strong performance during the Australian race weekend too.
Q: How much pressure is there to repeat the performance attained in Australian qualifying? Will you be disappointed if you only make it as far as Q2?
DA: We know that a couple of the top teams had a few problems during the qualifying sessions in Australia, so we believe that our grid positions were not an indication of our true performance. However, we are very happy that we made it for the first time into Q2 with both drivers and then into Q3 with Takuma, but to be in the top 15 in Malaysia after qualifying would be great.
Q: This week saw the first ever test of the SA07. How did it go?
DA: Anthony is still suffering a little from his accident with Sutil in Australia, but all-in-all we have completed a normal routine job: tyre comparisons, aero evaluation and assessing different set-ups. More importantly, the drivers and team out in Sepang have been able to get used to the hot, humid weather ahead of the race weekend.
Q: What are your expectations for the teams performance in Malaysia next week?
DA: Well do our best, as ever. Now that all of the cars on the grid are so reliable it makes scoring points more and more difficult, but we shall try!
Q: Which teams do you believe will challenge for the championship this year?
DA: I think that they will be more or less the same as those who challenged in 2006. It will be Ferrari, McLaren and Renault, but I also think that we shall be surprised by BMW and Honda.
Q: Are you under less pressure than those teams at the sharp end, those vying for the championship?
DA: The pressure is the same, whether it is to win the championship or finish within the top 10. To finish the season in the top 10 would make a big difference to us. According to the Concorde Agreement you have to finish in the top 10 to receive championship income, therefore as the 11th team we are under a lot of pressure. Super Aguri F1 is a small team that has to work to a tight budget and with capped technical resources. However, we have entered this season much better prepared than we were in 2006 and finishing within the top 10 would make a huge difference to us - in monetary terms and also in prestige.