Q&A with Spykers Mike Gascoyne 03 Apr 2007
With a new aerodynamic upgrade scheduled to be introduced this weekend in Malaysia, Spykers chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne is feeling confident that the Dutch teams results are set to improve. Here, Gascoyne reviews last months Australian Grand Prix and discusses the team's preparations for Sundays race
Q: A new aero upgrade in Malaysia - a good development for the team
Mike Gascoyne: We have made substantial modifications to the bodywork which should see a big step forward. Aerolab have extensively tested the parts and our second wind tunnel facility in the UK has validated the developments, so Im pretty sure of the increase its going to give.
Q: No testing before the race though, does this put an extra emphasis on the two Friday practice sessions?
MG: The extra track time we now have available on a Friday will be useful to test the parts in representative race conditions, but the time is perhaps more important for the drivers than for us to test the parts. Were not running our test drivers in the sessions so both Adrian (Sutil) and Christijan (Albers) can get as much experience of the updates and track time as possible. For Adrian in particular, the extra sessions will be useful as he has never driven this track before.
Q: Sutil had an eventful race debut in Australia, but his performance over the whole weekend was quite encouraging...
MG: Adrian did make a couple of rookie errors, but generally it was a good race weekend performance. I think he has now got all his debut mistakes out of the way. When he was running on his own he was reasonably competitive with the group in front. Someone summed it up perfectly when they said luckily you only do your first race once!
Q: Albers had quite a challenging race too, but the overall pace in the laps he did was promising
MG: Christijan had some mechanical issues and was not 100 percent comfortable in his race car so we switched to the spare car. He then made a mistake and missed his braking point because his ear piece had come out and distracted him - it was one of those things. This time out hell be back in the same car he used in the race and Im sure hell be eager to do better in Malaysia than Australia.
Q: Despite the problems was it a good weekend overall?
MG: Im never happy if we dont get both cars to the finish, and Im never happy if we finish last, but there were a lot of positives. The boys worked exceptionally well, and the car is reliable. We just need to make it quicker, and well be quicker next race.
Q: How was it working with Ferrari at a race weekend for the first time?
MG: Very good, there were absolutely no issues at all. They are very helpful in terms of the engine, and weve had quite a lot of support from the Ferrari management in giving us advice on various matters.
Q: Finally, how was it for you personally being back in the thick of things after nearly a year away?
MG: Eleven months on! Toyota finished on the podium last time, and it was always unlikely that we were going to repeat that performance. I enjoyed it, and it was nice to be working with the guys on the pit wall. I think it was a bit of a rev-up for them, as I was encouraging them to encourage their drivers! Now Im just looking forward to the next one.