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Q&A with Spyker’s Mike Gascoyne 19 Apr 2007

Mike Gascoyne (GBR) Spyker Chief Technical Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Spyker’s 14th and 15th places in Bahrain formed the team’s first double finish of the season - not ideal perhaps, but not bad considering they missed the pre-season test at Sakhir. With a new wind tunnel about to come on line and the debut of their B-spec car being brought forward, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne is certainly keeping his chin up…

Q: You got two cars to the finish on a day when your main opposition teams like Toro Rosso and Super Aguri hit trouble. Is that the positive you can take away from Bahrain?
Mike Gascoyne:
I think that sums it up. I’ve never worked so hard for 14th and 15th, but it’s a start. The management are happy, the sponsors are happy, and we’ve got a lot of data. Barcelona will be better for us because of it.

Q: Why did it take so long to repair Adrian Sutil’s car?
MG:
Obviously Adrian couldn’t do much to avoid the shunt in front of him, and lost his front wing. It wouldn’t have been a problem with the safety car being out, but it bent the nosepins, so we had to take them out and out new ones in, which put us a few laps down. He actually drove a good race after that, he was very consistent and very quick.

Q: How was Christijan Albers’ race?
MG:
He had a few problems, and basically lost hydraulic pressure so his diff shut down, the clutch shut down, and the gearshifts were bad. That happened around the first stop.

Q: Were you telling him on the radio to let Sutil past at the end?
MG:
Actually, both radios had failed, and we knew he probably couldn’t hear us. There were two things - Christijan had his problems, and when Adrian first came in we put him onto the hard tyre, because we thought we’d do a lap under the safety car and then change them. But we didn’t, so he did the whole first stint on the hard tyre, which he wasn’t due to. Therefore he was on the soft tyre at the end, which was a lot quicker. Christijan was struggling with the hard tyre and with no clutch, or diff or whatever. But he had no radio, so we were shouting at him, but we guessed he couldn’t hear!

Q: Were the first three races always going to be a case of firefighting, especially with the lack of testing?
MG:
Exactly. We didn’t do the Bahrain test, and we didn’t do the Malaysia test. And with the update after the first race, it was always going to be a bit of a fight. Actually the boys have worked incredibly hard after the past two weeks, and they’re very pleased to get a two-car finish. We’ll only get better when we get back to Europe.

Q: From now on are you basically on the same test schedule as everyone else?
MG:
Yes, there’s no real deficit for us in terms of testing. The wind tunnels are now producing bits, so it’s starting to move forward. One of the good things about the last two races is we put the update on, and we got 100 percent correlation with the two wind tunnels and the track. I said to everyone, there’s the blueprint on how we’ve got to make it better, we’ve just got to get on and do more of it. It’ll take a year, but let’s just got on with it.

Q: And the team’s own revamped wind tunnel is nearly ready?
MG:
Yes, we’re now running in Lola in the UK and Aerolab in Italy, but within the next couple of weeks our new tunnel should switch on. It’ll need a couple of weeks of commissioning, and then it will be running 24/7. So there are a lot of positive things for us.

Q: Is the B-spec car still on schedule for Turkey?
MG:
We’re actually bringing it forward to Germany. It’s less of an update because we’re doing more updates earlier. The Malaysia package wasn’t originally planned, and we’re doing some parts for Barcelona, and hopefully there will be a package for Monaco. So we’re doing more sooner, which is good.

Q: What are the main changes with the B-spec?
MG:
It’s a new rear end, new gearbox, new radiator layout, new bodywork, and so on. Everyone’s working hard. We already know that aerodynamically it will be a fairly major step, and there will be a big improvement in the stability of the rear of the car. We’re going from rotary to linear dampers; when I was at Toyota we found that change to be a big step forward in terms of controlling the rear of the car. So we’re pretty confident that we’ll make progress.