Q&A with Spykers Mike Gascoyne 19 Apr 2007
Spykers 14th and 15th places in Bahrain formed the teams 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. Ive never worked so hard for 14th and 15th, but its a start. The management are happy, the sponsors are happy, and weve got a lot of data. Barcelona will be better for us because of it.
Q: Why did it take so long to repair Adrian Sutils car?
MG: Obviously Adrian couldnt do much to avoid the shunt in front of him, and lost his front wing. It wouldnt 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 couldnt 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 wed do a lap under the safety car and then change them. But we didnt, so he did the whole first stint on the hard tyre, which he wasnt 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 couldnt hear!
Q: Were the first three races always going to be a case of firefighting, especially with the lack of testing?
MG: Exactly. We didnt do the Bahrain test, and we didnt 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 theyre very pleased to get a two-car finish. Well 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, theres no real deficit for us in terms of testing. The wind tunnels are now producing bits, so its 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, theres the blueprint on how weve got to make it better, weve just got to get on and do more of it. Itll take a year, but lets just got on with it.
Q: And the teams own revamped wind tunnel is nearly ready?
MG: Yes, were now running in Lola in the UK and Aerolab in Italy, but within the next couple of weeks our new tunnel should switch on. Itll 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: Were actually bringing it forward to Germany. Its less of an update because were doing more updates earlier. The Malaysia package wasnt originally planned, and were doing some parts for Barcelona, and hopefully there will be a package for Monaco. So were doing more sooner, which is good.
Q: What are the main changes with the B-spec?
MG: Its a new rear end, new gearbox, new radiator layout, new bodywork, and so on. Everyones 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. Were 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 were pretty confident that well make progress.