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Interview with Spyker's Michiel Mol 25 Apr 2007

Michiel Mol (NDL) CEO Spyker.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 7 April 2007

After enjoying their first double finish of the season in Bahrain, Spyker are looking forward to making even more of an impression at the next round in Spain. The team’s director of Formula One racing, Michiel Mol, reveals his thoughts on their performances so far and discusses the impact that new chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has had on the squad…

Q: What’s your overall feeling after these first three races? Everything has happened very quickly, and there’s been no testing…
Michiel Mol:
I think that especially in Bahrain we’ve seen that we’ve been making a lot of progress. That was a good morale booster with the four-week break ahead of us, and we could quickly forget the weekend in Malaysia! From this moment on we are testing as much as all the other teams. We’ve got a test before Barcelona, we’ve got an aerodynamic update in Monaco, we’ve got the B-spec car coming for Nurburgring, and the wind tunnel has been revamped. So a lot is happening, and that feels good.

Q: Was getting both cars to the finish in Bahrain a significant step?
Yes, definitely. And our direct competition didn’t do so well there! It’s what we needed to do, we needed to bring two cars home, and we did. It’s good for motivation, and it’s good for data collection.

Q: Was it frustrating to see Adrian Sutil in trouble on the first lap again?
I don’t really know what happened, but he was just behind Button and Speed, and I don’t think he could avoid them. But I’m very happy that they managed to repair the car, and he was able to finish after all. And he did some pretty consistent lap times, and that’s more important than position at the moment.

Q: Everyone is talking about McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, but do you think Sutil has been doing a good job for a rookie?
I think so. After three races he’s clearly shown himself to be a fast and consistent driver, and you almost don’t notice any more that it’s his rookie year, and the tracks he’s racing on he’s never been to before. He’s doing an excellent job, and let’s hope that we have a good and positive fight between him and Christijan (Albers) on the track. The only thing they mustn’t do is hit each other - Mike Gascoyne has made that very clear to them!

Q: Are you hoping to see a big step forward in Spain?
Probably we’ll see smaller steps at first, and the B-spec car at Nurburgring will be the big step. We’ve managed to bring that along a bit earlier, so that’s good. We have to wait and see of course, but it looks very good, and we now know that what we achieve in the wind tunnel has the same effect on the real car, so we know that the update will have a positive influence. So all together, I’m pretty satisfied.

Q: Are you pleased with the way both the cars and the team look this season?
Definitely. It was especially important in Bahrain, when the big guys from Abu Dhabi were there! When you walked into our garage it was really professional, and definitely up to the standard of the top teams.

Q: Have you noticed Gascoyne’s influence, especially in terms of him encouraging everyone to push even harder?
He’s been doing that, and I think he’s been respected tremendously. And I think for good reason, because he’s shown over and over in the past what he can do for a team. He really makes the guys even more motivated than they were already, and he’s taught them a lot. It’s fantastic to have him around.