Q&A with Spykers Mike Gascoyne 15 May 2007
Spykers 13th and 14th places in Spain formed the teams second consecutive double finish of the season. Here, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne reviews the Barcelona race and predicts how the squad might fare at the next round in Monaco
Q: Were you pleased to get two cars to the finish for the second race in a row?
Mike Gascoyne: Yes, but more than that, the pace was also undoubtedly better and we made fewer mistakes as a team. Before the start of the race we said we wanted a race with no mistakes and although we did make a couple, were a young team and part of this is a learning process. There were a lot of positives though; Adrian (Sutil) got round the first lap without hitting or being hit by anyone for the first time, so that was undoubtedly a step forward for him! Christian (Albers) obviously got a drive through, and both cars stalled in their second pit stops, which was a shame as Adrian was racing Button and we felt we could have held him off. But its much better that we make those mistakes now and learn from them early on in the season.
Q: Are there real signs of progress?
MG: We knew at the start of this year that things were going to be tough, but so far I would say is that our race pace isnt bad - there have been many years not so long ago when being 2.5s off the front-running pace would have been a good midfield performance. I dont think F1 has ever been so competitive and had so many competitive teams, which makes our job even harder! I think if we can find that second well be up there with the group in front, which is very close - if you can get into it you can be eighth or 18th, as people have proved.
Q: The team hadnt tested in Bahrain or Malaysia like everyone else, but you did run in Barcelona. Are you disappointed that you werent even closer?
MG: Not really. I think realistically this was where we expected to be, so Im not disappointed - it just shows the work we have to do. However, we moved up from 11th to 10th in the championship because we now have a better finish record than Toro Rosso. Ultimately thats important, although Im sure that wont be the end of the matter! But we got two cars home in Spain and we can go and do better next time.
Q: Is Monaco a track that might allow you to bring home a good result?
MG: Exactly, and you very often get a safety car there, and thats when you really could do something unexpected if you get the strategy right. We definitely see it as an opportunity.
Q: Are you encouraged by the fact that Adrian Sutil is the F3 lap record holder?
MG: Its a point Ive made before. Lewis Hamilton is doing an unbelievable job, while Adrian is struggling at the back, but he out-qualified Lewis at Monaco in F3. Its funny how things fall for you!
Q: Do you think he can really shine there?
MG: Yes, I think hell really be able to show what a talent he is. I think Adrian is doing a superb job and I think his pace is pretty strong. Once he stops making rookie errors, which everyone does, hell be very good.
Q: Was this a better weekend for Christian Albers?
MG: He was struggling to get to grips with the tyres and I think hes really starting to understand it. Hes very aggressive on turning in under the brakes and these tyres just dont seem to have very good turn-in in these circumstances. Adrian is much smoother and its this difference on and off the brakes that I think a few of the drivers are really struggling with. However it was a better weekend for Christijan. The big thing is hes understood what the problem is, and then of course you can get round to addressing it.