Q&A with Spykers Mike Gascoyne 21 May 2007
The Spyker teams chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne, discusses their prospects for this weekends Monaco Grand Prix, evaluates their season to date, and looks ahead to the likely impact of their forthcoming B-spec car
Q: Monaco is known as one of the most unpredictable races of the year. Is this the best opportunity for the team to achieve a result?
Mike Gascoyne: I think Monaco is certainly our best chance in the first two-thirds of the season to achieve a good result. Obviously aero efficiency isn't the key here as cars are running with max drag, so we believe we should be more competitive here than we have been at other circuits. It's also a race where if safety cars come into play, it can rain and so on, so we have to make the most of it. An advantage is that our drivers know it well too; it's a circuit Adrian (Sutil) has driven at before and has done very well at, and Christijan (Albers) has a good record here.
Q: Four races in, almost 25 percent of the season covered. What have been the main progress points and landmarks since the season started?
MG: I think as a team we are starting to operate at a level we are happy with. I think the car is fundamentally very reliable and has been since the first run and we are starting to see the benefits in the races. Although we have some aero updates on the car and we're better than we would have been without them, the main focus is back at the factory and in the wind tunnel where everyone is working very hard, although unfortunately you won't see them at the track until later this year, and some not until the beginning of next year. But the team is progressing on all fronts.
Q: Has the season so far met with your expectations?
MG: Although we are at the back, F1 is more competitive than it has ever been, much more so than in previous years. We are where we are at the moment, 2.5 secs behind, a couple of years ago we wouldn't have been at the back but ahead of several teams, but F1 is very competitive this year so we just have to improve.
Q: Are there any new developments for Monaco?
MG: There are no major updates, but there will be some minor aero parts that we will put on the car to help provide the high levels of downforce required for this circuit. Some of the parts are specifically for Monaco but some will be carried forward as part of our ongoing process of development.
Q: Moving forward, what are the plans for the next three races?
MG: We are pushing on with the test programme, aero development and, of course, the B-spec car. This should be a move forward but we shouldn't pin our hopes too much on suddenly moving up the grid and being competitive, but we will continue evolving until the end of the year. I'm sure that by then we'll be in a more competitive position than we are now.
Q: The B-spec car is now scheduled for Turkey, as originally planned, but how much of a step forward will it be?
MG: It will be a step forward, but not as much as we need to be truly competitive; it is more part of the aero development that is ongoing into 2008. I think we have to be realistic about it - although Spyker and new management have come on board, where we are at the moment is a result of the previous lack of investment. Spyker is putting all those things right, but we won't see the improvements on the race track for nine months to a year. In the meantime, we have to do a professional job with the package we have at the moment and look to next year.