Q&A with Spykers Mike Gascoyne 05 Jul 2007
After a tough race at Magny-Cours, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne is hoping Spyker can put in a stronger showing at Silverstone this weekend.
Not only is the teams factory just over the road, but the orange cars showed some promising pace at the recent test there. On top of that, the British Grand Prix holds some fond memories for Gascoyne, a veteran of the teams former Jordan days
Q: With the Spyker factory just across the road from the circuit, does the preparation for Silverstone differ to any other race on the calendar?
Mike Gascoyne: In terms of our preparation for the race, no, we don't view it any differently as we do for other races. We had the luxury of returning to the factory after France, while most teams came straight to the circuit from Magny-Cours. While we are used to operating from the trucks at the track, with only one week between the French Grand Prix and Silverstone we are able to bring them back to the factory and re-prep there ready for Thursday. It makes it much easier for the boys to get ready. It doesn't make much difference being so close to the HQ over a weekend, but obviously if we have any problems with the cars it's much easier for us to get parts over.
Q: Adrian Sutil's performance was particularly promising in France. Despite the problems in the race, is this a sign of the team's improving race pace?
MG: To be honest when Adrian was in free air, his pace was a lot better than we saw on Saturday, which shows we have to get qualifying right. We know what the pace of the car is at the moment, but we qualified a second and a half behind the Super Aguris, and over 70 laps we finished 20 seconds down on Sato, so obviously we are better than we are making ourselves look in qualifying.
Q: The team ultimately had to race with two spare cars in France, has this put the team at a disadvantage now for Silverstone?
MG: Obviously Christijan (Albers) damaged a chassis on the Friday, and we drove a replacement that we had built as a test car out from the factory to France. It was fortunate as obviously we needed it on Sunday when Adrian developed an electrical problem on the grid. Christijan's original race car has now been repaired and will be the test car for the next test at Spa. In the race although Christijan had his problem in the pitstop, we were able to repair the car and the fuel rig very quickly and there was no major damage to either. There won't be any penalties at all this race for using the two spares in the race, Adrian has to use the same engine he used in the T-car, but it is a full race-spec engine so there won't be any further problems from this point of view.
Q: Are you happy to be going somewhere where you've had three days of testing?
MG: Definitely. We were more competitive in Barcelona where we had tested pre-event, so hopefully Silverstone should be better for us.
Q: When you were last in this factory it was during the 'glory years' of Jordan. For you personally, this race must hold a great deal of memories.
MG: Silverstone was great when I was last here. In 1999 we had Damon racing in his last season and we were having a very successful year, especially with Heinz-Harald Frentzen. He had won in Magny-Cours and coming here actually the whole place was a sea of yellow. We used to park at the factory and then walk over and it was very good to get the reaction of the fans congratulating you and wishing you luck and the atmosphere. The race in '99 was a real 'home' race.
Q: Now you are back at Spyker, the expectations are slightly different?
MG: At the moment we are where we expected to be at the back of the grid, but with the weather we've had over the last few weeks in the UK and the rain showers that could obviously mix things up. We'd look to get the strategy right and see what we could pick up. Rain or showers and changeable conditions would be very good for us.