Taupo: Tom Dillmann appointed as Switzerland's rookie

A1 Team Switzerland has appointed 20 year-old Tom Dillmann as its rookie driver at the fifth and sixth rounds of the current A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season at Taupo (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia) on January 21 and February 3, 2008 ...

A1 Team Switzerland has appointed 20 year-old Tom Dillmann as its rookie driver at the fifth and sixth rounds of the current A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season at Taupo (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia) on January 21 and February 3, 2008 respectively.

Dillmann has already tested for the team at Silverstone in August 2007, however his experience was limited to 30 laps on the track, but his results overall made team principal Max Welti decide to select the talented young driver for the rookie sessions at both rounds.

"I am really happy to be finally joining the team," said Dillmann. "I had an initial taste of driving in August and I am looking forward to more in the the rookie sessions. I will make use of my experience to best help Neel Jani and the A1 Team Switzerland on its third visit to Australia and to New Zealand even if I do not know the track and also do not know how to handle the car yet. I have followed the A1 Team Switzerland's success very closely and am looking forward to continue helping them to the front of the field."

Max Welti, team principal, A1 Team Switzerland: "I am hopeful that Neel Jani will be able to share his experience with Tom Dillmann and that Tom won't forget what he learned during testing in the summer. This will benefit our team and help prepare for another good weekend."

Q and A with Tom Dillmann

Q: Tom Dillmann tested in Silverstone one month before the new season kicked off at Zandvoort (The Netherlands), on 30 September 2007 what was the outcome?

A: On the final day of the Silverstone tests, the team fielded two of us: Sebastien Buemi who drove in the morning and myself for the afternoon. Between us, we completed 81 laps. I can remember that Buemi got in 47 laps while I covered 34 laps. Everything was new to me and it was a big step forward from F3. I wish the test would have lasted longer. But everything was new to me from more horsepower than F3 to gear levers on the back of the wheel. Even the track was new!"

Q: Tom Dillmann have you been in Taupo or Sydney before?

A: No! And it is the first time that I will fly that far to New Zealand and Australia.

In fact, I have never been so far away. I do not know the tracks and have never experienced driving there in real life. So, for a start, I have discovered the tracks on the PlayStation. It is not real, but it is a start for someone like me who has never experienced driving there. Usually it is not too difficult to learn a new track, and a matter of roughly five laps. It gets more complicated when you have to adapt to a new car and a new track. In the summer, I felt that the more laps I was able to do, the most confident I got. Overall I had a good day which helped the team's engineer to go through the entire team program to progress, even if I also never got a run on new tyres.

Q: How do you feel to represent team A1 Team Switzerland?

A: Extremely proud! I had wished to be with them as early as Zhuhai, but I was not able to attend as I was doing some tests for a French team "SG Formula" based in La Rochelle. So now my dream is fulfilled.

Q: How do you prepare for your first A1GP race?

A: I will go in the first week of January to a Red Bull training session near Salzburg to prepare the season and come to Sydney in good condition.

TOM DILLMANN's biography:

Born on 6 April 1989, Tom Dillmann is one of the young racing hopes of the moment. Tom Dillmann's racing career started in karting with 9 years of age, and by 14 he was driving Formula-Renault 1600 and earned his first podium in Spa (Belgium), the first of many other podiums for the young driver and three podiums this 2007 season: amongst them Norisring and Barcelona.

By 2006, Tom Dillmann had not got any Formula 3 experience under his belt but was the only rookie of the ASM Formula 3 line-up. Dillmann contested the 2006 Formula Renault Eurocup and finished eighth. The youngster from Mulhouse secured three podium finishes but failed to make it to the highest step of the podium. In the season finale, held at Barcelona, he delivered his best performance by finishing second in both qualifying sessions and both races, with the new champion, Filipe Albuquerque, being the only man to defeat him.

Like Grosjean, Dillmann also secured his best result in France and in a championship he didn't contest completely. Both at Le Mans and Magny-Cours, Dillmann won a round of the French Formula Renault Championship round he competed in only occasionally.

In 2007, Dillmann completed the driver line-up signed by ASM Formula 3 for the 2007 Formula 3 Euro Series season. Along with Frenchman Romain Grosjean he teamed-up with Japan's Kamui Kobayashi and Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, this year. Tom Dillmann is now part of the Red Bull Racing Junior team. He has been selected as the rookie A1 Team Switzerland in the Australian (Sydney) and New Zealand (Taupo) 2008 races.

-credit: switzerland

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Neel Jani , Kamui Kobayashi , Sébastien Buemi , Max Welti , Tom Dillmann , Filipe Albuquerque , Nico Hulkenberg
Teams Red Bull Racing