Team Ireland interview with Adam Carroll

ADAM CARROLL Q & A Q: What are your thoughts about the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport? A: Well I did not know what to expect when I came into A1GP last year. I'd been so busy with GP2 over the previous few seasons, and also testing with Honda in...

ADAM CARROLL Q & A

Q: What are your thoughts about the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport?

A: Well I did not know what to expect when I came into A1GP last year. I'd been so busy with GP2 over the previous few seasons, and also testing with Honda in F1. I knew it would be competitive, but to be honest I did not expect it to be just as tight as it was. It got to the point where one second would cover a dozen cars - it really is very close. There are a lot of things about A1GP that took me by surprise; the long haul destinations, the different types of circuit we race on, the very high level of driving. It took me a while to adjust to the car, the tyres and build my relationship with the team, but finally it all started to click and we won in Mexico. That was fantastic.

Q: You have been selected to drive for Ireland again. What does that mean for you?

A: Well, firstly it is a competitive drive in a world series and it gives me the chance to race to win. That's what every driver wants. Also, A1GP is unique because the teams have to pick a driver from the territory they represent and I think that's a great concept. It's a bit like footballers playing for their national team - it's a different experience from being shunted around from one team to another. Team Ireland is made up of a great bunch of guys, and it's unbelievable to think that Ireland is here, competing against massive nations like Great Britain, France, America and China, and able to win.

Q: You weren't always on the front running pace last season, why was that?

A: Well, coming to A1GP from GP2 I had to get used to a very different car, tyres and race weekend. There is no testing, and since I missed the first race last year {Ralph Firman drove for Team Ireland in Zandvoort in 2007} I was right in at the deep end. We were always able to run in the front half of the field, but finding the last few tenths took some time and I am not sure we ever had a car that was the class of the field. We ended up in the top 6 quite a lot, but qualifying sometimes was a struggle. Towards the end of the season we took a different approach, and that paid off. The result was the win in Mexico and the good results in China and Great Britain.

Q: How did it feel to win in Mexico?

A: A combination of things really. I was so very happy to win the race, to be on the top step of the podium. Then there was relief for the team, and for me too, because we'd worked for a long time to get the win. I'd only been with the team for a short time, but for the people behind the team and some of the crew it had taken almost three years and I think they were starting to wonder if it would ever happen! Afterwards we realised that we'd got the monkey off our back, we could really win any race from now on, and that meant we started to go racing with greater confidence. That's another reason why we are going into this season feeling so positive. The team is basically unchanged, and we know how to win.

Q: One change is the identity of your new engineer, Gerry Hughes. How will that be?

A: Well during the summer we met several engineers who the team thought could take us to the next level in terms of engineering capability. This was necessary mainly because we have a new car from A1GP, powered by a Ferrari engine, and with some more complex systems we need to get on top of. With any new car you need the engineers to understand how to make it work, and in A1GP that is particularly important since all the cars are the same - you need to be cleverer than the competition. Gerry has been race engineering in Formula One for the last nine years, including with Eddie Irvine at Jaguar and with Super Aguri where he had overall responsibility for race engineering. When you look at the job Super Aguri did, particularly in their early days, I'd say Gerry is pretty clever! He has enormous experience, of race engineering and also designing, so that means he can look at the car from different view points.

Q: Who will your main competition be?

A: Everyone. Seriously, when you look at A1GP it shows that a properly managed series with really equal cars means that a lot of teams can win because there are a lot of quick drivers out there. Realistically there will be something like six to eight team and driver combinations that can win any race, and I think we are one of them. France will be quick, so will Switzerland, South Africa, New Zealand, Holland and Great Britain. But there are others. My job is to try and stay in front of them all.

Q: What other racing are you doing, and have you given up on Formula One?

A: I did a couple of GP2 races this summer and qualified 3rd on my debut in Istanbul, but they were one off drives and you cannot race properly without a full programme. That's why I am really looking forward to coming back into A1GP. This is the first time in my career that I have been able to drive for the same team two seasons in a row, and no pressure other than to drive. I see A1GP as an end in it's own right - winning for Team Ireland is really worth doing - and I hope to be with them for a while! I do want to race Formula One, however, because when I see drivers like Piquet Jr, Kovalainen, Glock and of course Lewis (Hamilton) I know I should be there, because I have been competitive against them in F3 and GP2. The problem is, F1 has only 20 seats and many of those are held down by long term contracts, so I have to be patient a little more. It remains a goal for sure, and winning in A1GP is one way for me to remind those who need reminding what I can do.

-credit: ireland

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Series A1GP
Drivers Adam Carroll