Christijan Albers has perhaps not attracted a great deal of attention so far in 2006, which is hardly surprising given MF1's back-of-the-grid status. However, the Dutchman was the focus of a lot of attention at Imola for all the wrong ...
Christijan Albers has perhaps not attracted a great deal of attention so far in 2006, which is hardly surprising given MF1's back-of-the-grid status. However, the Dutchman was the focus of a lot of attention at Imola for all the wrong reasons.
Not to detract from Albers' driving skills, which are pretty damn good in a less than competitive car, but being upside-down in a gravel trap was certainly one way to get noticed.
Hit from behind by the Super Aguri of Yuji Ide on the first lap of the San Marino Grand Prix, Albers' MF1 barrel rolled several times before coming to rest on its face. It was quite shocking to watch but the actuality was no where near as bad as it looked.
"I have to say that I find it quite strange that if you roll over a few times, everybody wants to talk to you again," Albers told his team website about the incident. "The last time I got so much attention was in 2003 and 2004, when I was a frontrunner in DTM…"
So what goes through a driver's head when involved in such a big impact? Not a lot, apparently. "I didn't see anything coming and then I just started to roll, but I knew it was Ide behind me," Albers explained. "Nothing went through my mind, because it all happened really quickly and then it was over."
"For me, it's OK to have a crash like that because I remained alert, and it also made me aware again of how safe F1 is. So it only makes me want to jump back in, go quicker and closer to the limit again."
Despite such a spectacular crash, Albers was more aggravated to lose out in qualifying at Imola. "The thing I'm most disappointed in is Saturday, because of the qualifying," he remarked. "I was so strong the whole weekend."
"We had an electronic problem on Friday, and we didn't know exactly what it was. We had it just once, but it went away. And then we had this problem in qualifying. We could have been even quicker than we were on Saturday morning but we didn't get the chance."
"It prevented me from doing a normal, reasonable lap time. Instead I had a weak lap time of 1m27.0s on my second timed lap with new tyres, after I couldn't do a first timed lap because the engine software was holding back the power. It was only using seven cylinders instead of eight!"
It's a tough job from the back of the grid and Albers is realistic about MF1's chances. "The team is working really hard, and we're doing everything possible with the budget we have," he said. "I have to say, everyone is doing a great job. But we have to fight more and more, and it's never good enough."
"What we have seen is that we have to improve our starts. We're testing this week with a full programme. We saw on Saturday morning that we were competitive; my car was right up there. We just couldn't attack during first qualifying and we left the results at home. We have to push extra hard to get nearer to the top again."