At the launch of the Spyker F8-VII at Silverstone on February 5th team principal Colin Kolles spoke exclusively to Motorsport.com about how the team has progressed and his hopes for the future. Mcom: Mr. Kolles, how can Spyker contribute to...
At the launch of the Spyker F8-VII at Silverstone on February 5th team principal Colin Kolles spoke exclusively to Motorsport.com about how the team has progressed and his hopes for the future.
Mcom: Mr. Kolles, how can Spyker contribute to the development of the team after Midland?
Colin Kolles: You have to see the different step in development. Without Midland there wouldn't be this team any more. So Midland rescued it, basically, from Jordan, they stabilized it. The drive behind it is that people from Spyker understand motor sport, whereas Midland understood venture capital.
Mcom: Was it just perhaps a promotional opportunity for Midland?
CK: No, for sure not. You buy the company, you clean it up, you rescue the company then you see how it develops. It was a chance, obviously.
Mcom: So you think Spyker can take the team forward?
CK: At the end of the day we have to take the team forward. We now have the elements to do that. Definitely we have an agreement (with Spyker) to put things in place, there is no issue with this. Formula One changes very quick, you know.
Mcom: How did the team develop last year?
CK: The team developed quite well and it was stable. But the problem was that the results were not there. We had zero points, which was disappointing. But the team itself was much stronger, the car was better than the previous year. But we are coming from far back, that's the problem. To get a result out of it is just hard work.
Mcom: The addition of Mike Gascoyne should help you -- did you actively pursue him once he left Toyota?
CK: We had the first meeting at Nurburgring. I think he is a great help to our team and he will make our work more efficient and get good results quicker.
Mcom: Are you working on expanding the team, personnel, factory etc?
CK: I think that now we have a different strategy -- we took on 35 people, 50 people -- a lot of manpower but I think we have to keep it small and efficient. At the end the quality counts, not the quantity.
Mcom: Why did you decide on Adrian Sutil? Tiago Monteiro seemed very confident that he had the seat, so it must have been a bit of a surprise when Spyker announced Adrian…
CK: (Laughs) Yeah, well, I think it was the right decision for the team to have a young driver, dedicated, motivated, professional, quick. In my opinion he is one of the best young drivers -- I rate him with (Robert) Kubica, I rate him with (Lewis) Hamilton. I think he is up there and I think he can be the best out of them.
Mcom: And what about Christijan Albers?
CK: With Christijan we have to give him the right car, the right weapon. It's no use having a blunt knife, you have to produce something sharp enough for him to do the job. We have to give him a better car and then we will see the results.
Mcom: You have a surprising amount of test drivers, is that something you always wanted to do, give opportunities to young drivers?
CK: Yes, always. It is healthy to have young drivers and coming from F3 I think it is the right way to bring young drivers. I think that Fairuz Fauzy, Adrian Valles, Giedo van der Garde and Markus Winkelhock, we have a test team that has been successful and I think that there's no better line up this year.
Mcom: Talking of Giedo van der Garde, is he your driver or Super Aguri's? There seems to be some question about that.
CK: I dunno, you'd have to ask Super Aguri.
Mcom Well I'm asking you. You say he's contracted to you but they say the same.
CK: That's what they say. He was driving for them in testing but he is a test driver and we can test whoever we want. They (Super Aguri) have to calm down.
Mcom: I'm not going to ask about customer cars as presumably you're sick of that subject…
CK: Oh yes!
Mcom: So with the new Concorde Agreement, has F1 become a viable business prospect again, something to invest in?
CK: Yes, I think it's one of the best businesses around. It's very stable, the problems of the last few years are gone and it's a growing platform.
Mcom: How will the relationship with Ferrari move Spyker forward? Is it just a customer pay-as-you-go agreement or can you expect any help from them?
CK: I think we have a very good relationship with Ferrari, much better than with Toyota.
Mcom: Why is that?
CK: I don't know, it's just the way I feel. I think we had a lot of help from Ferrari because it all happened in a very short time, so I think they will be a very good advantage.