The Australian GP was a case of good news and bad news for Spyker. The bare statistics are a bit disappointing -- after all both cars qualified at the back, Christijan Albers posted the first retirement of the F1 season, and a twice-penalised Adrian Sutil finished last...
The good news however is that the team came away knowing that the new car has a lot of potential. It was reliable throughout the weekend and in the race Adrian set some very competitive times -- just 0.2s away from the Super Aguris that qualified in midfield, and only 0.5s off Jenson Button's Honda!
"We have a very positive feeling for the future," said Colin Kolles after the race. "Extremely positive, to be honest. Our problem is qualifying, and we're not getting temperature into the tyres, or at least on this track, so we were struggling for a competitive lap time on Saturday.
"But you just have to look at Adrian's times in the race and compare them to other cars and you'll see that he was quite competitive."
There is another step coming for Malaysia, "We have an update coming, and hopefully it will help. In our simulations, in our wind tunnels, it looks pretty significant. We'll see how it is on track."
One of the big disappointments of the weekend was that Adrian's race was spoiled by penalties. He got the first for a blue flag offence -- although he didn't think he had impeded anyone -- and the second for crossing the white line as he left the pits.
"Thankfully he had it all in one race!" added Colin, "He's a very intelligent boy, and he learns very quickly, so I think this is now history. Adrian showed a very strong race as a rookie. I won't say I was impressed or surprised by his weekend, because I know him, and this is what we expected. And we expect even more from him."
Christijan meanwhile had a tough time. Unhappy with his balance after qualifying, he opted to switch to the T-car for the race and start it from the pitlane, which allowed him to start with a different set-up. He eventually slid off the road on lap 10.
"Christijan had a tough weekend, but Christijan is a fighter, and he's also a fast racing driver. And he has to fight back. We made this decision to change cars because we had nothing to lose."
The other novelty last weekend was the presence of Mike Gascoyne in the team garage, a year after his last race with Toyota. He brought a new, aggressive approach that he has developed at some of the top teams that he's worked for, and was keen to encourage everyone along.
Colin commented, "We have to move forward, and I think that it's very positive. We have a target, and this target is very clear. We are following our line and we will see if we will succeed or not."
Meanwhile this was the first race of a new era, and it produced a new star in Lewis Hamilton, who was Adrian's team mate in F3. Colin is always keen to look ahead.
"It was a good race, and F1 is F1, with or without Schumacher. He was a great champion, but life goes on. I'm happy for Lewis, but I'm more happy for Adrian, because we know how competitive we will be."