QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH THE SPYKER FORMULA ONE TEAM
Spyker Formula One has conducted extensive interviews with key personnel.
Q & A with Colin Kolles
Is the 2007 season the start of a new era for the team?
This year will be the new start for the Spyker brand, but we also need to look at it as a new start for the team too. Over the past three years there have been some far-reaching changes in the team, from the name to the management to the structure, but we now know that Spyker want to make the project work, which is very positive for everyone. When you know that somebody wants to do well and is here for the long run it gives you an extra drive to make it work as you know you have a goal to aim for. We've got a real direction and focus now.
Since Spyker came on board you have made some changes, firstly bringing Mike Gascoyne on board in November to strengthen the team. Are these the first steps in turning the team around?
Having people like Mike in the team shows we are serious about improving. We know that Spyker want to be in F1 to win and Mike has a great history of turning teams around. He is there to help guide James Key and his technical team and together I'm confident they will steadily improve the team's performance. So far the appointment is working well, he has already made some changes and brought other resources on board such as Aerolab; we're gradually strengthening a good team dynamic that we hope will continue to improve.
Q & A with Victor Muller
Victor, how has your Formula 1 experience been so far?
I'm now four months into my new 'career' and I have really enjoyed it. From the outside looking in it's the most attractive, competitive and sexy sport and that is all true when you get inside. It really is as glamorous and competitive as it looks; there's certainly no deception there.
Why did you want to become involved in the sport?
The tipping point was the major change in the sporting regulations so smaller teams could compete, things were now more equal between the big and the small outfits. F1 is now definitely a sport for smaller teams rather than a financial black hole - with these changes, it should be realistic for a small team to do well.
Q & A with Michiel Mol
In the world of e-business you are very established, but you are relative Formula 1 newcomer. What attracted you to the sport?
There were two sides to the decision. Firstly the change in the sporting regulations, which saw a shift in favour of the smaller teams with the engine freeze, limits on testing and the tyre stability, meant we could stand a good chance of competing and doing well. Secondly the redistribution of the TV income makes the sport now a very viable financial prospect for investors.
You have a huge success rate in business, with your company, Lost Boys, listed on the Dutch and Swedish stock exchanges. How will your business acumen help Spyker?
I see Spyker as a regular company, just like any of my other businesses. I run my companies in an open and transparent way and I treat sponsors and partners as customers. I'm going to apply this kind of business sense to Spyker F1 too. Besides it being a sport, I can see the huge business potential there for something to grow - financially this is a very good investment.
Q & A with Mike Gascoyne
Mike, you've been with Spyker for three months now. What have you been up to since you joined?
One of the first things I did was to look at the overall structure of the technical team and look how we could improve to make the operation more efficient. James and his team had done a phenomenal job and had made steady progress with very limited resources, but I had to come in and look at how we could make a big step. With the new aero regulations it was obvious that one of the main areas where we could get the biggest gains was in the aero department, so I have signed a deal with Aerolab and its team that effectively doubled our resouces.
What benefits will this partnership with Aerolab bring?
In addition to the tunnel we have at Brackley, we've now effectively got the capacity to have a tunnel working full-time, which really does bring us into line with the resources of the bigger teams. We signed the deal on 1 January and we've already put in some really valuable work. Aerolab really is a turnkey operation, it's a unique facility and opportunity; a state of the art facility that's fully staffed ready to go. You can make some real improvements in performance by looking at the aerodynamics of the car - we'll see the benefits in the second half the year.
Q & A with Christijan Albers
Christijan, you're staying with the team for a second season this year. What were the aspects that made you want to stay?
I really liked the team, they are a lot of fun and I enjoyed last year, and I was pleased with the new Spyker team coming on board. It's given everyone a real push to stay and keep developing their different areas to bring the team to the top of the game. We all want to get to the front and everyone is motivated to get there. This year we know we have to focus on getting results and a better car throughout the season, but by signing Mike Gascoyne and Ferrari as engine supplier we have shown we are really serious about this.
Mike Gascoyne has a very good reputation within Formula 1. How excited are you to be working with him?
I'm really excited to be working with him. He's been in the business for a very long time and has worked in a lot of teams and manufacturers and his experience will be a great help. Personally, I'm interested in seeing how he works and learning from him.
Q & A with Adrian Sutil
Adrian, you are now a full-time Formula 1 driver. It must be exciting, but also nerve-racking - how have you been preparing for your first season?
I'm really happy to be making my debut so I'm not nervous at all. Physically, I have been training very hard, helped a lot by my trainer Alex. I have been out running and cycling every day and in late January I also went for four days warm weather training in Majorca - it was tough with five to six hours or exercise a day, but you have to be fit to do F1 so I don't mind, especially if it makes me more prepared for the first race.
Have you been spending much time at the Spyker base in Silverstone getting to know your team and your engineer?
I already knew the team a little last year, it's all quite cool and Brad Joyce, my engineer, is a good guy. I think we'll work well together. I've come to the factory quite a lot as there is so much to learn there. There is so much to see and pick up and at the factory you can see how everything works and fits together in the team. It's very important for me to learn about the technical aspects of the car as it makes you a stronger driver.