Tenacious Tambay aims high with Audi

Adrien Tambay is about to embark on his fourth year in DTM with Abt Sportsline squad. The Frenchman spoke to Sam Smith at his new home in London on the eve of the new season.

This time a year ago, Adrien Tambay got his DTM campaign off to a scintillating start by claiming a podium at the season opener in Hockenheim.

A further four top 10 placings in the first half of the season looked to have set the Parisian on his way to his best ever season, but then came the final four races and a disastrous end to the campaign, which brought an 11th and three consecutive non-finishes.

Now though, based in London and with an encouraging fastest Audi time at the recent Oschersleben test, the son of former McLaren, Ferrari and Renault Formula 1 driver Patrick Tambay is pumped up for what could be a real breakthrough season.

"The winter break has been very long and there have only been a few tests so I will be looking forward to getting back in to the cockpit and in a racing situation," says Tambay.

"I am very eager to get back in to it. Pace-wise it was good at Oschersleben earlier this month. I have a new engineer this year (ex-Caterham engineer Nicola Palarchi), so things look good."

Tambay has worked with Palarchi at the Charouz-Gravity team in the Auto GP series back in 2010 and scored a memorable victory at Imola, scene of his father's epic win for Ferrari 27 years earlier.

"We have a good understanding and we always kept in touch, so when Caterham ended it was clear he needed another challenge," says Tambay.

"It is already working well for us and I think we will be a strong combination together this season. I trust him completely."

Consistency key this year

Tambay believes that consistency across the DTM calendar will be crucial in 2015.

Known to be kind on his tyres, the 24 year-old could have a small advantage over his competitiors this year.

"We have some really good consistency now. Last year it took a while for an Audi to win a race but apart from one BMW we were always close and at every track we were able to at least challenge for a win," says Tambay.

"In terms of consistency across all the tracks I think that will be our real strength, especially now as we have double the amount of races."

"Qualifying will be very busy and it won't be easy to find a clear lap," he continued. "I don't see many people trying to do it on one set of tyres in qualifying and then starting on a new set for the Saturday race, but we will see.

"With no option tyres and standard Hankook rubber, it should be OK, and we have of course done lots of simulations. I can't see anyone trying to do a pitstop unless there are some extreme conditions."

The London-domiciled Frenchman is also keen to get stuck into the new DRS rules this season, which require drivers to be within one second of the car ahead (down from two seconds last year) to activate the system, but they will be able to use it three times during the following lap.

"I think that the new DRS rules will provide some really crazy racing. For instance, at Oschersleben we saw a gain of 0.5s with the DRS during a lap, so it should be pretty easy to overtake.

"I can see a lot of situations where you will need to be clever on where you use the DRS in the final laps of a race. For the spectators and us as drivers it is cool."

A London resident now

And what of London? Why has he chosen to create a base in the chic Kensington area of the UK capital?

"It is simple - as a racing driver I can choose because we do not do too much testing. I lived on Lake Constance in Austria for a few years and it was nice but a bit quiet. I was born in Paris and I like cities.

"So I said to myself, I like to be free, so why not London? I love it here and my English is improving every day too!"

Tambay will be in action this weekend as the 2015 DTM kicks off at Hockenheim.

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Adrien Tambay
Teams Team Abt
Article type Interview