Q and A with Spyker’s Colin Kolles After dismissing Christijan Albers from their driver lineup after the British Grand Prix, test and reserve driver Marcus Winkelhock stepped up to the plate for the Spyker Formula One team and made history at the Nurburgring when he became the first driver in history to ever start his debut race from last and first! However, he has now returned to his former role after a magnificent race and former Super Aguri racer, Sakon Yamamoto has taken over the position as teammate to Adrian Sutil.
Here Colin Kolles, team principal and managing director speaks of the current situation….
A new driver lineup for the second Grand Prix in a row! What made you go for Sakon?
Sakon is a very good all-round package. We were very clear that the driver we chose needed to bring a certain financial benefit, but needed to have good, relevant experience too. Sakon has both covered. He has driven on all of the circuits we are going to in the second half of the season, except for Spa, which will be an advantage to the team as we move forward.
Will Sakon race in all the races this year?
Yes, Sakon has a permanent place in the team from now until the end of the season. As a team we are permitted four driver changes over the course of a season, and we have run four drivers, including Sakon, now.
Do you think Adrian Sutil and Sakon be a strong pairing?
Yes, I would like to think so. Adrian has experience of the car and is very well-integrated in the team, while Sakon has experience of the circuits we go to now. On a personal level, they are also both eager to do well and demonstrate they can race at the highest level of motorsport. This kind of hunger and enthusiasm can only be good for us as this is when a driver gets the most out of the car.
How would you react to claims that two driver changes in as many races destabilizes the team?
I don't think it has. Anyone who came to the Nurburgring saw the impact Markus had - we had more TV and press coverage than we have had. And we led the race - for the first time ever - so clearly it has had no impact on the race track. I think with Sakon it will be the same, although we are not expecting to lead again - those were very exceptional circumstances.
How did it feel to see the Spyker up there in P1?
Of course it was a good feeling. We might have been lucky with the weather, but we got the strategy exactly right, which was not down to luck, and Markus had a very controlled drive. It shows that when all things are difficult, we can be on top of it. When we get the new car, who knows what will happen if the same situation happens again?
Will Markus Winkelhock remain the test and reserve driver for the rest of the year?
Markus did an excellent job in the European Grand Prix, but we were very clear that he was not, unfortunately, in a position to be able to fill the seat until the end of the season. He will continue in the role of reserve driver and attend races. Obviously we know that if he does need to step up to race, he will do a good job for us.