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Q&A with Mike Gascoyne

NEWS STORY
02/06/2007

Aside from the final result, Monaco was not too bad a weekend for the team overall.
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer: I think it was a very positive weekend. It was the first time this year where we have genuinely outqualified some people on pace and we would have finished ahead of some teams on pace. It wasn't just by default or them not finishing. Having a good race pace is obviously a step forward and with Adrian we could have finished in front of people. It's a shame that Christijan's problem in Qualifying ultimately influenced his race - we went for an aggressive strategy that meant a safety car had to be called for him to get anything out of it. It's disappointing not to have got both cars to the finish, but things are looking up.

Do you think the performance of the F8-VII cars in Monaco was due to the fact that the cars are more suited to the low-speed, high downforce circuits?
MG: I don't think it's necessarily anything to do with the nature of the Monte Carlo circuit, I think we are seeing the true level of performance of the car now. Some people did struggle, and this was probably due to the circuit, but I think our pace is just a sign of the progress the team is making. It's not just the high downforce circuits - we had a good test in low downforce configuration at Paul Ricard too. I hope we will see a similar relative speed in Canada and Indy.

Do you consider that this relative improvement is due to the controlled amount of testing - you're not at a disadvantage now compared to the others?
MG: For Spain and Monaco we had tested for the events before and I think the level of performance in Monaco was representative of this, whereas it was not the case for the first three events. Some of the bigger outfits with large test teams are able to test ad infinitum, whereas we don't have the resources or the personnel to do so. Controlled testing allows us to have the same amount of access and testing as everyone else, so it does level things out.

Canada is twinned with Indianapolis, just one week later. How does this long-haul double-header event affect preparations?
MG: Now the season is up and running we are very used to packing up and travelling away. It's been a tough start to the season with five flyaways in the first seven events, but we now we have a decent supply of parts and, provided there are not too many accidents in Canada, there shouldn't be any problems.

The wind tunnel facility in Brackley is nearing completion now. How will that help the team's programme going to future races?
MG: The wind tunnel will switch on in the next week or so and then the commissioning process will start soon after. By the end of June it will be up and running and within a couple of months of that will go to 24 hour running, which will be a big boost for the team. It might have taken a little bit longer than expected to get the modifications through, but certainly once we've got it up and running it will have a big influence on our performance next year as it is where biggest gains will be found.

How will the Brackley tunnel slot into the Aerolab programme?
MG: We are working very closely with Aerolab and, at present, with Lola until our own tunnel is up and running so we are used to integrating two programmes. This will just continue as we run in our own tunnel. At the moment we will focus on aero development, but certainly for next year and the future we will also look to expand other departments, which we will need to do to match the flow of parts that will come from the wind tunnel.

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