F1 2007 Preview: Spyker

Marcus Winklehock, Spyker-Ferrari, Silverstone, 2007, 1The Team Formerly Known As Jordan kicks off 2007 under another new name. The outfit based near Silverstone are now backed by Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker.

It’s brought some interesting changes to the outside of the car which is now resplendent Dutch orange and silver. A shame they decided to tone down the bright orange look which I thought was one of the better liveries of the season.

But inside the car and the team is what counts, and though Spyker have a lot of heart, they are yet to show any promise.

Another new owner, another team promising a ‘five-year plan’ for success. Whether Michele Mol’s Spyker outfit is willing to sustain the hugely expensive demands of Formula One remains to be seen.

Despite the much-trumpeted talk of ‘cost cutting’ in Formula One it’s getting harder and harder to be a minnow.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, Bahrain, preseason, 2007No-one seriously expects the FIA to stop Toro Rosso or Super Aguri from using chassis that are basically the same as those of parent teams Red Bull and Honda (respectively). This has severe consequences for the likes of Spyker, who cannot reasonably expect to compete even with 2006′s tail enders Super Aguri this year.

With the Spyker deal in place the team have made a few interesting moves. The most promising of which is the appointment of designer Mike Gascoyne, who was booted out of Toyota last year. Paddock gossip insists that Gascoyne was dropped for political reasons owing to his abrasive management style. Many believe his thinking was behind the TF105, Toyota’s most successful car yet.

Christijan Albers, Spyker-Ferrari, Barcelona, preseason, 2007Even at the launch of the new car Gascoyne was talking about his plans for a heavily revised version to arrive halfway through the season. If they can afford it, it could be a wise move – as their F8-VII (despite having the best name of any car on the grid) looks distinctly agricultural in the aerodynamics department and was up to two seconds slower than even fellow customer team Williams in testing.

Change, too, in the driver line-up. Portuguese Tiago Monteiro is gone and sadly may only be remembered for daring to look happy about his third place at Indianapolis in 2005.

Christijan Albers remains, but the Dutchman’s demeanour is not universally liked. In comes Japanese Formula Three champion Adrian Sutil, who was thoroughly whupped by Lewis Hamilton when the two were team mates in 2005, but boss Colin Kolles has faith in him.

Marcus Winklehock, Spyker-Ferrari, Silverstone, 2007, 2The team have also switched engine supplier to Ferrari, who in the past have been criticised for not giving their customers up-to-date equipment. But with the engine freeze regulations in place that shouldn’t be a consideration.

Spyker’s poverty relative to the big boys of the grid is indicated by the dearth of sponsors on the cars and their roster of four test drivers, all of whom must be bringing some money in.

Having made a lot of changes, and sorely lacking in investment, the team are surely going to be propping up the championship table come October.

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