Spyker focused on zero keel and gearbox

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Spyker's new and imaginatively named F8-VII car is, just like any other car for 2007, a well thought evolution of last year's car. The team has been optimising the zero keel design from a slight twin keel, while at the rear new gearbox and crash test requirements demanded intense development.

When the company started trading at the beginning of the 20th century it launched the car models named A, B and C to the market. When Spyker CEO Victor Muller resurrected tthe Spyker name in 2000 he wanted to build on that strong history, “When we launched the first modern line of Spykers, the C8 Spyder, we called it the C line to follow on from the original model rationale. The E line will be launched in the near future, so it makes sense for our Formula 1 car, our latest model, to be the F line.”

The number eight refers to the number of cylinders of Spyker’s Ferrari engine, as with the road going Spykers such as the C8 Spyder, which has an eight cylinder engine as well. The VII sub-designation (‘7’) refers to Spyker’s heritage as an aircraft manufacturer where all models were denoted by roman numerals and stood for the year the aircraft was launched. Hence the F8-VII is the Spyker F line with eight cylinders in 2007.

Spyker’s aim with the new F8-VII was to create a solid base on which to build, with the real focus is on upgrading the car through the course of the season and preparing for the future.

Key explains: ‘We set out with a plan to improve on the areas that we knew needed improving on the M16. We also tried to second guess as best we could what the 2007 tyres were going to do, and we worked hard on aero, which is of course always the fundamental thing. That way we could concentrate all our efforts on performance related areas.

‘On the mechanical side, where a system worked well – like the steering rack for example – we more or less left it alone. We’ve maintained a very high chassis, because we felt that offered a lot of volume for aero devices in that area. We had a twin keel before, and we wanted to tidy it up and make it neater and stiffer. There are little ‘bumps’ there now, so it’s effectively zero keel compared to what we had before.

‘We followed the same philosophy that we had with the M16, which was to try to keep as much volume forward as possible. That allows us to make the back as tight as we can. We have slightly lengthened the gearbox, and tried to make sure that our exhaust and radiator volume is pushed forwards, so we’ve got of bit of scope at the back of the car to do what we like. We’ve also made a concerted effort to tidy up the outside of the gearbox as well.’

Inevitably, the change of engine supplier was also a focus of attention, ‘The Ferrari engine installation was very different to that of its predecessor, so some of the guys who were concentrating on certain new areas had to start working on installing the engine. For example, the hydraulics are our responsibility once more, whereas previously Toyota looked after the system, and it came as part of the engine.

‘The back of the chassis is very different, the gearbox design is very different, the fuel system has different requirements. It’s not that it’s a complicated engine installation; it’s just for us a very different configuration compared to our previous two engine suppliers.’

While James and his team have focussed on ensuring the F8-VII is a solid car to start the season with, chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne, has focussed on putting in place measures that will drastically improve performance later in the year. “We’ve started to look at areas that will give a good step forward rather than small ones. With Aerolab on board and a restructure, we can make some real progress. I think you’ll see quite a large update to the rear suspension, and a lot of other things will change. The programme we have in the first half of the year is really geared towards making big progress in terms of aerodynamics and design.”

Spyker F1 (Images to follow later)