We've got some improvements for Spa - Gascoyne

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Just one week after the Italian Grand Prix the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team will be back on track for the last European race of the season, the Belgian Grand Prix. After one year's absence from the calendar, the Spa-Francorchamps circuit makes a popular return to the 2007 championship.

Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer
What's your feeling about the debut of the B-spec at Monza?

"It was a bit of a mixed bag, there were good and bad bits. I was disappointed with qualifying. All year we've struggled to get one lap out of the car, and last weekend was no exception. I think we felt there was quite a bit more in the car than we got out in qualifying, and I think our race pace and Friday pace confirmed that. In fact our race pace was more competitive than we've been all year."

Was that a bit of a gamble, going with two stops?

"Strategy-wise, we did two stops, and there were a lot of people in front of us doing one stop, so you have to get in front of them in the opening laps, which unfortunately with the safety car we couldn't. But in the second half of the race our pace was where we expected it to be. We wanted to be quite aggressive, and it can work at Monza as you've got good straightline speed, but in the end we weren't able to get past anyone and it didn't really work out as we planned. All the same I think it was the right choice. It's not an easy circuit to go to with a new car and two rookie drivers, but we got two finishes under our belt, and our race pace was reasonable and definitely a step forward. It gave us some good data with which to move on to Spa and beyond."

Were you pleased with the reliability of the new package?

"Yes, getting two cars to the finish was good. Sakon put in a very good performance, finishing 10 seconds down on his team mate, by far his most competitive finish of his F1 career. It was a good effort from him and he matched the pace of Adrian all weekend, so there are a lot of positives."

Will Spa be more indicative of the step you've made with the B-spec, especially as the team tested there in July?

"I think most of the gain comes from aero, and at Monza you're just taking all the wing off and running it with no downforce, so you don't really see the benefits. We've got some improvements for Spa, including some updates coming on the diffuser, so we always said that this was just the start of the process. It is moving forward, and Spa will be better."

Were you encouraged by Adrian's pace in the rain at the test?

"Yes, he was quick in testing, and the car should be noticeably better now. Hopefully we'll see the true potential of the car in Spa."

Obviously it can rain at Spa and anything can happen. As you proved in Germany, the team is more than capable of getting the decision calls right. Do you see it as an opportunity?

"I think we proved at the Nurburgring that if there's rain or it's mixed up we're pretty quick at making decisions in that situation. So we wouldn't mind some typical Spa weather, on race day or even in qualifying. I think we'll be able to make the most of it. It's a good opportunity to capitalise on and if it does happen, we'll be up there."