Exclusive interview with Christijan Albers

Exclusive interview with Christijan Albers

5 August 2014 – Christijan Albers recently returned to Formula 1 as Caterham's new team boss, following a takeover by a group of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors. GPUpdate.net caught up with the former Minardi, Midland and Spyker driver at the start of the summer break to discuss his time at the outfit so far and what the future holds.

How was your first month as team boss?
It was interesting. You get an impression of a lot of things during those first days. I was pretty impressed with everything going on at the factory in Leafield. I was also very impressed with the way the factory has been set up and all the people who work there. What I also noticed was that many people are a little bit depressed because they haven't achieved anything in four years. People were struggling with their motivation, but we are now trying to breathe new life into the team.

On a less encouraging note, there have been some redundancies. What can you say about that?
I do not want to comment much on this, because it is a sensitive issue. What I would like to say is that we applied a new structure to the team, in which I am very confident, with John Iley as Technical Director, Keith Barclay as Chief Designer and Miodrag Kotur as Team Manager, beside myself. I think this team can be very successful and this is, in my opinion, the most important thing.

How did you get involved in the Caterham sale?

I have not worked for the past two years, due to family circumstances. The situation at home is now such that I can work again. Since April, I was having a little look around and then this opportunity arrived. Colin Kolles, a consultant in the project and somebody with whom I've previously worked, contacted me. He saw a role for me in this team, because on the one hand I have a lot of business experience – I have several successful businesses – and on the other hand a lot of technical know-how of a Formula 1 car.

This must mean that you will not be racing in the World Endurance Championship or Formula E?
Correct. I think you should always be realistic in life. I have been very successful as a driver. I earned a good living from racing, but at a certain point you should stop. I also became more succesful in business than in racing. In addition, after 18 years of racing I was ready for something different. This is a new challenge, a completely different kind of life. That's exciting.

Can you tell us about your business successes?
I'd rather not talk about this. I always prefer to play the role of the underdog, you know. I don't think it's very interesting. But they are nice companies that are active around the world. I'm no longer involved on a daily basis. Each company has its own CEO and runs itself.

What are the goals for the rest of the season?
Our goal is obviously to move forward in the championship. It would be great if we can succeed in this. We need to succeed. This will not be easy but we are willing to fight hard and do everything that is necessary.

What is possible under the new ownership, in the long term?
We have been working hard on the car for 2015. We'll have the car in the windtunnel soon. We are also working hard on upgrades for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. It's a race against the clock. We now have a summer break of two weeks, which doesn't make it easier for us. We will spend as much time as possible to improve the car.

Is it true that the car will get a new nose?
We will see at Spa.

How is the search for new sponsors going?
We are working very hard on this. Our focus as a team is more on business-to-business, linking businesses with each other. I think there is much more out there for us to get.

Do you expect support from Dutch businesses?
I hope that there will be. I hope Dutch companies see that Formula 1 offers a good platform for making contact with other companies and attracting more business.

Is your future with the team good news for reserve driver Robin Frijns?
Of course, I have more of a feeling for a Dutch driver. Let's just say that Robin can still improve in many ways. I think he should focus even better on that. I have not seen him in the car enough to say more about him. We'll see what the future brings.

Does Max Verstappen have your attention?
He is performing very well at the moment. We have to see how well he does in the next series he races in. According to rumours he has signed a contract with Red Bull. I do not know if that story is true, but he is doing a super job. I will follow him for sure. I am always interested in young talents who are fast. Max is certainly one.

Can you guarantee that Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson will finish the season?
It's very simple. As long as the drivers are performing, they will stay in the car.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Thursday 29 January 2015

  2. 16:11

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  3. Mercedes reveals first look at F1 W06 16:07

    Mercedes reveals first look at F1 W06

    Mercedes has provided a glimpse of its new Formula 1 challenger, the F1 W06 Hybrid, after shaking it down at Silverstone on...

    F1
  4. Button: McLaren motivation higher than ever 13:35

    Button: McLaren motivation higher than ever

    Jenson Button says McLaren's motivation to succeed is higher than ever ahead of the 2015 season. McLaren released...

    F1
  5. Alonso admits pre-season 'won't be easy' 12:46

    Alonso admits pre-season 'won't be easy'

    Fernando Alonso has admitted that McLaren's pre-season "won't be easy", as the team embarks on its latest engine partnership...

    F1
  6. 12:10

    Photos: The new McLaren MP4-30

    F1
  7. Video: McLaren unveils 2015 challenger 12:09

    Video: McLaren unveils 2015 challenger

    McLaren has presented its new Honda-powered MP4-30, ahead of its track debut at Jerez on Sunday.

    F1
  8. McLaren presents Honda-powered MP4-30 12:04

    McLaren presents Honda-powered MP4-30

    McLaren has unveiled its new Honda-powered MP4-30, to be driven by an all-World Champion driver line-up of Fernando Alonso...

    F1
  9. Video: Sauber's new C34 is fired up 09:47

    Video: Sauber's new C34 is fired up

    Sauber has fired up its new Ferrari-powered C34 ahead of pre-season testing, which gets underway at Jerez on Sunday. While...

    F1
  10. Nato switches to GP2 with Arden 09:46

    Nato switches to GP2 with Arden

    Norman Nato has moved over from Formula Renault 3.5 to GP2 with Arden for 2015. The Frenchman, 22, spent the past two...

    GP2
  11. Video: Back to the Future, McLaren style 09:27

    Video: Back to the Future, McLaren style

    Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button step into a McLaren time machine.

    F1
  12. Barnhart returns as IndyCar race director 09:25

    Barnhart returns as IndyCar race director

    Brian Barnhart has returned to the position of IndyCar race director for the 2015 season. Barnhart will lead the...

    Indy
  13. Video of the Day: Yamaha presents 2015 bike 05:12

    Video of the Day: Yamaha presents 2015 bike

    Yamaha presented its new YZR-M1 for the 2015 MotoGP season in Madrid on Wednesday.

    MotoGP
  14. Wednesday 28 January 2015

  15. Feature: Ricciardo, Kvyat ready to lead Red Bull 16:07

    Feature: Ricciardo, Kvyat ready to lead Red Bull

    Red Bull was the team to beat between 2010 and 2013, enjoying four double title-winning seasons. But with the departure of...

    F1
  16. Video: Räikkönen gets seated in the SF15-T 13:43

    Video: Räikkönen gets seated in the SF15-T

    Ferrari has released a video of Kimi Räikkönen in the new SF15-T, which will be launched on Friday.

    F1
  17. 12:23

    Photos: Yamaha unveils new MotoGP bike

    MotoGP
  18. Yamaha presents 2015 bike in Madrid 12:20

    Yamaha presents 2015 bike in Madrid

    Yamaha became the first MotoGP team to unveil its 2015 bike in Madrid on Wednesday. Riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge...

    MotoGP
  19. Force India elects to skip Jerez test 11:16

    Force India elects to skip Jerez test

    Force India has opted against attending the first pre-season test at Jerez with its 2014 machine, and will instead focus its...

    F1
  20. Malja graduates to FR3.5 with Strakka 11:00

    Malja graduates to FR3.5 with Strakka

    Gustav Malja will make the step up to Formula Renault 3.5 with Strakka Racing for 2015. The Swede, 19, has spent the past...

    FR 3.5
  21. Williams signs Lynn as development driver 10:16

    Williams signs Lynn as development driver

    Williams has signed GP3 champion Alex Lynn as its development driver for the 2015 season. Lynn's primary role will be to...

    F1
  22. Kvyat out to emulate team-mate Ricciardo 10:01

    Kvyat out to emulate team-mate Ricciardo

    New Red Bull recruit Daniil Kvyat believes that he can emulate the achievements of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo after stepping...

    F1
  23. Renault makes 'fundamental' engine changes 09:54

    Renault makes 'fundamental' engine changes

    Renault says it has made "fundamental changes" to its Formula 1 engine over the winter period, as it bids to close in on...

    F1
  24. Ricciardo eyes 'proper title fight' in 2015 09:14

    Ricciardo eyes 'proper title fight' in 2015

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo hopes he can challenge Mercedes' dominance and enjoy a "proper title fight" during the 2015...

    F1
  25. Ferrari: Guidelines for new SF15-T simple 08:35

    Ferrari: Guidelines for new SF15-T simple

    Ferrari Technical Director James Allison says the guidelines for the new SF15-T were clear as its predecessor was simply...

    F1
  26. Video of the Day: Hamilton talks fashion 05:06

    Video of the Day: Hamilton talks fashion

    World Champion Lewis Hamilton answers questions at the Mercedes-Benz Champions of Fashion film shoot.

    F1
  27. Tuesday 27 January 2015

  28. 20:17

    Photos: Red Bull drivers take to the slopes

    F1
  29. Horner: New Red Bull not ready yet 18:45

    Horner: New Red Bull not ready yet

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has revealed the outfit is yet to complete its new Formula 1 car, and that there is...

    F1
  30. Video: Allison on the new Ferrari SF15-T 17:32

    Video: Allison on the new Ferrari SF15-T

    Technical Director James Allison talks about the new Ferrari SF15-T, ahead of its official launch on Friday.

    F1
  31. Sauber confirms C34 launch date 16:03

    Sauber confirms C34 launch date

    Sauber has announced that it will unveil its new challenger, the C34, on January 30. The Ferrari-powered car will be...

    F1
  32. Sørensen signs with Carlin for 2015 15:13

    Sørensen signs with Carlin for 2015

    Lotus F1 Team junior driver Marco Sørensen will compete in GP2 this year with Carlin. The Dane, 24, who contested a part...

    GP2
  33. Video: Kubica survives massive Monte off 13:30

    Video: Kubica survives massive Monte off

    Former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica survives a massive off on day two of Rallye Monte Carlo. The Pole did not finish,...

    Misc
  34. McLaren fires up MP4-30 for first time 10:17

    McLaren fires up MP4-30 for first time

    McLaren fired up the MP4-30, its 2015 Formula 1 challenger, for the first time on Monday, as the team gears up for a new era...

    F1
  35. Lotus hopeful of return to form in 2015 09:28

    Lotus hopeful of return to form in 2015

    Lotus CEO Matthew Carter says the squad is ready to move back up the Formula 1 grid, having endured one of its worst...

    F1
  36. Video of the Day: Force India behind the scenes 05:06

    Video of the Day: Force India behind the scenes

    Go behind-the-scenes with Force India in their 'making of' video of the squad's 2015 launch in Mexico City

    F1
  37. Monday 26 January 2015

  38. 14:17

    Photos: Lotus unveils E23 Hybrid

    F1
  39. Lotus releases first images of E23 Hybrid 14:10

    Lotus releases first images of E23 Hybrid

    Lotus has revealed the first images of its Mercedes-powered E23 Hybrid, which the team hopes will propel it back up the...

    F1
  40. Palmer: Lotus reserve deal a 'no brainer' 13:25

    Palmer: Lotus reserve deal a 'no brainer'

    Reigning GP2 Champion Jolyon Palmer says joining Lotus as its reserve driver was a "no brainer", due to the amount of track...

    F1
  41. Ferrari reveals name of 2015 challenger 11:36

    Ferrari reveals name of 2015 challenger

    Ferrari has revealed the name of its 2015 challenger, ahead of its unveiling at the end of the week. The team will...

    F1
  42. Bottas to debut Williams FW37 at Jerez 08:53

    Bottas to debut Williams FW37 at Jerez

    Williams has confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will give the new Mercedes-powered FW37 its public debut on the first day of...

    F1
  43. Video of the Day: Rosberg's torture machine 05:08

    Video of the Day: Rosberg's torture machine

    Nico Rosberg demonstrates his 'torture chamber' as he trains for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign.

    F1
  44. Sunday 25 January 2015

  45. Renault targeting 'at least five wins' in 2015 16:36

    Renault targeting 'at least five wins' in 2015

    Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul expects the French manufacturer to halve its engine deficit to pacesetters...

    F1
more news