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. Friday 1 July 2016

  2. Three drivers handed GP2 grid penalties 19:34

    Three drivers handed GP2 grid penalties

    Three GP2 drivers have been handed three-place grid penalties after a series of incidents during qualifying for the Feature Race…

    GP2
  3. 18:18

    Latest F1 photos: Friday at Spielberg

    F1
  4. Vettel gets grid penalty for new gearbox 18:16

    Vettel gets grid penalty for new gearbox

    Sebastian Vettel will receive a five-place grid penalty at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix after Ferrari was forced to fit a…

    F1
  5. McLaren duo look to exploit possible rain 17:17

    McLaren duo look to exploit possible rain

    Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso both feel that rain will provide McLaren with its best chance of a strong result at the…

    F1
  6. Hembery: Sub-1m06s possible in qualifying 16:58

    Hembery: Sub-1m06s possible in qualifying

    Pirelli's Paul Hembery reckons a sub-1m06s lap could be possible in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying, providing the weather stays…

    F1
  7. Rosberg backs Red Bull Ring changes 16:33

    Rosberg backs Red Bull Ring changes

    Nico Rosberg has backed the resurfacing and kerb additions at the Red Bull Ring after the first day of practice for the Austrian…

    F1
  8. Verstappen: Walls better than new kerbs 15:50

    Verstappen: Walls better than new kerbs

    Max Verstappen feels that walls would be a more effective anti-cutting measure than the new exit kerbs at the Red Bull…

    F1
  9. Sirotkin edges Giovinazzi for Austria pole 15:30

    Sirotkin edges Giovinazzi for Austria pole

    ART Grand Prix Sergey Sirotkin claimed his second GP2 Series pole position of the season as he edged out Antonio Giovinazzi…

    GP2
  10. Vettel: Brake issue caused late FP2 spin 15:25

    Vettel: Brake issue caused late FP2 spin

    Sebastian Vettel says a brake distribution issue caused his spin during the closing stages of Friday's second practice session…

    F1
  11. Dragon Racing retains Duval, d'Ambrosio 14:57

    Dragon Racing retains Duval, d'Ambrosio

    Dragon Racing has confirmed that Loïc Duval and Jérôme d'Ambrosio will stay at the team for the 2016/17 Formula E…

    FE
  12. 14:39

    Austrian Grand Prix: Full Practice 2 results

    F1
  13. Rosberg fastest in rain-interrupted FP2 14:37

    Rosberg fastest in rain-interrupted FP2

    Mercedes driver and championship leader Nico Rosberg again topped the timesheets during Friday afternoon's second practice…

    F1
  14. Pirelli announces Monza tyre compounds 14:04

    Pirelli announces Monza tyre compounds

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has announced its compound choices for the Italian Grand Prix, with the red-marked Super Soft…

    F1
  15. Drivers reprimanded for FP1 incidents 13:46

    Drivers reprimanded for FP1 incidents

    Manor drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson have been given reprimands following separate…

    F1
  16. Sirotkin to test for Renault at Silverstone 13:13

    Sirotkin to test for Renault at Silverstone

    GP2 frontrunner Sergey Sirotkin will receive a day's worth of running with Renault during the post-British Grand Prix test, the…

    F1
  17. FIA releases 2016/17 Formula E entry list 12:46

    FIA releases 2016/17 Formula E entry list

    Formula E's entry list for the 2016/17 season, featuring 10 teams, has been released by the FIA. Eight of the 10 outfits on…

    FE
  18. Ricciardo honoured with home grandstand 11:41

    Ricciardo honoured with home grandstand

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has had a grandstand named after him at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne as a gift from…

    F1
  19. Ferrari spends another engine token 11:20

    Ferrari spends another engine token

    Ferrari used up another of its engine development tokens ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix. Although the focus of Ferrari's…

    F1
  20. 10:37

    Austrian Grand Prix: Full Practice 1 results

    F1
  21. Rosberg sets record pace in first practice 10:35

    Rosberg sets record pace in first practice

    Nico Rosberg posted the fastest ever lap of the Red Bull Ring during Friday morning's first free practice session for the…

    F1
  22. Frijns stays with Andretti in Formula E 09:36

    Frijns stays with Andretti in Formula E

    Amlin Andretti has confirmed that Robin Frijns will remain with the team in Formula E next season. Frijns, 24, made his…

    FE
  23. 08:52

    Follow first practice for the Austrian GP!

    F1
  24. Button: Tyre pressures 'unbelievably high' 08:12

    Button: Tyre pressures 'unbelievably high'

    Jenson Button has described Pirelli's mandatory minimum tyre pressures for the Austrian Grand Prix as "unbelievably high", and…

    F1
  25. Bottas plans to be 'more involved' in future 07:32

    Bottas plans to be 'more involved' in future

    Valtteri Bottas says he plans to be more involved in discussions regarding his Formula 1 future moving forward, but has made…

    F1
  26. Hamilton braced for engine grid penalties 06:12

    Hamilton braced for engine grid penalties

    Lewis Hamilton says that he is bracing himself for engine-related grid penalties over the remainder of the season after taking…

    F1
  27. Video of the Day: Red Bull Ring hot lap 05:22

    Video of the Day: Red Bull Ring hot lap

    Join Daniel Ricciardo for a hot lap of the Red Bull Ring ahead of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.

    F1
  28. Thursday 30 June 2016

  29. 19:03

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday at Spielberg

    F1
  30. Ferrari presents updated halo device 19:01

    Ferrari presents updated halo device

    Ferrari has publicly debuted an updated version of its 'halo' device, as Formula 1 inches closer to introducing increased…

    F1
  31. Sainz Jr. sure top team chance will come 17:08

    Sainz Jr. sure top team chance will come

    Carlos Sainz Jr. is adamant that an opportunity with a leading Formula 1 team will come, following confirmation that he will…

    F1
  32. Alonso: Busy period will test McLaren 16:50

    Alonso: Busy period will test McLaren

    Fernando Alonso says the upcoming busy period in the Formula 1 calendar will provide an all-round test of the competitiveness of…

    F1
  33. Lowes 'astonished' by Aprilia test debut 16:37

    Lowes 'astonished' by Aprilia test debut

    Sam Lowes says he was left "astonished" by his first experience of MotoGP machinery as he tested Aprilia's RS-GP during a…

    MotoGP
  34. Ricciardo confirms Red Bull 2018 deal 14:29

    Ricciardo confirms Red Bull 2018 deal

    Daniel Ricciardo has formally confirmed that he will remain with Red Bull until at least the end of 2018, after Team Principal…

    F1
  35. Bottas eyes Williams podium challenge 14:05

    Bottas eyes Williams podium challenge

    Valtteri Bottas is confident that Williams can challenge for the podium positions at the Austrian Grand Prix as it bids to…

    F1
  36. Ericsson: Sauber outlook more positive 13:59

    Ericsson: Sauber outlook more positive

    Marcus Ericsson believes the outlook for Sauber is more positive, having negotiated "the most difficult part" of a troublesome…

    F1
  37. Haryanto still unclear over F1 future 13:50

    Haryanto still unclear over F1 future

    Rio Haryanto says he is still uncertain whether he will finish the current Formula 1 campaign with Manor but understands that…

    F1
  38. Haas opts to switch focus to 2017 car 12:24

    Haas opts to switch focus to 2017 car

    Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner says that the rookie outfit has now switched the majority of its focus to developing its…

    F1
  39. Video: Formula 1 driver eye-tracking 12:08

    Video: Formula 1 driver eye-tracking

    Explore the skills and reaction times of Nico Hülkenberg as he wears special eye-tracking glasses.

    F1
  40. Pérez not distracted by Ferrari rumours 12:03

    Pérez not distracted by Ferrari rumours

    Force India driver Sergio Pérez insists he will not become distracted across a busy period of four races in five weekends as…

    F1
  41. IndyCar linked with Surfers Paradise return 08:40

    IndyCar linked with Surfers Paradise return

    IndyCar has been linked with a potential return to Surfers Paradise in Australia, eight years after the US-based category last…

    Indy
  42. Mick Schumacher will not 'rush' career 07:42

    Mick Schumacher will not 'rush' career

    Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael, says that he will not be "rushed" as he attempts to…

    F1
more news