Andre de Cortanze Q&A

The team may not be making its Grand Prix debut until March 2002, but in the mean time it's full speed ahead at Toyota's F1 facility in Cologne in preparation for next year's test programme with Allan McNish and Mika Salo. Technical director Andre de Cortanze is charged with putting together the team that will design and build the Japanese marque's first Grand Prix car. By coincidence the Frenchman was also involved in the birth of Renault's F1 team in 1977; later he was responsible for the successful Peugeot sportscar programme, and had a brief spell in F1 with Sauber and Prost in the mid-90s before joining Toyota. Adam Cooper asked him about the team's prospects.

Andre de Cortanze Q&A



"My career has changed a little bit in-between! If I have to take a brief look back, the 10 years I spent with Peugeot was absolutely necessary to start this project now, because that made me aware about managing a project and managing people."



"Yes, I have three years' experience, but that is a very small experience compared to the challenge. Experience is normally a good and bad thing. The good thing is that you cannot make mistakes, but the bad thing is there's temptation to do again what you already have done. That's not what we want."



"For me, it's to make the people work together nicely. It's not building the car. The judgement will be very quick; the car is fast or not. But if we don't have a fast enough car, to make the people find a way to improve the car and not give up, for me this is the most difficult part. I'm nervous about that."



"Yes, that's one of the strengths of the team."



"One third of 380. Not a lot from F1, but nearly everybody has racing experience."



"It's not finished yet, but that was one of the key points that we discussed right at the beginning with Japan - a composite facility, dynos and wind tunnels."



"Team spirit again; better communication, quick reaction."



"I believe that the Le Mans car was one of the things that decided Japan to do this. They said maybe racing on the track is something we can do now."



"That it is difficult to answer. We are still in discussion with the FIA as to whether we're considered like entrants or not. In this case we have to follow the FIA regulations about tests. If not we are free. That is under discussion."



"I know Allan very well, so I have a good understanding of him. Obviously Allan is a fast driver. Regarding Mika, I have never worked with him, but his career speaks for him."



"We were not looking for that. But it cannot be a disadvantage, that's for sure!"



"Yes, but Cologne is quite a central position in Europe. I believe it cannot be more difficult to be in Cologne than in the middle of the UK. OK, the racing world is in the UK, but I feel that it is a small disadvantage. We are close to nearly all the circuits, and the airport of Cologne is quite well placed."



"You know, I am a very motivational guy, and whether it is a big team or a small team, I have always the same pressure."



"I have made some other exciting things in my life!"

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Ask Nigel: November 1
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