The team principal for GP2's BCN Competicion, Argentinean Enrique Scalabroni has a rich motor racing experience, including the running of the Asiatech engine programme in recent years. Autosport-Atlas talked to him in Imola, ahead of the first GP2 race.
DC: There have been a number of teething problems with the cars so far this weekend - why do you think that is?
Enrique Scalabroni: "I think it is just the start of a new category, and there are so many cars with big technology, and it's normal that some little problems will happen. I've worked in so many big companies in Formula One and Le Mans and all the categories, and each time a new car comes out there are always problems to be solved.
"For example the transmission with electrical hydraulics was created by Ferrari, and after two years came another team and then another and after then five years later practically everyone had it, but it still took two or three years to solve the problem. Difficulties in motor racing always happen because we are forcing so much and working at the maximum, and each time you go half a second faster then some other part will fail - it's normal. We take an engineering approach rather than cry, and analyse why this might happen just to go forward."
DC: The problem in the first session was a problem with the fuse in the ECU...
Scalabroni: "I think it was an electrical problem but we didn't have it, so I don't know what it was. We had only in qualifying [on Ernesto Viso's car] the problem in the end with the fuel pump which wasn't working correctly, and we needed to change it."
DC: Viso showed me the problem on his car, where the exhaust piping was blue and on Yoshimoto's it wasn't, and of course the exhaust exit was black and looked like it had been running diesel. There were three guys with this problem yesterday - is this just another problem on the car?
Scalabroni: "Yes, but we can't do anything because that is not set by us - maybe it's fuel consumption, maybe it is just a difference from one engine to the other. We called them to come and we worked with them, but I've seen that happen in so many categories where something is working with one car but not the other, and you have less quantity of air coming in or sometimes the filter, which is one of the things we've found and we've changed on the Viso car, was too dirty and that might be one of the reasons why the mixture was not correct, because the filter is closed.
"Sometimes it's easy to accuse people about a problem, but from my point of view, from an engineering point of view, things happen and we've found this filter and bought a new one. We are now working on the life timing of the parts, and maybe we'll look at the filter and say this can cause a problem to the engine so we have to know after three races or so we have to change.
"But sometimes it's not something like that - in Barcelona he [Viso] went off and there was a lot of dust, and maybe he caught a lot of dust because of the airbox. We look at things and then analyse them - this is the engineering approach. We must be precise, because this is a racing car."
DC: Today there is a rolling start rather than a standing start, and I'm told this is because there is a problem with the start procedure with the cars and they might end up with a lot of cars stalled on the grid.
Scalabroni: "Well you have to look at two possibilities - one is drivers with no experience, and how many times do you see drivers in Formula One with their arm in the air with a problem? That's one, and the other may be that something can happen in the mechanicals or the hydraulic pump. To help with the learning of the teams and the drivers then maybe it is better to have a rolling start - I think it's very logical, and a good thing to do."
DC: But they can't have a rolling start forever.
Scalabroni: "No, but I think we'll see it now because it's the first time the category starts. Sometimes what happens, and it doesn't matter if I am a very good driver and have good starting ability and a few drivers are not - it's like a penalty, with Maradona or Baggio or someone in the World Cup and has missed a penalty in the final. This can happen because it is a race here, and what happens if someone stalls an engine and the others start very well in the back?
"It's a problem for the category, a problem for everybody, but it is not a problem created by the gearbox - it would be easy to accuse the gearbox or the transmission, but drivers need to learn, the whole category needs to learn to start as a normal start, and I think this is better to have the race and then see how things develop, drivers and cars and the race itself. If it's a little thing then we have to learn, and we do have a few little problems, but much less than I thought we would."