Q & A with de Orleans Borbon

Q: After five races, how have you found the GP2 series so far?

Q & A with de Orleans Borbon

Racing Engineering team principal, Alfonso de Orleans Borbon: "This series is very, very competitive - of all the Championships we've ever raced in - and we've raced in all sorts of Championships, not just the World Series but GTs and Dakar and other things - I'd say by far GP2 is the most competitive Championship we've ever raced in. The run down would be that not only are the teams the best that are currently out there outside of Formula One, but so are the drivers.

"But the GP2 Championship is known as a very tough, many hour - it's not Formula 3000 anymore, it is a tough, lot of work Championship. When we ask people 'would you like to come and race with us?' they say: 'do you have an opening in your F3 team'!"

Q: Do you think the series has mostly put their problems behind them now?

AdOB: "Yes. There are still a few glitches that need to be ironed out, the typical gremlins that are still sort of running around the car that have to be caught and ironed out, but mostly the main problems have been solved and most of the cars are running quite well. There are a couple of little electronic problems but that's mostly to do with the software, but we can't really do anything about that as it's probably Magneti Marelli's job.

"Other problems, such as the brakes - Brembo have been fantastic. But I think the heat is probably a little on the high side and we need to cool down the calipers a little because it's causing the fluids to boil and we've got to purge them between each session and it's sometimes causing a bit of a long pedal. But I'm sure we'll have new calipers next year and that will sort that out. Engine cooling - we've still got to see something about, but that's probably just bigger sidepod openings and bigger radiators, and that will come during the season.

"But it's not really causing problems - the cars aren't really stopping in the race because of engine heat - so to us it doesn't really bother us in that respect. Gearbox - I don't know about other people but we haven't had any gearbox problems since the first two tests, cross our fingers - I guess all it takes is to check your gearbox properly and do the work!"

Q: Your team team has also had a few problems. Are you confident they are mostly sorted out?

AdOB: "Yes - we don't think we're going to have any more problems. We've got one of the misfortunes compared to the former Formula 3000 teams in that we've got one driver who hasn't driven on any of these tracks other than Barcelona and Monza, and this team hasn't been to any of the other tracks either, so the problem is we're pretty much learning everything as the races go by.

"So if you look at everything together we're actually doing quite well - if we get a podium we'll be quite happy, and if we win a race we'll be ecstatic. It's next year that we've got to be really pushing because we'll have no more excuses - we've got loads of excuses this year! We're up against some of the best teams around, so if we do well we'll be happy - it's more of a learning curve this year; a very steep learning curve."

Q: How do you set up for a circuit you've never seen before?

AdOB: "We've got some references. We ask F3 teams and people from other Championships, and we trade off data from other circuits - people who want data from Barcelona we can exchange information with them, and things like that. Unfortunately they're not very accurate because they've got nothing to do with GP2, so in that respect it's a little tough - ground effect, for example, is a bit different from F3. It's an amalgamation of many things put together and then just a bit of luck I guess! And we just try very hard, listen to the drivers after they've been on track, and then see what happens."

Q: What are your expectations from this weekend?

AdOB: "I'd love a podium! But both drivers in the points for both races would be great. We're there, really; we've got a car that is competitive, and we saw Neel [Jani] have a great race in Monaco, although it was a pity about his brakes, and then when Borja [Garcia] just stopped I thought I was going to jump in front of the next car to come down the pit straight, but that's racing, I guess! But the two drivers are good and the team is there, so if we can get the set up right it should be okay."

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Series FIA F2
Author David Cameron
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