Dutch Formula One team Spyker have confirmed today their split with Christijan Albers. The news comes after much speculation surrounding the pilot (himself Dutch as well) and his struggle to keep up with rookie team mate Adrian Sutil caused concern with the management. Christijan had become a long term driver of the outfit as it changed from Jordan to Midland (when Albers was brought onboard) and then onto to Spyker. The marriage between the two parties seemed to be a match made in heaven. But according to the team, lack of payment from one of the sponsors of Albers has meant that the two have to go their separate ways.
This has been a very difficult decision. Christijan has started to find some form in the car, but the team’s ambitious development programme has been seriously compromised by non-payment by one of his sponsors and we are faced with no other option. Colin Kolles.
By terminating the contract with Christijan and the subsequent entering into a new contract it enables Spyker F1 Ltd. to safeguard its strong financial footing needed to fulfil its technical and commercial goals. We do not expect this will have any adverse effect on Spyker F1’s financial result this year.
We would also like to stress this decision has nothing to do with Christijan’s recent performances – we still have faith in his contribution as a driver – but the long-term future of the team is of paramount importance. Michiel Mol.
A replacement for Christijan has yet to be announced, but with four test drivers on their books, the team have a fair few options. Unfortunately, neither Fairuz Fauzy, Giedo Van Der Garde, Adrian Valles or Markus Winkelhock have any racing experience though. With Albers they had a seasoned racer on their books to compliment new driver Sutil, so the team will likely chose another driver from outside of the squad. According to many sources, ex-Jordan driver and current Williams tester Narain Karthikeyan could be in with a shout of the drive, as could Formula One veteran Jos Verstappen (unlikely) and current Honda tester Christian Klien.
Colin had a chat with me at Silverstone. I’ll be delighted to get back to racing, but I’m definitely enjoying my time at Williams. Narain Karthikeyan.
There are also a number of drivers currently under contract to teams further up the grid who may want to seize the opportunity to get some racing practice in for the future benefit. BMWs Sebastian Vettel will eventually end up racing, as will Nelson Piquet Jr. from Renault. It isn’t inconceivable to see one of these test drivers in the orange car at the German Grand Prix the weekend after next on a temporary loan contract.
Confirmation is expected soon, possibly even by the end of the week.