Wasted opportunity?



On paper, it all looks so promising: Reynard 93Ds, Mader DFV engines (which have been successful in two of the year’s opening three races) and two of the most naturally gifted young French drivers of the modern generation in Emmanuel Collard (above) and Jules Boullion. Yet Dominique Delestre’s Apomatox team, which finished 1992 with a flourish, is floundering in the nether regions of the grid. Why should this be? We asked Richard Divila, who has years of experience in F1 and F3000 and is now chief engineer on Collard’s car.

You really seem to be struggling at the moment. Can you put a finger on the problem?

I wish I could. In the first instance, I think we concentrated too much on testing at Magny-Cours (the team’s home circuit). We’ve set some good times there, but we just seem to have lost our way a bit at other circuits. It all went wrong at Donington, really, from the moment Emmanuel had his accident in practice. He’s had a couple more since then, and that’s put a lot of pressure on Jules. With Emmanuel spending less time on the track, Jules is the one who has been evaluating race set-ups, and he doesn’t have the same level of experience.

Is there any apparent reason for this string of mishaps?

One of the main things has been a recurrent braking problem. It’s afflicted us since the start of the year, and with all the other things that have happened since we haven’t really had chance to catch up, and to get to the bottom of it. The time taken rebuilding the cars after the accidents has certainly set us back.

On the surface, you have two of the best young drivers in the business. How do you rate them?

Very good, really. They are both impressively quick.

So what’s the next step if they want to remind the public at large of that?

Well we’ve got a seven-week break in the calendar now, after Pau. We’re all going to take three days off, then we’re going to get back to the factory, hopefully refreshed, and work hard to try and rectify the situation.