Neil Allenby catches up with Franklin F1's team principal to talk about testing and the season ahead.
Neil Allenby: It’s nice to chat with you Jamie, so first of all; World Drivers and World Constructors champions, how does that make you feel?
Jamie Franklin: It's an amazing feeling. I've said in the past that we never expected to be contenders last year, we were merely trying to build a foundation for a long-term future, but given how hard we all worked, it's awesome to have won both titles as a culmination of it all.
NA: Was losing Nathaniel Powers to Downton a blow to the team?
JF: That's a difficult question. Whilst there is no doubt that Nathaniel drove fantastically for the team, I think, with the money he was asking for, that the negatives would have outweighed the positives. I'm not saying he's not great, or that we wouldn't have liked to have kept him, but I do feel that he became too greedy in the end.
NA: the JF-02 is an evolution of the 2013 car, why not an all new design for 2014?
JF: Part of the reason that the JF-01 was so successful, was due to its simplistic design. We didn't want to create something, which would take thousands of kilometres of testing just in order to figure out if it worked the way we had expected. Due to that, the aerodynamics were quite basic in some areas, but the stability of the flow was always very good. Because of this, the car had a lot of potential for development.
The regulations for this year are fairly similar, so it was always going to be more beneficial to use evolution as opposed to revolution. You only need to look at Team 23 to see that we made the right choice.
NA: How do you feel testing went?
JF: We were able to get a good number of laps on the new car, and although we don't know the fuel loads or plans of the other teams, we feel that we can be quietly confident. I don't think we can fight right at the front just yet, but the main thing is that there were no major issues and we understand the car. That in itself will enable us to carry through a development plan for the season ahead.
NA: Could you tell us about your technical partnership with Ingram GP?
JF: Of course. Will and I got to talking last year, as everyone knows already, and we decided that it was in the best interest of both teams that Ingram GP would have use of some of our facilities. In addition, it has enabled us to have a place to get Ruiz some drive time, before the season started, and with Honda on board, we were able to get double the amount of data to ensure better reliability...or at least, that's the hope.
NA: Who are your favourites for the title this year?
JF: Using last season as a reference point, I'd have to say Scuderia Rossi are favourites for the title. Although Liverpool look to be a little ahead of the pack at the moment, their development wasn't as strong as some other teams. Scuderia Rossi looked strong for most of the year, apart from the very end, so to me, they have the edge.
NA: Thank you for taking the time to chat and I wish you all the best for the season!