Recently appointed Renault test driver Allan McNish talks about his new role and his committment to his job. Q: Allan, it was quite a surprise to see you announced as test driver How did the Renault F1 Team get in touch with you? I already...
Recently appointed Renault test driver Allan McNish talks about his new role and his committment to his job.
Q: Allan, it was quite a surprise to see you announced as test driver How did the Renault F1 Team get in touch with you?
I already know the team - I've known Flavio for a long time, since I tested for Benetton at the start of the 90s. When Renault made the decision to adopt the Heathrow Agreement, Flavio approached me. He was looking for an experienced driver and after two years with Toyota, I fitted the bill.
Q: What impression do you have of Renault F1 at the moment?
Respect: the progress made by the Team over the last two seasons warrants that much. What strikes me above all is how serious the organisation is: every detail has been thought about, tested and refined.
Q: Your role with the Team will be quite specific...
Yes it will: even if I'm not a race driver, the responsibility of two hours' practice on every Grand Prix circuit makes my position as test driver something unique. I will be in the paddock, under race conditions and as well as that, every minute spent on the circuit will be important. Both physically and mentally, I'm preparing for the new season exactly the same as if I were competing in every race.
Q: Just a few weeks ago, did you think you had turned your back on F1?
I was disappointed by Toyota's decision not to retain me for 2003. I feel I have lots of potential, and I would have improved more in 2003. That's all in the past though. I prefer to look forward, and Renault is a great opportunity. I knew that my CV still had something to offer an F1 team.
Q: How would you summarise your strengths?
As a driver, I think I am very strong technically. I've got plenty of experience, both in F1 (having driven for Toyota and tested for McLaren and Benetton) and in sportscar racing (notably, with Audi and Porsche). I'm a very capable, hardworking, highly-motivated racing driver; 100% committed to whatever I am doing.
Q: A Scottish trait, perhaps?
Absolutely! We don't like finishing second...