McNish concerned by pay drivers

McNish concerned by pay drivers

Allan McNish is concerned by the amount of young drivers who pay to gain their seats in Formula One and believes the situation is devaluing the sport. F1 is supposed to be the best of the best and McNish thinks inexperienced drivers being able to...

Allan McNish is concerned by the amount of young drivers who pay to gain their seats in Formula One and believes the situation is devaluing the sport. F1 is supposed to be the best of the best and McNish thinks inexperienced drivers being able to get a seat because they have enough sponsorship is wrong.

Allan McNish.
Photo by Regis Lefebure.

"It concerns me that we have so many young drivers who appear to be paying for their place in F1," he said, according to the Sunday Times. "It is meant to be motorsport's pinnacle, the best against the best, yet here we have a situation where drivers with next to no top-level experience are buying their seats. It's not right and will only devalue and dilute the strength of F1 unless major steps are taken in the next couple of years."

The Scot, who raced for Toyota in 2002 and was test driver for Renault last year, claims could have been racing in F1 this season but refused to pay for a seat. "I have never, and will never, pay to race a car," he stated. "I know the value of my ability and it does not mean I have to scrounge round companies looking for sponsorship to bring to a team. Once you go down that road, that's you finished."

McNish was in talks with Jordan but the cash-strapped team needed money and Allan was not about to buy his way in. "I had a contract sitting on the table in September last year," he explained. "But Eddie (Jordan) being Eddie, I needed financial support. I wasn't going to pay for it but he was talking to a specific sponsor whose contribution was going to mean I could join. If they had come on board, everything would have worked, but time just drifted on and on into the New Year with nothing constructive happening. It was unbelievably frustrating."

The situation dragged on and McNish ran out of confidence in the team. This season he is back with Audi to compete in the European Le Mans series and the Le Mans 24 hours. After watching the first F1 race of 2004 at Melbourne, he is not missing being there. "How boring was that?" he exclaimed. "It was just crap and basically highlighted everything that's wrong with Formula One."

"That wasn't racing, it was just a procession. I pray that we don't have another 2002, when Ferrari waltzed away with the championship and it was the most boring season in F1 history. All I can say is thank God I'm not there."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Allan McNish
Teams Ferrari , Jordan