Winkelhock prepares his F1 test
Midland F1 confirmed yesterday that the German driver Markus Winkelhock will test their F1 car on December 10, in Jerez. Markus has had a fantastic first season in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5, finishing third overall. He is now set to experience a very special moment: 20 years on, a Winkelhock will be behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car once again.
Markus' mobile phone did not stop ringing throughout Tuesday afternoon. Midland F1 confirmed that the World Series driver will be testing for them on December 10, in Jerez. "His first season in World Series 2005 has been very successful and we are looking forward to working with him in Jerez", explained Midland's F1 Team principal, Colin Kolles, in the Official Press Release. Winkelhock has indeed had a very successful season with Draco Multiracing USA in the World Series, wining three races. He is regarded as one of the most promising drivers in Germany, having previously succeeded in DTM, F3 and Formula Renault.
So, how do you feel after the announcement of this test with Midland F1?
"It's a great feeling! When my manager called me to say that the test was confirmed, I just couldn't believe it! It is a strange feeling to know I will be getting behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car 20 years after my father"
How much influence has the World Series by Renault had in all this?
"A lot! After DTM I moved to the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 with one target in mind, to move up to Formula 1. I'm convinced that the World Series is currently one of the best stepping stones to Formula 1. World Series has a lot to do with me being offered this test because my former Team Manager at Draco, Manfredi Ravetto, has moved to Midland F1, and that's how we made the contact with the Team. I also met Colin Kolles when I started racing with Formula Renault."
I imagine that this is a special moment for the Winkelhock family?
"Of course my mother is very pleased for me but obviously she is still scared about my career. My father died whilst racing and she knows that my target is to get into Formula 1, but she accepts this challenge and all of the consequences."
How far do you think you can go with Midlands F1?
"My target is to do this test and demonstrate that I deserve a place in the Team as an Official test driver. They need money and for sure they need a paying driver for 2006. I am not paying for this test as they invited me, so now I have to thank them and do my job as well as I can"
How are you going to prepare for this test?
"In terms of fitness, I will keep strengthening my neck muscles, just like for the World Series! I will visit the Team's factory in Silverstone on November 16th in order to prepare my seat-fitting and to talk with the engineers. Two days before the test I would like to visit Jerez so that I can walk around the track, because I have never driven there before."