Following his two Renault team-mates, Franck Montagny got his first look at the R24 last Friday at Enstone. He wasn't disappointed. Montagny has had a busy winter so far. During the team's pre-Christmas testing, he drove on every single day and,...
Following his two Renault team-mates, Franck Montagny got his first look at the R24 last Friday at Enstone. He wasn't disappointed.
Montagny has had a busy winter so far. During the team's pre-Christmas testing, he drove on every single day and, out of a total team mileage of 6400 km, Franck completed 3400 of them!
Q: So Franck, how has the 'off-season' been so far?
"Busier than ever! I'm a little bit tired after so much driving, but it has been really good fun. I particularly enjoyed Barcelona, where I was effectively the team leader for a week. The team were relying on me as the experienced driver, and I got involved with the tyre testing programme as well. That part is really enjoyable: you are constantly testing improved products, and you have the opportunity to go for a lap time. We were very quick, and it was satisfying to see my name at the top of the times when testing finished."
Q: And how are you adapting to F1?
"I'm just taking things in my stride. We had a big event for our fan club at Barcelona, and there were 700 people there cheering us along, watching all the laps and really enjoying themselves. We did some driver appearances, signed some autographs and just tried to make sure they had a good time. It's not everybody's favourite part of being a driver, but I really enjoyed: it felt a bit like a race weekend!"
"Physically, things are progressing too. An F1 car is tough to drive, and when everything is working well, especially at a circuit like Barcelona, it takes a bit of getting used to! But I'm working hard with our physios, and I haven't had any big problems. The more you drive, the easier it gets."
On Saturday, Franck joined Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso as they flew out to Kenya with team boss Flavio Briatore for a week's physical training. He was intrigued by the prospect: "I'm pleased to be going: the weather in Europe recently hasn't been great, so it will be nice to get out in the sun! I've seen some pictures from previous years and it looks amazing: it will be cool to get down to training there."
"It will be an important week as well, though. Flavio is our boss, and it will good to spend some time together out of a work context. I am looking forward to spending some time getting to know everybody without needing to worry about set-ups or tyre compounds!"