Renault interview with Montagny

Reigning World Series by Nissan champion Franck Montagny had the final race of his championship last weekend: the result wasn't quite what he hoped for, but he is now 100% focused on F1. Q: Last weekend saw your final race in the Nissan series:...

Reigning World Series by Nissan champion Franck Montagny had the final race of his championship last weekend: the result wasn't quite what he hoped for, but he is now 100% focused on F1.

Q: Last weekend saw your final race in the Nissan series: how did it go?

Renault F1 test driver Franck Montagny.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
Franck Montagny: I have never had a worse weekend in a racing car! I collided with my team-mate in the first race, then got involved in an accident at the start of the second. It is a shame, because I really wanted to finish the season with a win: that would have been the right way to round off the year. Still, it clearly wasn't meant to be.

Q: From now on, you will be focusing 100% on F1: how did things go last week in Valencia?

FM: I really enjoyed myself! It was the first time I had done such a long test -- four consecutive days -- and I think we did a good job. The last time I tested, I only did a couple of days and physically, it was very difficult. I have worked hard on my fitness since then, changed the way I train, and it was good to feel the benefits of that. The other new thing was driving in the wet, and getting used to evaluating the tyres in those conditions. It was satisfying to put in lots of laps in the wet, and I was learning all the time.

Q: In terms of pure speed, do you think there is still progress to be made?

FM: There is still a little work to do, but things are definitely improving every time I get in the car. The team are giving me the time I need to get up to speed fully, and there are little things to work on in every area. But It's definitely going in the right direction.

Q: You spent a week working with Jarno in Valencia: how important is it for you to get on well with the race drivers?

FM: For me, as test driver, it is very important to have a good relationship with Jarno and Fernando: after all, I am testing parts and developing solutions for them to use at the races, so I think it is critical we trust each other and our feedback. I still don't know Jarno and Fernando very well, but we get on fine: they are both willing to answer any questions I might have, and very open. There is a good atmosphere in the team.

Q: And finally, this week you will spend time testing alongside the young RDD drivers: will that be any different to normal?

FM: No, I don't think it will change anything. We are there to do very different jobs: they are both having their first drives in the car, whereas I will be conducting the normal development programme for the team. I get on very well with Jos?, and obviously know Heikki because he was my team-mate this year: it reminds me a little bit of my first test in 2002 actually, and how far things have come since then. I hope they can both do a good, professional job.

-renault-

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Franck Montagny