Rickard Rydell Q&A

The 1998 British Touring Car champion finished third in this year's series and, like Ford team-mates Alain Menu and Anthony Reid, has yet to find a drive for 2001. He took time out from Ford's celebrations at the TOCA Awards to speak to Autosport.com

Rickard Rydell Q&A

"I regarded them both as good drivers before, but I didn't know what to expect. I came in as the newboy in the team, when Alain and Anthony had a been there a year already, and it made the first third of the season very hard. We always had the same equipment but it's always harder to get to know how to work with the engineers and the designers. We didn't know what was going to happen, because before I was always quicker than my team-mate, Alain was always quicker than his, and Anthony likewise. In the same team, we were on a par."

"Qualifying. If you take away the two exclusions I had after qualifying sessions, my average grid position was 2.46. Anthony had 4.10 and Alain's was 4.13, so I was well ahead of them. After six years with Volvo it was nice to prove I could go to another team and be faster than the other drivers."

"If you look at the retirements where the driver was not to blame, then I had five which weren't down to me. Alain had two and Anthony had one, so if you look at that it shows everyone had a chance of winning the championship. I'm glad I had the pace against those guys, and I had really good fun doing it."

"I haven't got anything yet. I'm talking to a couple of manufacturers about the BTCC, I'm talking to at least one manufacturer in the DTM and I'm talking to Volvo about what they're going to do. It looks like Volvo wants to do the 2002 European Touring Car Championship, so there's a good chance I'll do that, but that means maybe not racing next year. I want to keep my connection with Volvo, which would mean testing next year, but I also want to race and I have a couple of possibilities."

"I'd certainly be interested, yes. I wouldn't mind racing in the DTM or BTCC next year, but there are not that many drives available. I would also want a good position in the team and the right atmosphere. If I don't find that then I might look at just testing for Volvo next year and race in 2002."

"Yes, and then there's another one or two who might yet come in. Only Yvan [Muller] and Jason [Plato] have signed for Vauxhall so far."

"We're all aware that we can't make as much money as we have in the last few years, especially the last two years or so. Drivers' salaries are always going to be percentage of the overall budget, and if the budget is going to be cut by a half then the salaries are going to be cut by a half. But it's always important for a top team to have a good driver, and there's not that many good drivers around for the new rules of the BTCC. There's a lot of young drivers around, but teams will never know until they put them in a car whether they'll be good or not. Some drivers can't adapt to front-wheel drive and some can't adapt to touring cars, so it's always a risk."

"I think the racing is always going to be tight, so a good driver is always going to make a difference whatever they are driving. But it's not just going to be just about driving talent, it's going to be about setting up the car, so I don't think that much changes with the new regulations."

"For a driver, I think it would be really fun to drive a 450bhp, V8 car - it's what we've been asking for really. Even though there's only two manufacturers, I'd be really keen to do it. It would be better if there was three or four manufacturers in it, although I don't think it needs any more than that. I know they're working on it to get a third one in."

"If Prodrive do it next year then, for sure, I'd be very interested in driving for them. I switched from TWR to drive for Prodrive and I regard them as very professional from the top management to the mechanics. I'd be very happy to stay and drive for them next year. I don't think there's another team who can do a better job than Prodrive do."

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