Allan McNish Q&A

Allan McNish heads to Indianapolis this weekend with just two races left of his debut season with Toyota in which to make a mark. He's new to Indy, but he does at least have good knowledge of Suzuka, where he will say farewell to the team four years after he joined the Le Mans programme. Allan had a real chance to score points in Monza after a good first lap and the early demise of Ralf Schumacher propelled him into the top six, but he was let down by the car, as has happened so often this year. Adam Cooper spoke to the Scot

Allan McNish Q&A



"The start was pretty good, no question. But at the first corner I was able to make up quite a lot, purely taking advantage of things happening in front of me. They all braked pretty early, and I gently let it run down the inside. I've got to be honest, I think the start in Brazil was much better. I wasn't necessarily that impressed by the start itself. Then after that we were sitting comfortably until we had the problem, about four laps from when we came in."



"Something broke on the right front suspension and the front wheel started flapping around. It made the car extremely nervous to drive for about two or three laps, and then it became undriveable."



"Fourth place was up for grabs. We were ahead of Jarno Trulli, and we were quicker than him all the time, and quicker than Jenson Button, I don't think there's any question about that. So it's disappointing, to say the least for me personally, and also for the team, because it's points that we lost."



"I went round the oval in a bus. I paid $5! I was in Indy to test for PacWest and decided one day to go and have a look at the Speedway. The bus had a 75-year-old driver, and I remember he said, 'This is where Paul Tracy crashed,' and he pointed to a big mark in the wall at Turn 2. We drove down the back straight for about five minutes, and then he said, 'This is where Paul Tracy's accident ended!' It was just shocking. That's my only real knowledge of the place, and I've got zero experience of the F1 side."



"It seems the infield is very low speed, and mechanical grip is important. Obviously braking is important as well because you've got a huge long straight and there's one braking area where you can overtake. You need some straight line speed, good braking, and you need some good traction, and if you've got those, you should be OK."



"Yes, certainly we have got a pretty good power unit. So far we've been good at overtaking on the brakes, so we've got two of the three things that we need, and we're working on the third one."



"I raced there in sportscars in 1997 and '98 with GT1 Porsches, but I tested there with McLaren, lots of times, on my own and also with Gerhard Berger and Ayrton Senna. Quite often it was a two-car test there. So I know Suzuka pretty well. It has changed very, very slightly through the years, but it's still Suzuka."



"There are a lot of corners, and a lot of medium speed corners. It's very technical circuit, and it's important to have a good front on the car going up the hill. You need to be able to point the front, and it will go. But you also need a stable car as well under braking, into that second part of Spoon, just to be able to carry the speed through it and ease on to the power for the straight down to 130R. It's a circuit that I enjoy a lot, and I think that if we can with Michelin come up with a pretty good basic package then we should be quite competitive round there."



"Well obviously Melbourne was a big race, being the first one ever, but the first one in Japan is going to be a large one. It's the first time that the Japanese fans will see us live."



"I've been with Toyota for four years, and it will be sad in a lot of ways, purely from the fact that I've got a lot of friends here. Those friendships won't stop, but it will be an end of this particular era."

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