Allan McNish Q&A

After just one race season Allan McNish and Mika Salo have both been dropped by Toyota, a decision that has surprised the paddock, not least because the first replacement to be named is Olivier Panis rather than a young superstar. Toyota's rationale is that it needed 'fresh ideas', but seemingly that does not extend to bolstering the technical squad with recruits from leading teams - something that even McLaren is not afraid to do. But Japan seems to have decided that the problem lies with the drivers. It was always clear that McNish would have to make an impression in his first season in order to guarantee a second, and while he has generally been out-qualified by his team-mate he has also had a lot of bad luck along the way. All the knowledge he has gained over the past two seasons will now go to waste. Adam Cooper spoke to McNish at Spa.

Allan McNish Q&A



"I didn't know they were going to announce it before Spa until just before it happened, so it was a little bit of a surprise in that respect."



"You obviously hear things and you get feelings for it. But I didn't know it was actually going to be made public."



"Again, you get feelings, but nothing concrete."



"It's frustrating. That's clear. We knew we weren't really going to get much benefit out of it this year, because it was a case of trying to put the building blocks down for the future, so that side of it has been a little bit frustrating. But it's their prerogative."



"There are. But I'm a racing driver, and I don't necessarily want to test."



"You've got to balance out what you can do with your team-mate, really. If you look at the number of races where we've both finished and who's been ahead and things like that then it's been a very strong year for me. But situations like Imola and Silverstone and Australia, what can you do?"



"You don't get any chance. I think I proved in Race Two [Malaysia] that I could race and that I could overtake, and on pure speed could run in the points. Through not fault of mine, we lost that. But that's one of the learning parts of the team. These things happen in the pits. From a personal point of view, I'm satisfied with the year. There are always areas where you can improve, and that the evolution of a driver. But I'm basically satisfied with the year."



"I've beaten Mika once, but on average I've been about a tenth behind him. But at the end of the day on paper if you want to look at statistics it doesn't necessarily look good. If you want to be a little more real about the world, then a tenth a second is probably under a foot, and that doesn't necessarily make you a good driver or a bad driver. It seems to be more important how you qualify rather than how you actually do in a race, whereas as far as I'm concerned a race has points at the end of it."



"I think changes probably had to be made, whether Mika and I are victims of that I don't really know, I can't comment on it. But all I'll try to do between now and the end of the season and next year in the future is just do the best job that I can."



"There are obviously areas where there has been progress, and areas where progress has still got to be made. It's going to be a long hard road from here for them. But that's always been known. It's no new situation in that respect."



"We're always trying to compete as much as we can, and we're certainly competitive wise we were in a stronger position at the start of the year than we are at the end. But again they've got to look at the overall picture."

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