I'm ready for F1, says Manning

F3 star Darren Manning claims he is ready for Formula 1 after having his first experience of a Grand Prix car this week.

I'm ready for F1, says Manning

The Briton, who won this year's Japanese Formula 3 championship, and both the Macau and Korean international F3 races, drove a 1999 Williams F1 car at Jerez on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.

'I feel that now I'm ready for F1,' said 24-year-old Manning, 'and the last couple of days have proven that. I'm ready to be given a chance.'

Although Manning drove the car in the wet, he said he was impressed with the car's performance.

'I started in wet conditions with wet tyres, but the car was extremely driveable. The braking power and the high-speed corner grip was absolutely phenomenal.

'The second day I drove, even though it was in damp conditions, I felt as one with the Williams as I do with my Formula 3 racecar.

'Everything was extremely familiar. I felt I could push extremely fast, as fast as the car would go. More laps would have helped, but I was very close to Ralf [Schumacher] on the data.

'I'm pleased that I've been able to help BMW on their development side as well. All-in-all, it's been extremely enjoyable.'

While Manning is unsure of his plans for next season, he has been tipped as a possible contender for Alex Zanardi's seat at Williams in 2000 [see AUTOSPORT, December 16].

Manning made history last month by winning the inaugural Korean GP. He took a 100,000 prize for winning all four races in Korea and Macau.

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