Mark Blundell Q&A

Mark Blundell left Formula 1 at the end of 1995, after a frustrating season with McLaren. He quickly forged a new career in Champcars with PacWest, and soon proved a winner with the team. Over the past couple of years Pac West has lost its competitive edge, and the 2000 season has been a disaster - as it has for most other Mercedes runners. It was recently announced that Mark will not continue his association with the team next year, when he will be replaced by Kiwi Indy Lights graduate Scott Dixon. Blundell competed in 61 GPs for Brabham, Ligier, Tyrrell and McLaren, scoring three podium finishes, and also had a spell at Williams as test driver. After doing the rounds at the US GP he is hoping to make a return to Europe as an F1 test driver and potentially 'do a Panis.' Adam Cooper spoke to the Brit at Indy

Mark Blundell Q&A

"It's probably not such a strange feeling because I've never driven here! In one respect it's kind of tough. In another respect it's interesting to see this environment inside the oval. I've been here and had a look round before. It's one of those places like Monza or Silverstone, where you go in and you get a little bit of a chill in the spine."

"It's been pretty reasonable over the season, but there's still not been enough overtaking, there's still not been enough action. That's something they need to address. The championship is still alive and anything that goes down to the wire is good in whatever sport."

"It was the same here. I have to say that I've actually got a few situations that I'm looking at, and maybe I might come back and test again. I'm still only 34, I'm no different to what Olivier Panis is in age, I've got the experience, I've done it before, and I think I can do a good job for somebody. The professionalism is something that I very much feel at home with."

"Unfinished business for me in F1, definitely. I never had the right equipment at the right time. I finished in the top 10 in the World Championship twice, and I've been on the podium three times, but I was never in something that was capable of winning a GP. I've driven GP-winning cars, but only in the testing role."

"Yes. I've had some interest. And I think that the deal Panis has done with McLaren is kind of like what I did back in '92. It just didn't have the profile and media attention then. In fact I probably started the trend way back in 1989-'90 with Williams. It becomes more and more important as the schedules get heavier and there are more commitments for tyre testing."

"We were in a tough situation. My situation was very different even to Martin's. I took the role as test driver and then immediately became a race driver, and it was difficult because it was on a race-by-race basis. The reasons for that were to try to keep me on the boil, but I think from my side of things I wanted something different, but the team thought that was the best thing. I think the strategy they have now is the better one, and I think that's been seen. But I did a good job. I outqualified the other guy a few times, and scored a decent amount of points with only doing 15 out of 17 races. I came away with my head held high and no problems."

"I see a lot of guys out there as potential World Champions, if they're sitting in the right equipment. That's the bottom line. It doesn't matter who it is, they're only as good as what's underneath them. If something underneath them is not up to the job, they're not going to do it."

"Exactly that, exactly that. Unfortunately the situation in general has just slid downhill, and I no longer have something underneath me that's capable of winning races. I think that's been quite evident."

"It's a lot of things. Not one component makes up any deal, but if you walk down any pitlane and asked people why their winning, they won't tell you anything in particular, they'll tell you a number of different things."

"I'm not the happiest guy in the world at the timing of the whole event. That hasn't helped me one little bit. I'm going to have a good look around. I've got a lot of stuff I can look at, there are a lot of things that I'm interested in, and I've got to make the right decision for me at the right time."

"There's a lot of areas which I can't talk about yet. It's a little bit complex and there are still things going on at this point. One thing I can tell you is that it's nothing to do with the performance on my side, and the team owner would be the first guy to tell you that."

"The Indianapolis 500 appeals."

"I've been talking to him, but to be honest I'm not sure where he's going at this point, and I'm not sure whether he knows where he's going. So we'll see. CART is not different to anywhere else. It's an international series which is highly competitive. You can't just walk across and just join it."

"It's been good, it's been enjoyable."

"Having no job in any environment is always difficult!"

shares
comments
Schumacher odds on favourite for championship

Previous article

Schumacher odds on favourite for championship

Next article

F1 testing: Back to work after Indy

F1 testing: Back to work after Indy
Load comments
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Plus

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of “glory” if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1’s other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021