Symonds: Montagny has great F1 future

Renault's Pat Symonds believes that newly-signed test driver Franck Montagny has a great future in Formula One.

Symonds: Montagny has great F1 future

Montagny, 25, was recently announced as the 2004 replacement for the 33-year-old Allan McNish.

"We ran a number of drivers last winter with a view to taking on our second test driver, and Franck came out of that very well," said the team's executive director of engineering Symonds. "If we look at consistency and feedback, he did very well."

"Franck then had a run at the 2003 French Grand Prix in the Friday test session. He had difficult track conditions to contend with when it began raining, and an engine problem forced him to swap cars. In spite of that, he made no mistakes: I was really impressed with the way he handled it."

On September 16, Franck Montagny completed a full test session for the Renault F1 Team at Barcelona. "It was a full test program," added Symonds. "And once again he did as a good a job as we'd expect of any test driver. I think Franck has a great future ahead of him."

However, the Frenchman won't have much work until the middle of the off-season, as Renault have used up all their allocated testing days for this season, which is followed by another testing ban. Meanwhile McLaren, Williams and Ferrari are working at Silverstone, Jerez and Mugello respectively this week.

McNish has not finalised any plans for next year, although some rumours have linked him with a Jordan seat. He has made clear that his priority is to be racing in Formula 1 next year, despite the diminishing number of rides available.

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