Herbert Q&A

Following the Austrian Grand Prix, Johnny Herbert took a quick trip to America for Sunday's CART Michigan 500. A toe in the water perhaps for 2001?

Herbert Q&A

Johnny's CV when you stop and look is almost pretty complete: Multiple kart champion, Formula Ford Festival Winner from the very back of the grid, British F3 Champion, F3000 race winner, Le Mans 24 Hours winner, three time Grand Prix winner (including Monza and Silverstone). As yet he has not raced in a series he's not won in. Whether voluntary or not, his Formula 1 career seems as though it will end this year, so what next for the fun and talented Englishman?

On Saturday evening, Autosport.com's special team of Andy Hallbery, with later help from Gil de Ferran, and Mauricio Gugelmin, asked Johnny what his first impressions were...

It's my first oval, not my first CART race. I haven't really stood next to the banking yet, so it hasn't made me go "Wow that's so quick" yet. The speeds are certainly high but I haven't seen it that close. It's a very nice atmosphere, a very easy laid back atmosphere. Which is nice.

A lot of them yeah, even a couple of engineers here I know from when I was karting. They were karting against me!

JH: Good friend you are...

JH: No, first time. But even now I've only seen it from on top of the pits, so not close up to the fence or anything.

JH: Yes, they just seemed to be everybody following each other really closely and waiting until five laps from the end. Just like a Formula Ford at Silverstone in my day!

Going back? I don't know. I actually had a go... When was it? The last time I drove a Formula Ford was in 1996 or '97, and it was actually bloody good fun. I have to say it was really, really good. It was a bit wet, but even so, it was great, I really enjoyed it.

Oh yes. Indianapolis was always one of the things I always wanted to do anyway. So hopefully that will be an opportunity to do in the future. Indianapolis was always one event to aim at, although in those days it was a bigger event. It still is big, maybe not as big, but it's still a special one.

That's the thing, they have all that stuff, the ingredients. They are heavier and I think the construction of the tyre is very different. But at the end of the day they look as if they are very driveable things. They look good fun, even here at a superspeedway like Michigan it looks quite good fun. Like Gil and Mauricio were saying earlier it's all on edge, but you have to be on edge, on the limit, anywhere, even if it's quite a quick corner at Monza, the car's on edge, the car's going to move.

Yes, but corners like the Parabolica at Monza are more like what they were talking about, more of the same thing. The Parabolica is fast, but the car is quite loose and moving.

Well it's different... As I said before it's very relaxed, it's very family orientated for one thing and everybody is a big family. And that's what I like. At the end of the day I've never been a political 'animal' in Formula 1, which is probably why things never went as well as they could have, but that's just the way I'm not!

A little bit. It's still not quite the same, more like F3000 was when I did F3000.

Well, yeah, they're all here! Even Kenny Brack who I drove with in Formula Ford. Mark Blundell obviously I did Formula Ford. Most of the guys here I know from some point meeting up. Even Max Papis, when I was in F1 with Lotus he was in F3000, and he tested for Lotus.

Yes it seems a lot of the time! It's something that hopefully will pay off again. There's no reason why not. There's a couple of things going on. We're talking to everybody at the moment and it's just a case of seeing which ones come to fruition. It's interesting because it's nice to be here and it's nice to feel the feedback that has come since I got here so... It's been nice coming, and a nice reception.

I think so. I don't see any reason why not at all. I feel I can give a lot to them, and I'm sure I'll end up with someone somewhere.

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