Delighted to be back on the track, the Scotsman ran the rule over the World Series by Renault and believes it is home to the stars of the future.
David, how did it feel to take a seat in a Formula One car again?
It’s always a fantastic feeling to be at the wheel of an F1 car, especially one that’s had so much success. It’s a world championship-winning chassis-engine set-up and it’s the best there is. Getting back in the seat gave me the chance to experience the car’s incredible performance again, even though I wasn’t pushing it to the limit.
And how did it feel to do some donoughts?
To be honest, it wasn’t that easy. F1 cars aren’t made for that. They’re made to go fast, to perform and corner effectively. You have to stay focused and keep the fans entertained.
How was it to be an F1 driver again for the weekend?
It was very short but very intense. I arrived on Friday evening and left on Sunday afternoon. I did the F1 show and I was very pleased to be driving for the Russian fans, who are very enthusiastic.
Having been in F1, do you think you could take to the wheel of a Formula Renault 3.5?
I’d never thought about it up to now. I have to say it’s a very good car. You never had such sophisticated cars in the F1 feeder series back in my day. They were often hard to handle and difficult to manoeuvre. Joining Formula 1 was a real relief because you could express your driving style in a reliable car that was easier to drive. These days drivers have the chance to prepare for their arrival in F1 in a car like the Formula Renault 3.5, which is a much better way of learning the ropes. It’s an incredible car and a superb working tool for the drivers. I think I’ll leave them to it, though. It’s a quick car for young drivers, not for oldies like me!
What feelings went through your mind when you saw all these young drivers in the World Series by Renault paddock?
It’s fantastic to see them do battle on the track, to make the most of this opportunity to try and break into Formula One. A lot of them won’t make it. That’s just the natural selection of motorsport. But somewhere among them are the stars of tomorrow. That’s a fact. They’re at a good school.
Would you advise you son to race in WSR?
Absolutely. The thought came into my mind when I bumped into Olivier Panis, who’s following his son’s career. Then there’s Jan Magnussen’s son, Kevin. He could do karting and make his way up. If he wanted to drive, I’d be right behind him. It’s fantastic. And if he didn’t want to, I wouldn’t get sick about it.
One last question. What was your first car?
A Renault 5 Turbo. I have some great memories of it.
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