DECEMBER 18, 2000
McNish to race for Toyota in 2002?
ALLAN MCNISH, the Toyota Formula 1 test driver, says that he has been given assurances by Toyota that if he shows well in testing he will be rewarded with a full-time drive in F1 in 2002. "It's fair to say it's my last chance," said the Scotsman. "I'd maintained I'd only do another project if it was going to be potentially competitive. It had to be right for me. I wanted it to benefit me as a driver and as a person."
McNish has been around Formula 1 for over 10 years, his first test for McLaren being in November 1989. He then served as the team's test driver for three years before moving to Benetton with which he continued to work until 1996. Since then he has raced in sportscars, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1998 with Porsche. In the last few months McNish has completed thousands of miles of testing with a Toyota GT-One sportscar fitted with F1 systems.
McNish, naturally enough, does not think that starting in F1 at 32 is too late. "If I am sitting in a car in January 2002 and racing in F1," he says. "I can do a much better job than when I was 21."
McNish likes to remember that Damon Hill did not get into F1 until he was 31 but that did not prevent him from winning the World Championship.
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