Allan McNish f1 audi

McNish: Audi must not underestimate F1

Allan McNish f1 audi

Veteran motorsport man, Le Mans winner, and former Formula 1 driver Allan Mcnish knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level and warns Audi not to underestimate their first foray into the pinnacle of the sport.

The 53-year-old Scot had a tremendous career with Audi and other brands in sportscar racing, he also raced in 2002 for the well-funded, but unsuccessful, Toyota F1 team.

In a recent Motorsport Magazine podcast, McNish reflected: “With Toyota, it was Le Mans and then jumping into F1, it was a completely different game, just in terms of the personnel having to multiply by three to be able to produce a F1 programme.

“Now admittedly, that was 20 years ago. That’s when budgets were unlimited, that’s when engines were unlimited. You would use three engines through the course of a Formula 1 weekend, now you’re looking at that number over a season.

“So there’s a lot of changes. However, what was very clear to me was when I moved from Toyota at the end of 2002, to Renault [for a third driver role], my first-ever lap was quicker than my qualifying lap in the Toyota.”

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“So the difference between people that are fighting in the middle to where you’re fighting for race victories is a huge gulf. I don’t think anybody can underestimate that sort of level and now I think it’s even more so in F1 at the top,” reckoned McNish.

He won Le Mans with Porsche once and with Audi twice, thus he is well positioned to comment on Audi’s forthcoming F1 venture with Sauber, with entry date 2026.

Which is fast approaching McNish explained: “I’d say it’s been a busy, very busy last 18 months. Certainly, 2022 has been pretty hectic, like I’ve never seen before.

“And to think that 2026 is still quite a long way away, but it’s only around the corner. It’s 39 months until the first race, not that we’re counting, but yes, from being involved now for over 20 years with Audi, this is part of that progression.

“It’s an exciting time and I don’t think there’s anybody within the company that’s not looking forward to that first race in 2026,” concluded McNish.