French team to lose their only French driver
Renault test driver Franck Montagny has revealed that he and the team have ended their three-year partnership. Montagny, a former World Series by Nissan champion, joined Renault in 2003 and has served as their third and reserve driver for the last two seasons.
Montagny made a one-off appearance for Jordan earlier this year as their Friday driver at the European Grand Prix. According to his official website, he is now in negotiations with the team, who will become Midland F1 next year, regarding a possible 2006 role, though he admitted he will require additional funding if he is to remain in the sport.
He thanked Renault for his time with them, saying it had enabled him to acquire a very vast knowledge of F1 on the highest level, but also admitted he had been disappointed to miss out on a race drive when Jacques Villeneuve was drafted in to replace Jarno Trulli for the final three rounds of 2004.
Renaults race line-up will remain unchanged for 2006, while the team have a number of younger test drivers on their books as part of their driver development programme. They include 2005 GP2 runner-up Heikki Kovalainen, who will doubtless be favourite to take over Montagnys role.