Exclusive Q&A - Franck Montagny 19 Jun 2006
A Formula One grid without French drivers was once unheard of, but for now at least it seems those times have changed. This season the only Frenchman in the paddock is Franck Montagny, former Renault tester and now racer - for the next two Grands Prix at least - with Super Aguri
Q: As one of the few French drivers available in Formula One racing, what are your feelings leaving Renault, the only French team?
Franck Montagny: Well, this was sad, but it was (Renault team boss) Flavio Briatores decision. The team was great and I made quite some contribution to the development of the car. But decisions like these are also part of racing and in particular this industry.
Q: Being a Frenchman in an almost entirely Japanese team, how are you dealing with the cultural differences?
FM: Well, I have been racing in Spain and France and seen also some other cultures and their way of operating. I quite like the way the Japanese handle their business. Once you get used to it, and feel comfortable with it, it is very clear and straightforward.
Q: You were test driver with current world champions Renault. With your knowledge and experience, do you feel you have a lot to contribute to Super Aguri, a team in the very early stages of its existence?
FM: Well I don't feel fully a part of the team yet, but it is getting better, and I am finding my place now, over the last couple of months. It is very difficult to bring this knowledge to the team, as the car is not state of the art at all, as it is four years old. And also the next car will not (initially) be competitive with the other teams. But yes, I feel that I can bring quite some positive input and get some workflow running smooth.
Q: What's going to happen when your contract with Super Aguri runs out? If not Formula One racing, were do you see your future?
FM: Well, this I don't know myself yet. I will see what will happen within the next couple of weeks and month. There are some options that I am considering, but there is always the money issue. Maybe DTM, or a series in the US.
Q: You have been involved with Super Aguri on and off since the team started. Has much changed in the period you were away from the team? Any visible moves forward?
FM: Well, I did not see so much difference. The team was very close to not being in F1 at all in this season, and they are working on a very tight level. This feeling remained during the time I have not been with the team.