Revisiting sportscar great McNish's one and only F1 season
It’s 20 years since Allan McNish made his long overdue Formula 1 debut with the brand-new Toyota team. But the circumstances were hardly ideal for the Scot, whose spell in F1 would prove to be all-too brief before making a successful return to sportscar racing.
It’s fair to say that Allan McNish didn’t fit the typical profile of a Formula 1 debutant when he lined up on the grid for the 2002 Australian Grand Prix with the brand-new Toyota team. Aged 32, the Scotsman hadn’t raced a single-seater since 1995 and was already well established as a top sportscar talent, having won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1998.
Two decades have now passed since McNish’s one and only season as a grand prix racer before Toyota unceremoniously dropped the axe on both him and teammate Mika Salo. Reflecting on a campaign in which his best finish of seventh in Malaysia wasn’t enough to score points – 2002 was the last year in which only the top six were eligible to score – McNish concedes that “it was probably a bit too late coming in my career”.
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