Friday November 30th, 2001
Scot driver Allan McNish is aiming to match his teammate Mika Salo's pace next season, when the 31-year old will make his Formula One debut with the Toyota team.
The Japanese outfit will be the 12th Formula One team in 2002 after carrying out an intensive testing programme this year. Former Le Mans winner McNish, who was confirmed as the second driver back in October, wants to be able to match his more experienced teammate.
"Personally, I want to be at the same level as Mika, who will drive the same car," McNish said in an interview with TF1. "Mika is undoubtedly a good benchmark. On the other hand, I have to learn a lot in order to progress.
"If I can finish races, and me and the team give 100 per cent, I think I will achieve good results."
Toyota, the world's third biggest car manufacturer, will be the fourth team together with Ferrari, Renault and Jaguar to build their own chassis and engine.
McNish admits the team still don't know where they will be next year, but they are hoping to be able to fight for the World Championship in five years.
"Toyota aims to be competitive in five years, to try to fight for the title," he added. "At this moment, we don't know how competitive we are. We have a completely new car, and we have not seen our rivals' yet.
"It would obviously be easier if the season began at Silverstone because it's a circuit we know. But it starts in Melbourne, a street track that is very slippery. It will not be easy, but nobody said Formula One was."
Published at 10:43:27 GMT