Motor racing: Mansell's return now more likely

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Nigel Mansell's burning desire to prove he is still the best of British is spurring him on to a comeback, says the man who has given the former world champion a Formula One a chance in testing.

Team owner Eddie Jordan believes Damon Hill's world championship success this year and Mansell's frustrating time with McLaren have made the Englishman consider returning to the sport.

Mansell, the 1992 world champion, ended his two-day test in Barcelona with the Jordan-Peugeot team on a high yesterday and he looks increasingly likely to line up on the grid again next season.

"I believe he sees himself as still being the best British racing driver," Jordan said yesterday. "Damon winning the championship has spurred him on.

"I was surprised at how lean and fit he was looking, but the decision has to come from Nigel. There will be no pressure from Jordan in any shape or form."

Mansell completed the two-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya track yesterday and will ponder his future with his wife, Roseanne, but the thrill of Formula One is clearly exerting an influence. "I don't think the taste for motor racing ever went away," Mansell said after driving a grand prix car for the first time since ending his abortive two-race comeback with McLaren 19 months ago.

"It does give you a buzz but it can frighten the hell out of you. It's the closest thing to the edge of life you can get.

"Over the next few days we will consider our future and that future includes the possibility of driving again next year in several different formulas.

"Unless it is for the right reasons there is no point making the commitment, because if you do you have to breathe, eat and sleep the sport.

"But this has been a wonderful experience and I would like to thank Eddie and the Jordan team for just giving me the opportunity without any pressure."

Mansell, who was three-tenths of a second slower on Wednesday than Jordan's new driver, Ralf Schumacher, after 49 laps, did another 16 circuits in the wet yesterday. He clocked 1min 45.79sec, two seconds down on Schumacher though he had the worst of the conditions.

"I haven't spun the car and did a reasonably good time," the winner of 31 grands prix said. "We were sensible this morning in the wet because the car was difficult to drive."