Mansell ends test on a high

 

NIGEL MANSELL'S burning desire to prove he's still the best of British is spurring him on to a comeback, says the man who has handed the former champion a Formula One lifeline.

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

Mansell ended his two day test in Spain with the Jordan Peugeot team on a high yesterday and it is looking increasingly likely that he will line up on the grid next season.

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

"I think he is irritated with the way that he was forced to retire or stand down with what happened at McLaren, but it is just my opinion and I haven't spoken to Nigel about it.

"In a way I believe he thinks he has not retired with distinction and is not prepared for his illustrious career to have ended with a car not being able to fit him."

Mansell completed the two day test at the Circuit de Catalunya track yesterday and will now ponder his future.

"I don't think the taste for motor racing ever went away," said Mansell after driving a grand prix car for the first time since ending his frustrating two race comeback with McLaren 19 months ago.

Mansell added: "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. Of course, Jordan is one of them. But we will have to see what develops".

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

And Mansell, who won the drivers' crown in 1992, is confident he could figure in the championship shake down. "Given the right car and the right package, anything is possible," he said.