Allan McNish will switch from Sky Sports
to the BBC
this season following confirmation last week he will act as an expert analyst for Radio 5 live
'at least' six F1 grand's prix. Here the Scot, who finished second at Le Mans last year with Audi and who raced in F1 with Toyota in 2002, gives his thoughts and opinions ahead of this week's 2013 F1 season opener in Australia...
Allan, congratulations on securing the role with BBC Radio 5 live
, you must be looking forward to it?
Yes, I am actually. I have been listening to sport and watching sport on the BBC
since I was a tiny boy. I remember the tones of Murray Walker and that famous Dijon race [in 1979], where, if you remember, [Renè] Arnoux and [Gilles] Villeneuve were battling it out [for second].
I still listen to all the BBC
and Radio 5 live
sports reports on a Saturday afternoon, even now - it doesn't matter where we are or where I am racing. It is going to be nice to be part of the team and to be on the other end of the microphone.
Last year F1 was very unpredictable. Do you think it will be the same in 2013?
I don't think we will get totally the same level of unpredictability because people are starting to understand what the tyres are doing a little bit more and also the tyres this year seem to have a slightly wider working window. However it is a different version of tyre to what they got use to at the end of 2012. So, I do think for the first few races, there will be an element of unpredictability.
I don't think what we saw in testing - especially in Barcelona - was a true reflection of everything. I would say the 'usual suspects' are probably where they should be.
I think that the first grand's prix will be about the tyres. They will be about who gets it right - and also probably more importantly, who gets it wrong and slips off the edge of that really good grippy part when it is working well. But that is something that makes it quite exciting for us.
Also I think it probably makes it very frustrating for the engineers up and down the pit lane because that is a variable that they don't want into the equation. But it is a variable that the fans do.
The tyres certainly spiced it up a lot last season...
They spiced things up much more than some of the other things that were brought in for overtaking. But when you add it all together you have to say last year was a superb season with the number of winners.
It was changing every weekend and some of the races, and the one I particularly remember was Valencia, and how emotional that race was for [Fernando] Alonso - and also the fight, the comeback and the overtaking, and then you take it [the title fight] all the way through to Brazil [too]. [Sebastian] Vettel's performance after lap 1 [in Interlagos] was a real world champion's performance. You have to say though, that there were probably three people that deserved, as drivers', the world title last year. I am sure that two of them will be trying to take it off the young German this year, plus the others as well of course.
As you said, Vettel and Red Bull came out top in the end. Can they do that again this season?
It is hard to be number one and it is even harder to stay there because everyone is trying to knock you off the top.