Mike Conway has revealed that he was 'astonished' to receive a call-up from Mercedes Grand Prix to test for the team during the special F1 young driver outing at Jerez this week – and reflected that he may now have to re-assess where his future priorities lie.
The British star will join reigning Japanese F3 Champion Marcus Ericsson in trying out for the 2009 F1 World Champions in southern Spain – and he confessed that he thought F1 had passed him by. Conway has been busy establishing a name for himself across the Pond in the IndyCar Series this year, after F1 teams failed to come knocking despite British F3 title glory in 2006 and moderate success in the feeder GP2 Series in 2007 and 2008.
That said, the 26-year-old Kent ace does have prior experience of F1, having acted as the official test driver for Honda back in 2007 – the same team for whom he will test once again this week, having in the meantime transformed itself into first Brawn GP and now Mercedes. After that initial association with the Brackley-based outfit ultimately led nowhere, he could scarcely believe, he admits, that the interest should suddenly be re-awakened two years on.
“I was working on my possibilities to remain in the IndyCar Series next season,” Conway told French magazine Auto Hebdo
, after finishing a lowly 17th in the 2009 standings following a troubled campaign with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, “but this news has changed the whole ball game. I'll continue to examine my possibilities there, but we'll also have to see how the [F1] test goes and then decide what we want to do.
“I was astonished to learn that the team wanted to offer me a test in the world championship-winning car. The dream of any racing driver is to drive a car capable of winning races, and it's brilliant that the team has thought of me after the work I did for them in the past.”