Double World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx insists that he has no regrets about not pursuing a career in Formula One and is more than happy with his role as 'the Michael Schumacher of touring cars'.
The 31-year-old Briton, who secured his second straight WTCC title in dramatic fashion on the streets of Macau, has tested Formula One machinery in the past for Williams when they were running with BMW power and also represented BMW at Goodwood and the British Grand Prix earlier this year.
Priaulx's pace during testing led to some suggestions that he could have been considered as a possible full-time F1 tester, but the BMW Team UK driver said he would prefer to be known as the one of the best in his field rather than a Formula One test driver.
"I have beaten lots of guys who are racing in F1," he told the BBC
. "I would rather be seen as one of the best drivers in the world at what I do than a Formula One test driver. Who wants to drive around a rainy circuit three days a week with nobody even watching? At least I'm racing week in, week out - fighting for championships.”
Priaulx added that, while he enjoyed the chance to get behind the wheel of a Formula One machine, the thrill of racing meant he wanted to be somewhere where he could compete.
"The buzz of driving a Formula One car is great but I love racing, I'm a racer,” he said. “That means more than pounding around Silverstone in the winter. I have been through the whole process, and at least I was in the boxing ring with blood on my face having a go.
"The fact that I am racing at all gives me great satisfaction as I have never had much money behind me and it is still a rich man's game. I have been with guys who have been rated as some of the best around but are now doing nothing. So I'm delighted to be one of the few that is working professionally and fighting for world titles."