Smith impresses during McLaren test
Formula One hopeful Dean Smith admits that he is incredibly happy with the way his recent test with McLaren worked out.
The 2009 Formula Renault UK Champion was given the opportunity to have a run in the MP4-23 McLaren Mercedes - the team's 2008 F1 challenger - around Silverstone's South Circuit because he won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award last year.
The Briton enjoyed three six-lap runs, and reveals that the team were impressed with his performance.
"When I went out on track for the first time it was pretty wet but that wasn't a problem, everything felt very comfortable and quite natural actually," explained the 22-year-old.
"We hit 185mph at the end of the main straight but it didn't feel massively different to cars I've raced and tested before, like the World Series by Renault car, because it's so smooth and well balanced. The McLaren Mercedes is absolutely awesome."
Despite his recent success, Smith is well aware that he has a long way to go before he can even think of entering F1, particularly with sponsorship money a constant problem.
"It's never been a secret in my career - we've always struggled to get the budget together to make the next step on the ladder each time and that's the position we're in again now," he said.
"As it stands, I've no idea where I'll be racing in 2011. Ideally, I want to be in GP3 again for a title push or even make the move to GP2 but the money required is massive.
"Even though we've always had to do things on a tight budget, we've had a lot of success - winning Formula BMW UK in 2005, Formula Renault UK in 2009 and the McLaren Autosport award. Now I've shown what I can do in an F1 car, it's more vital than ever to attract the sponsorship and investment we need," he added.