In terms of points scored, Mark’s second season with Jaguar proved less fruitful than the first. The R5 was hard on its tyres and difficult to set up, but this didn’t prevent Mark from leaving his mark. Notably, he started the Malaysian Grand Prix from the front row of the grid, which led to interest from Williams for ’05.
“I felt like I was treading water in ’04. I’d managed to improve my driving in a couple of areas, but the R5 wasn’t a great car. It wasn’t easy to drive and it was pretty unreliable. We also knew pretty early on that Ford was going to pull the plug at the end of the season, so I began to look elsewhere. I felt really bad for the guys in the team but you learn pretty quickly in this game that it’s every man for himself.”
“Just three years into my F1 career, I was faced with an amazing choice for ’05: Renault or Williams. Flavio wanted me to go to Renault and that was a tempting option because I knew everyone in the team from my time there as test driver. But I also saw it as a double edged sword. On the one hand, they’d have performance; on the other, I’d be Fernando Alonso’s team-mate. I thought there was more chance of being able to mould Williams around me, so I decided to go there.”