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Mike Forsyth will be perched on the edge of his seat watching this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix on television with more than usual interest.

Because when Jenson Button fires his Honda off the grid for the opening round of the Formula One World Championship on Sunday, former Derby County defender Forsyth will know that he played his part in getting the car on track.

Forsyth, a Rams stalwart between 1985 and 1996, not only switched careers but swerved dramatically when he found his football future shrouded in uncertainty.

Purely by chance, he moved into the high-octane world of Formula One - and now he reckons he is living his second dream.

He said: "I had a great career in football and played at Wembley twice. Now I've got another career in a completely different sphere. It sounds mad but it's absolutely brilliant. I have to pinch myself to believe that it's happened.

"I've been very lucky to have had a good career in football and now I work with a superb bunch of people in the top flight of another sport.

"I am living a second dream."

Forsyth joined the Rams from West Bromwich Albion for £26,000 shortly before the 1986 transfer deadline and, after playing in central defence, slotted into the left-back role created by Steve Buckley's departure.

He went on to play for England Under-21 and England B and his totally-committed style earned him favour with the fans, who voted him Player of the Year in the 1987-88 season.

Only suspensions and an occasional injury kept him out and he made 124 consecutive appearances between April 1988 and January 1991.

He became captain in 1992 when he succeeded Geraint Williams but relinquished the role shortly afterwards.

He moved to Notts County and then Wycombe Wanderers in December 1996 before spells at Burton Albion and Gresley Rovers.

He then became Wycombe's reserve team boss in July 2001.

The opportunity to change course came when he found himself surplus to requirements at Wycombe.

He said: "I had been with Wycombe managing their youth team. I had done all the coaching qualifications, including my UEFA A badge, but then Laurie Sanchez got sacked and Tony Adams arrived. I had a year left on my contract but I was put on gardening leave.

"I tried to get back into football and was hoping maybe for a another coaching job. I wrote for what seemed like hundreds of jobs without any success and I was really sitting at home tearing my hair out with boredom.

"Then I just happened to have a conversation with a guy who worked at Honda and he offered me the chance to do some part-time work.

"I had never done anything like it before but I loved it immediately.

"Then a job as a garage technician was advertised on the Honda racing test team. I applied and got it and really haven't looked back since."

Forsyth found himself thrust into the front line of Formula One rather more quickly than he had expected.

"It was just amazing. I found myself working for the race team at the French GP at Magny-Cours," he said

"I could harldy believe it. Suddenly I was one of the guys wearing the helmets in the pit crew, clearing out the cars' radiators during the pit stops.

"I'd watched Formula One on the TV but it was hard to believe that I was actually involved. I was there, in amongst it all, surrounded by film stars, famous drivers and TV crews.

"The following week, I was working with the test team in Spain.

"The whole thing was such a massive change. I had never worked in anything other than football, when we used to train for three or four hours a day, play snooker in the afternoon and wonder what to do with the rest of our time.

"Now, when we're away testing, we can be working 16 hours a day. The contrast couldn't be bigger."

Forsyth, now 40, is responsible for preparing the Brackley- based test team garages, rubbing shoulders with GP drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barichello and tester Anthony Davidson.

It is a role that has taken him far and wide.

"We have been to Barcelona, Monza, Jerez and I've just got back from Valencia but unfortunately I wasn't in Bahrain for the recent test. That was done by the race team," he added.

Is the next step working with the full F1 team?

"I'm still new to the job, cutting my teeth in it if you like, but who knows what the future holds. All I can say is that I'm really enjoying it and I'm working with a great bunch of people."
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Pro footballer and then into F1...it's alright for some, alot of people would give anything to be involved in just one of the two.
 

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I still can't believe you have put this up!!!
 

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Durkos said:
I still can't believe you have put this up!!!
It's breaking news man, Bruce Forsyth is a legend...
 
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