Olivier Panis Q&A

Olivier Panis celebrated his 100th Grand Prix at the Nurburgring last weekend, and marked the occasion by earning his worst grid position of the year to date, and then spinning off during the race! It's a shame that he could not wait until France for the party. He has had some good moments in qualifying at Magny-Cours over the years, although his luck has been out on race day, and so far he has failed to score a point. This weekend he has probably his best chance yet of putting that right. Adam Cooper spoke to the Frenchman

Olivier Panis Q&A



"Yes, I'm very pleased about this. Now I just have to continue for 100 more! I have say thank you to the team for thinking about it and making a present for me after a not very good qualifying."



"Well, it's Monaco, but also the '97 season, when I started with a really good package, and before my accident I was third in the championship. I have a very good memory about this. Now I'm happy with this year also, but for sure Monaco was the best one."



"I think the French people are very excited now, because I have a good car and we have a good team. I think this year there will be more flags than the year before! But to be honest it's just another race for me. I like the French people, I like to race in France, and I like Magny-Cours as a circuit, but I need to make the best result everywhere. We need to work hard to have the best possible car."



"I won't bring a lot of friends; I'll be going to Magny-Cours quite alone, because we have a lot of pressure there, and I need to concentrate. But I have a fan club there, with a lot of people, and that's quite a lot of fun."



"Over the years I've had some good qualifying positions there. In 1999 I was third on the grid, but I've never finished the race in a very good way, and I would like to do so for the first time this year. I tested there a lot with Ligier and Prost, and also last year with McLaren, so I know the circuit very well. But you also need to have a good car, and I think this year we have a good baseline. We have a car with which we can always fight for the points, and sometimes for the podium."



"Overall Magny-Cours is a really good circuit, and very challenging. You have fast high-speed corners, and the track is very smooth and very flat. No other circuit is as smooth! You have a special set-up, because the car is very low, and it's good fun. It's not easy to pass, so qualifying is very important. We have a good launch control system, so that will help."



"Because I know the circuit very well I have a good feeling about the set-up. In Magny-Cours you need a car that has a good set-up mechanically, and a good package aerodynamically. It's a compromise. At the moment we have quite a good one, and I'm quite positive for Magny-Cours. We tested there a few weeks ago, and the car was good."



"Magny-Cours is the middle of France, but it's also the middle of nowhere! It's a good place when the weather is really good, but I tested there sometimes during the winter, and it's very difficult. If you don't like to play golf or run in the forest, there's nothing to do..."

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