Olivier Panis Q&A

Olivier Panis is one of the key players as the F1 silly season gets into full swing, and his services are very much in demand. The Frenchman joined McLaren as test driver this year, after six years with Ligier and Prost. His solid performances away from the limelight of race weekends have not gone unnoticed by other teams, and his reputation is stronger than it has ever been, while Having Mika Hakkinen's management team of Keke Rosberg and Didier Coton behind him does his cause no harm at all. Adam Cooper spoke to Panis about his future options

Olivier Panis Q&A



"I'm sure I'll come back next year, but I've not really decided yet where. We're waiting for a little while, but I hope we can make an announcement quite early about the future."



"We have four big offers, and Keke, Didier and me are thinking about them. Obviously there's Arrows, Sauber, Benetton and BAR. I want to come back with a team which can have a good performance. Also I would like to fight with a good team mate."



"I hope so."



"I will be a little bit disappointed to leave McLaren, because I like this team so much. These people are unbelievably good to me. They gave me this opportunity and it's been really good to prove everything this year. This team is unbelievable inside, it's so beautiful. But the future is quite long for me, and I think Ron knows why I would like to come back to race - I'm a racing driver. But I have a very, very good relationship with him, and all the people."



"No, not really. I knew before he announced it - he spoke with me about it. I accept it, because Mika and David do a very good job, David is really strong. For me it's normal that both drivers stay. But now I've proved my performance compared with the two best drivers, and I hope some doors open for next year. Also I'm sure Ron knows my performance now."



"Yes. Some were interested last year, but this year it's a lot more."



"I don't regret anything. I had some very good moments - and some difficult moments - but I regret nothing."



"My role is to help David and Mika develop the car during the season, and also to give them more time off. I've been driving a lot. The programme of development for this year is so big, so it's been a big help for everybody.



"My satisfaction is I know the best car, I know the best team. I know my performance now. Just for this point I'm very happy. Also when Mika or David win, I also win a little. I'm sure for my future this is a really good work."



"It's so difficult, but seriously, I'm sure this choice is really good for my future, and I want to race F1 next year."



"I know now what is the difference in the performance of the cars, and how the car can be developed during the season. The McLaren-Mercedes team develops everything, and optimises every part. They are so, so good. Everybody works very hard. Even if they win they continue to work all the time."



"It's different. Probably it's more quiet!"



"The language for me is no problem. Everybody made a really strong effort for me when I started. My English is getting better and better, so it's more easy for me to speak with everybody."

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