Olivier Panis Q&A

Olivier Panis was hoping for great things after switching from BAR to Toyota this season, but the first half of the season has been disappointing for the Frenchman, who has rarely seen a chequered flag. He's been caught out by poor unreliability and, in the case of Brazil, was simply in the wrong place when Ralph Firman suffered a suspension breakage. There have been some good grid positions, although usually they've been achieved with light fuel loads. Ironically he threw away Monaco, the race he won in 1996, by running very heavy on a futile one-stop strategy. In Canada Panis made the points for the first time this year, albeit in a humble eighth place. Adam Cooper spoke to the Frenchman

Olivier Panis Q&A



"Yes, but we need to be better. I'll take that point as a first step for the team. I think it was very positive, because we qualified both cars in the top 10, and finished with one car. It was a little bit of a shame for Cristiano, but I'm quite sure we're on a good direction now to improve the car. Everything went well during the weekend. Reliability was no problem, the balance was no problem, we just need to make it a little bit quicker so we can fight with the first four."



"Yes, we took a different strategy to other people, but it looked really good. The second stint was still really good also. I don't know what went on in the last stint, but I felt my last set of tyres was not fantastic. But anyway we finished the race and scored a point. I need to be positive. I know it's not enough, but everybody is working really hard."



"I'm actually quite happy about the season, to be honest. I don't say I'm very happy, but we proved in some races that we are very competitive. I'm a little frustrated because we lost a lot of points at the start of the season, because I was really, really fast. But we're a young team, and we have to take these things as an example and make sure it doesn't happen one more time."



"Very exciting. All the time I do F1 to win, and definitely I'm not stupid, I know we're quite far from winning, but we have a good direction to close the gap with some very good cars and to fight with some good teams and score some points."



"I think the base of the Toyota team is quite good. I'm really impressed by the factory and the tools they have, but now we need to use these tools 100 per cent, and Cristiano and me need to grow up with the team to do the best together. But I'm quite positive about all these things, because I'm quite sure that eventually Toyota will win a race, and maybe a championship. I want it to be early on! Still I'm really impressed by the organisation and the way they try to prepare the factory and prepare the car. It looks really good. Now I think we have some good guys on the team, but we need to have some more experience to improve."



"Yes, I worked with him before in Prost. I know him very well. He's a good engineer. It's not possible to disturb him, he's very calm. It's what I like. Because sometimes when the car is not perfect you need to be calm, and for that he does a good job. But now we need to carry on and the team needs to grow up with experience, to fix some small problems we have a bit quicker. But everybody in the factory is very motivated and is pushing hard, which is why I respect them a lot."



"I think it's new for everybody. Maybe some people manage it a little bit better, compared with us, but only a little bit. In the management we have a lot of good people with a lot of good experience of motor racing, like Ove Andersson and Ange Pasquali. Definitely we have a lot to do, but we in quite a good direction and everyone is very concentrated."



"Sure, I have a bigger responsibility, but I think Cristiano does too. He tested a lot during the winter, and he's really competitive. I think we work quite closely together already. He understands the car quite well, so we can start develop it together. I think we have a good team."



"Definitely yes. It's why I'm here. They have one driver with a lot of experience, and one with a lot of experience in motor racing, but new in F1. Cristiano is a good driver and we have a good relationship together, which is very important too. I have a lot to do, I'm going a lot to the factory, but I'm quite happy to do it. At the end of the day I feel the car we have is quite good."



"I have no idea! I hope we find something, and we'll see in Nurburgring."

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