Panis Calls for French Help for Young Drivers

Frenchman Olivier Panis celebrates the tenth anniversary of his arrival in Formula One this year but he admitted that unless sponsorship improves in his homeland he could be the last Grand Prix driver from his country for some time.

Panis Calls for French Help for Young Drivers

Frenchman Olivier Panis celebrates the tenth anniversary of his arrival in Formula One this year but he admitted that unless sponsorship improves in his homeland he could be the last Grand Prix driver from his country for some time.

France once developed a host of impressive drivers when the Elf scholarship scheme was in place but Panis is concerned that his country's involvement in the sport is dwindling.

"I think we have some very good young drivers like Franck Montagny but now we need big help from a big sponsor, a French company, and maybe the Federation too," said Panis. "I think now that Jean Alesi works with the FFSA to try to get some young drivers and to help improve them to go up and maybe to put someone in Formula One in the future, but I don't have the idea how to create that."

The French Grand Prix weekend marked the Formula One debut of French Formula 3000 driver Franck Montagny, who tested a Renault in the two-hour morning session on Friday. Panis, who was born in Lyon and now lives with his family in Varces in France, made his debut in Brazil in 1994 and has competed in seven Grands Prix in front of his home crowd.

He missed the 1997 race after breaking his legs in the Canadian Grand Prix in a career-altering crash and he also missed the 2000 French Grand Prix after his Prost team dropped him at the end of the 1999 season.

Panis spent the year 2000 working as a McLaren test driver and that season at Woking secured his return to Formula One with the BAR team the following year. He is now at Toyota after joining the Japanese manufacturer this year.

"I feel happy about this and I invite everyone to celebrate my first ten years in Formula One and maybe the second time for the next ten years," joked the amiable Panis. "I'm really happy to be honest but, really, I haven't proved anything I want to prove myself, which is why I continue to be really motivated and push really hard."

Panis had a disastrous race at the European Grand Prix last weekend after promising performances in practice, where he finished fastest in two of the three sessions, did not materialise into good race results.

"For us last week it was a really positive weekend from the performance point of view and everybody did a very good job but definitely we are a little bit frustrated, the team and myself, not to finish the race again," he said.

"Still, we need to take some positive things from this. At the end of the day we need to improve the situation and I'm sure one time something quite good will happen to us. I really hope so."

shares
comments
Practice 1: Webber hits Schu; goes fastest
Previous article

Practice 1: Webber hits Schu; goes fastest

Next article

Ferrari Fined $10,000 for Pitlane Incident

Ferrari Fined $10,000 for Pitlane Incident
The relaxed home life that helps F1’s Danish superstar to deliver Plus

The relaxed home life that helps F1’s Danish superstar to deliver

The unrelenting grasp of the tax man prompts most racing drivers to move to the likes of Monaco, Switzerland or Dubai. But, as OLEG KARPOV found out, Kevin Magnussen is quite happy where he is, thank you very much – at home, with his family, in Denmark

How Perez has shown what many F1 drivers need from the 2022 season run-in Plus

How Perez has shown what many F1 drivers need from the 2022 season run-in

OPINION: Sergio Perez’s Singapore triumph arrested a big decline in his Formula 1 performances against Max Verstappen at Red Bull since his Monaco win. He now needs to maintain his form to the season’s end, while others are also seeking a change in fortunes

How the FIA should punish any breaches of the F1 cost cap Plus

How the FIA should punish any breaches of the F1 cost cap

OPINION: On Wednesday, the FIA will issue F1 teams with compliance certificates if they stuck to the 2021 budget cap. But amid rumours of overspending, the governing body must set a critical precedent. It needs to carefully pick between revisiting the bitterness of Abu Dhabi, a contradictory punishment and ensuring parity for the rest of the ground-effect era

Formula 1
Oct 4, 2022
Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

A testing return to the Singapore Grand Prix in tricky conditions created plenty of hazards and mistakes for the Formula 1 drivers to fall into. That partly explains a number of low scores, including from a handful of high profile runners, allowing others to take a starring role under the floodlights

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2022
The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP Plus

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP

In a marathon Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s victory was only assured hours after the race due to a stewards investigation. Throughout the contest the Red Bull driver impressively held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in changing conditions to see the Mexican pull out enough of an advantage to negate his post-race penalty

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2022
The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams Plus

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams

What happens, asks MATT KEW, if the old adage of win on a Sunday, sell on a Monday is no longer true for F1 manufacturers?

Formula 1
Oct 2, 2022
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022