Panis fastest again… in last McLaren test

Olivier Panis completed his final day of testing for the McLaren-Mercedes team by unsurprisingly topping the time sheets at the Spanish Valencia circuit

Panis fastest again… in last McLaren test

Panis is leaving his test role with the Woking-based team to take up a race seat alongside Jacques Villeneuve at BAR-Honda next year. The Frenchman has played a big part in helping to develop this year's MP4-15 and paved the way for experienced Grand Prix drivers to take up testing roles.

On extra-soft Bridgestone tyres Panis could not better his lap-record beating time of 1m13.50s from yesterday (Thursday). The 34-year-old completed 74 laps at the mainly bright and sunny track - although he did run a handful of laps on wet tyres when rain began to fall at the end of the afternoon.

McLaren were again joined by the Arrows team, but this time it was the turn of Jos Verstappen to try AMT's re-badged Peugeot engine - the unit the Leafield-based team will use next year.

The Dutchman completed only 30 laps and would not comment on the competitiveness of the team's new V10. The mechanics attempted to solve overheating problems by making extra exit-holes in the A10's side pods for the cooling air.

Panis will in fact have one more opportunity to drive the McLaren at a shakedown at Santa Pod next Tuesday. Despite requests, the team would not let the Frenchman take the class-of-the-field MP4-15 with him. Instead the mechanics put together a frog as a leaving present - made up of old engine parts.


Olivier Panis, McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.20s 74
Jos Verstappen, Arrows-AMT 1m17.13s 30

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