Panis gets to keep the car!

Olivier Panis drove his 158th and probably final Grand Prix at Suzuka and, as a token of appreciation for his efforts over the past two years, the team presented the 38-year-old Frenchman with his Suzuka TF104 by way of a leaving present.

Panis gets to keep the car!

Panis, of course, will be employed in a testing role by the team next year and may race again if called upon to do so as the team's third driver.

"It is a great gesture and I am really moved," Panis said. "Unfortunately my final race didn't quite go the way I would have liked. I took a gamble by taking the softer Michelin tyre while Jarno (Trulli) went for the harder one. I was only able to manage one quick lap and then the tyres dropped off quite a lot. There was a lot of graining, the rear end became very nervous and so it was a very difficult race. I brought forward my second stop because I had a problem with that particular set of tyres and that meant I then had a very heavy car for the next stint, which made my life more difficult."

On writing what will likely be the final chapter of his race career, Panis said: "It had to finish one day. I don't feel anything special now, maybe tomorrow I'll feel different, but after working 11 years in F1 I'd say that I was lucky I could fulfil my passion from childhood. I won't go to Brazil, I'll watch the race on TV, then take one month off to spend some time with my family before working hard on my fitness to be ready for a heavy winter of testing.

"All the team principals came to see me, Honda wanted to see me too, as I was one of the few drivers to win for them, and Toyota gifted me the race car from today, so I'll have a great car to add to my collection. Even in the GPDA meeting everyone was very nice. Michael Schumacher said he'd miss me, but I guess everything has its time!"

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