Panis seeks points in final show

Toyota's Olivier Panis is on the hunt for points at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, the Frenchman's last Formula 1 race of his career before he makes way for test driver Ricardo Zonta at the season finale in Brazil

Panis seeks points in final show

Panis is the oldest driver on the grid and his F1 career dates back to 1994, the highlight almost certainly is sole F1 win at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix in the Ligier. While adding another victory to his profile is highly unlikely at Suzuka, the Frenchman, who will stay on at Toyota as the team's test driver in 2005, hopes to finish his career at least in a points-scoring position.

"I love Suzuka. It is a very fast, high-speed circuit and one of my favourites on the calendar," Panis said. "I always enjoy racing in front of the Japanese Toyota fans, but this year's event will also be quite emotional for me because it will be my final Formula 1 race. Although I will miss the excitement of racing, I will have the chance to give a big input in Toyota's future in my new role as third driver.

"In that respect, having Jarno on board will be very helpful in setting ourselves up for next season. He has been a good friend of mine since our time as team-mates and I know we will work very well together. All I am hoping for this weekend is to finish my racing career with points."

While Panis will take part in his last race, Toyota will celebrate its 50th. Team boss Tsutomu Tomita said: "I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone, but over this short period, we have matured in every aspect of our operations and I am confident that it will not be long before we can reduce the gap to the front-running teams.

"In order to prepare well for next season, we are pleased to have Jarno racing for Toyota in the last two events of the season. His valuable contribution to the race and test teams will be a big advantage for 2005. Of course, the Japanese Grand Prix is Toyota's home race, so we will have a huge support from our dedicated fans."

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