Pollock: 'Panis is as good as DC and Mika'

BAR boss Craig Pollock reckons Olivier Panis is as good as the Frenchman's former team mates at McLaren - ex-world champ Mika Hakkinen and nine-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard.

Pollock: 'Panis is as good as DC and Mika'

Speaking exclusively to Autosport.com as we continue our series of 'My Season' reviews, BAR's managing director said that in his role as McLaren test driver, Panis had shown he was a match for DC and Hakkinen for speed.

"I think the fact that he has shone so well during a testing programme at McLaren means that Panis is capable of doing what Coulthard and Hakkinen do in a car," said Pollock.

Pollock is not underestimating the experience Panis can bring with him from McLaren.

"I'm sure that he is able to come across (from McLaren) not only with his driving talent, but also with the ability to tell us the differences between a McLaren and a British American Racing car. I think it's a very, very positive thing. I shouldn't be saying it, but it is a fact."

Pollock believes that Panis, who won the Monaco Grand Prix winner with Ligier, is the ideal driver to push Villeneuve and the pairing will make the team stronger in 2001.

"We've taken an older driver who speaks the same language (as Villeneuve), and who can turn round to Jacques and tell him to piss off!" said Pollock. "The more that Olivier can slap Jacques in the face, the more Jacques is going to step up.

"I think Panis is very capable of getting the whole team behind him very quickly and will be willing to put the effort in to do that, and that will be Jacques' problem - will Jacques be able to keep his team behind him, will he not lose it? To me it's going to be a very, very healthy competition next year."

To read the whole of Craig Pollock's season review click HERE.

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