OLIVER Panis - Team Toyota

Date of birth : 2 September 1966
Birthplace : Lyon
Marital status : Married to Anne, 3 children
Height : 173 cm
Weight : 76 kg

Wins : 1
Points scored : 64
Number of GP : 125
Pole Position : 0
Podiums : 5
First GP : 1994 (Interlagos)
Best result : 1


Olivier Panis' story had seemed one of unfulfilled promise, after a crash at the Canadian Grand Prix in 1997 saw him break both his legs and come back a shadow of his former self.

The Frenchman had been hailed as a great talent until this moment, and made the pit lane sit up and take notice when he took his maiden victory at the 1996 Monaco GP, slicing decisively past several cars on a track that is noted for not allowing overtaking.

However, despite getting back in the car as soon as possible after the accident, his form faltered and he was mainly present among the backmarkers during a formula1 career spent solely with Prost (known as Ligier until 1997). Despite some stunning drives in the latter half of 1999, Alain Prost's decision to let him go at the end of the year initially came as a shock, but actually proved to be the making of Panis.

In 2000 he opted to sit the year out and took up a testing contract with the Mercedes powered McLaren team. The Frenchman was fed up with driving for mid field outfits and hoped that the new role would show team bosses exactly what he was capable of. His plan worked and before the season was out the BAR team had contracted his services for the 2001 season. 

Throughout the year he outpaced long term friend, Jacques Villeneuve, however neither driver managed to claim that elusive first win, finishing sixth in the championship behind their Honda powered rivals at Jordan. With their sights set on a better 2002 Olivier was hoping that the win he desperately craves was just around the corner. 

Unfortunately it wasn't and the Frenchman has now signed a two-year contract to drive for Toyota in 2003 and 2004, alongside Brazilian Cristiano da Matta. As the team looks ahead to its second season in Formula One, Olivier will bring refreshed motivation, new ideas and immense development and racing experience to the team.

C A R E E R  H I G H L I G H T S

Formula 1 (BAR), 14th with 3 points.


2001 Debuts for BAR. Challenges team mate Jacques Villeneuve at the beginning of the season, before tailing off to finish fourteenth in the drivers' championship with five points.
2000 Test-drives for McLaren to great acclaim. Announces he will partner Jacques Villeneuve at BAR in 2001.
1999 15th equal in the drivers championship with 2 points. 6th place in Brazilian and German GPs, but contract with Prost is not renewed.
1998 No points, despite driving all 17 races in the Prost.
1997 Stays with Ligier (now christened Prost). Finishes 9th in the World Championship rankings. Misses latter part of the season after a horrific crash in Canada where he broke both his legs.
1996 Stays with Ligier. Finishes 9th in a season notable for his maiden GP victory at Monaco.
1995 Stays with Ligier. Finishes 8th, capturing second place in Australia in the final GP of the season.
1994 Makes his Formula1 debut with Ligier at the Brazilian GP. Finishes in second place in Germany and 11th in the Drivers' Championship.
1993 Formula 3000 Champion with DAMS.
1992 Competes in his first F3000 championship.
1991 Runner-up in the French Formula 3 Championship.
1990 Competes in his first Formula 3 championship.
1989 Wins the French Formula Renault championship.




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