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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 15:39 GMT
Olivier Panis

Olivier Panis has done a good, solid job in his first season for Toyota.

The Frenchman has matched the car and generally seized his opportunities - although he is well aware that a moment of madness caused some serious points to get away at the US Grand Prix.

He should have converted third place on the grid at Indy into a points finish - enough, perhaps, for Toyota to vault into the top six of the constructors' championship.

Still, that was about the only time Panis has let the team down in a season where he has done exactly what was expected of him.

PERSONAL DATA
Born: 2/9/66
Nationality: French
First GP: Brazil 1994
Wins: 1
2003 position: 15th
Previous teams: Ligier, Prost, BAR
Panis is one of the most experienced and reliable men on the grid, with a fair turn of speed to boot.

Few people will remember that Panis beat David Coulthard, among others, on his way to the 1993 Formula 3000 title.

Many more will know that there was nothing to choose between him and Jacques Villeneuve at BAR for the last two seasons.

Panis, for his part, is enjoying an Indian summer at the end of a career that has often been a struggle.

This turnaround has come after several dispiriting years with the Prost team had reduced Panis to the status of a downhearted also-ran by the end of 1999.

But he spent 2000 as a test driver for McLaren and, as well as rebuilding his confidence, impressed many teams with his pace and attitude.

Panis knew he could do the job - he had, after all, won the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix in a Ligier, one of the most unexpected results in F1 history.





F1 2003
 

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