Panis looks ahead to Monaco

Toyota's Olivier Panis looks ahead to the Monaco Grand Prix "My fifth retirement of the year in Austria was frustrating, but I am a fighter and I never give up. I know that my luck will change soon and, when that happens, I will be ready for the...

Toyota's Olivier Panis looks ahead to the Monaco Grand Prix

"My fifth retirement of the year in Austria was frustrating, but I am a fighter and I never give up. I know that my luck will change soon and, when that happens, I will be ready for the challenge."

"I can think of nowhere better to score my first points of the year than at the next race, the Monaco Grand Prix. I really like the track and have happy memories of it because I won the race in 1996. It's the only proper street track on the calendar and it's a great challenge for the drivers and the teams."

Olivier Panis.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"To be quick a driver needs to have a lot of confidence in his car because most of the corners are blind and you need to get on the power without being able to see the exit. The car has to feel part of you and, despite my run of bad luck this year, I have a lot of confidence in the TF103. It's a very driveable car, so I see no reason why I can't be quick through the streets."

"But the most important thing about racing at Monaco is not to make a mistake because you can finish in the barriers before you know it. Even the smallest error can end your race, which is why you cannot relax for one moment. It's a long race - normally close to two hours - and it's a challenge to keep your concentration at the maximum for the whole race."

"There are lots of good corners on the lap, but my favourite is the Swimming Pool. It's so fast! To be quick through it you have to use all the road on the entry and exit, and you have to be careful not to hit the inside kerb too hard because it unsettles the car. If that happens you will either be slow, or in the barrier on the exit."

"The Tunnel is also very exciting. We go from daylight into darkness and it's the fastest corner of the entire year. Seriously! It's the only corner on the calendar this year that we take flat in seventh gear. The G-Forces are very high and we are doing 290kph by the exit."

"There is a new section of track this year, from the exit of the Swimming Pool to Rascasse. I haven't seen it yet, which is why I am arriving in Monaco earlier than normal - Tuesday - to check it out. I have no idea what impact it will have on the lap time but, from the maps that I have seen, I'd say our entry speeds into the Rascasse will be much higher than last year."

"It's difficult to say how good the TF103 will be around Monaco because our biggest problem this year has been a lack of consistency. At tracks where we have expected to be quick, like the A1-Ring, we have been slow and at tracks where we have expected to struggle, we have gone okay. The car seems to be competitive through medium and high-speed corners, but struggles when heavy braking is needed."

"Luckily there is no heavy braking at Monaco, so I hope we can be quick. I am aiming to qualify in the top 10 and, if our tyre partner Michelin comes up with as good a tyre as they had here last year, I think it should be possible. I tested some new front tyres in Paul Ricard last week, which were great, so I am confident for the race."

"I hope to have a new helmet in Monaco - if not there, then Canada at the latest. A lot of people asked why I wore a white helmet during last week's Paul Ricard test - and this is why. I still get some pain across my shoulders from the HANS device through fast corners and during last week's test I worked with the engineers from Bell - who supply my helmets - trying to find a solution to the problems by reshaping the helmet and the attachment points of the HANS. We also tried some new winglets on the top of the helmet in an effort to improve airflow into the car's airbox. Everything helps in Formula 1!"

"A points finish in Monaco would be great for everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing because we have worked so hard this year. It's time the guys got some reward."

-toyota-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Olivier Panis