Toyota's Olivier Panis looks back over the British Grand Prix weekend Q: What are your thoughts on the British Grand Prix? Olivier Panis. Photo by LAT Photographic. Olivier Panis I like the Silverstone circuit. It would be ...
Toyota's Olivier Panis looks back over the British Grand Prix weekend
Q: What are your thoughts on the British Grand Prix?
Olivier Panis I like the Silverstone circuit. It would be interesting to see what kind of speeds we would get on the circuit the way it used to be, with the flat-out Club and Woodcote corners! But times and circuits change. Silverstone though, retains a lot of its character. Racing drivers all like fast, challenging corners and the Becketts complex at Silverstone is one of the most exhilarating sections to drive on any track that we race on.
Q: Are there any things you need to concentrate on particularly?
OP: It's the kind of place where, if everything is going well, you get into a rhythm and you just kind of flow. That is very satisfying. But you have to be careful of the wind. Silverstone was an old World War 2 airfield and, like all of those, was built in a very flat, exposed place. It is therefore susceptible to any winds. It is also quite a high-speed track and so the wind, as at Barcelona, can have a big influence on the car's handling.
Q: What were you expecting from the British Grand Prix weekend?
OP: With the car that we took to Silverstone, I was expecting that the track layout would help the performance of the car, but unfortunately, things did not run as I had expected with trouble in both qualifying and the race through absolutely no fault of my own.
Q: Tell us about the situation on your qualifying lap
OP: My actual qualifying lap was very good, so I was very upset with the situation on my in lap. There was a communications mix-up with the team and I didn't know until the last minute that Massa was coming. As soon as I saw him in my mirrors, I did all that I could to keep out of his way. It was certainly not intentional. I apologised to him afterwards, but I don't think I held him up at all. I was annoyed that the stewards decided to delete my time, as I had pushed so hard on my lap to get the best out of the car.
Q: Presumably you were never optimistic starting from your eventual 17th place on the grid?
OP: Regardless of where I start on the grid, I never give up and enter each race with full motivation, even in the most difficult of circumstances. I gave it everything I could. After the inconclusive practice session on Friday, when we had to evaluate our tyres, we decided as a team to opt for the softer of the two Michelin tyres but they didn't really work too well for me in the first stint. I passed the Minardis on the first lap but then I got stuck behind Nick Heidfeld's Jordan. And then I had my problem with the fire extinguisher, which put me out of the race.
Q: What happened with the fire extinguisher?
OP: The extinguisher just exploded in the car just after my first scheduled stop. The spray went everywhere. It was all over the steering wheel, all over my visor and I couldn't see a thing. I ended up in the gravel trap. An unfortunate end to a difficult weekend.
Q: Do you agree that it's about time you had a change of fortune after Magny Cours and Silverstone?
OP: I think the whole team is waiting for a turn in fortuned and hopefully Hockenheim will be it. We have been looking forward to getting the revised TF104B car for a while now and Hockenheim will be the first time we race it. A lot of hard work has gone into the car, from everyone at the factory, and hopefully it will allow us to make some progress. Most of the modifications centre on the aerodynamic performance, which we have been lacking this year. However, we will have to wait and see what happens over the weekend and assess the situation after the first practice sessions on Friday. We will have time for a quick shakedown of the TF104B at Jerez this week, but many of the aero parts will be seen for the first time at the Hockenheim race weekend. We should not forget that Hockenheim is not the end of the development process, as the team is still flat-out producing parts for the rest of the season.