Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda driver Olivier Panis has thrown down the gauntlet to his Race Engineer David Lloyd by challenging him to a ‘role reversal’ at this weekend’s Formula Ford Festival. Olivier will swap his steering wheel for a place on the Pitwall while David jumps into the driving seat to show Olivier how it’s done!
The 2001 Formula One World Championship is now over and it’s been a tough season for Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda. The challenge of the Formula Ford Festival is a chance for Olivier’s race crew to let off steam and have some fun prior to taking a well-earned winter break. Olivier - who will be in charge of ‘race strategy’ - is certainly looking forward to giving as good as he usually gets from David, while Chief Mechanic and pitstop maestro Alastair Gibson will be the team’s PR ‘machine’ for the weekend.
Commenting on his one-off role as Race Engineer, Olivier said: “I have no experience of engineering at all and I have never seen a Formula Ford in my life! I’m not really sure what I’m going to be doing but I’m really happy to help David and some other people from the team. It will be good for me to push him because he’s been pushing me so hard this season.”
Olivier raced Formula Renault and Formula 3 earlier in his career so he does actually have some experience of getting his hands dirty with the mechanics. When asked if this would be the case at the Festival, he joked: “I plan to play the big boss and stand there with a fat cigar shouting at David!”
“I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll actually be there as the Team Press Officer - which should be a laugh. Formula Ford cars aren’t as technical to engineer as F1 cars so this will be a great team-building exercise more than anything else. Often after the last Grand Prix of the season, everyone goes in different directions for 3 or 4 months. It’s always busy at the circuits and you don’t get that much time to have fun and chat as much as you’d like to. I just hope everyone realises that we’ll be doing this just to enjoy ourselves. We’re not expecting to win or anything but who knows? I’m sure it’s going to be hugely entertaining.”
Olivier is keen to stress that he is still a racing driver at heart and has no plans to make the switch to Race Engineer on a long-term basis.
David’s involvement in motorsport started at the age of 14 with kart . racing. After four years he made the natural progression into Formula . Ford, starting in 1989, and found himself competing against the . likes of current Formula 1 Drivers, David Coulthard and Pedro de la . Rosa. David also successfully balanced the demands of motor racing . and higher education during this time, completing a BSc Hons degree . in Microelectronics Computing and Instrumentation After a further . year of competition, this time in the 1991 Formula Vauxhall Lotus . British Championship, David switched roles to team owner/engineer, . setting up David Lloyd Motorsport, and fielding cars in the Opel . Lotus Euroseries. The team scored nine race wins in this competitive . championship between 1992 and 1996, and David helped several promising. young drivers to further their careers, including Jan Magnussen . (F1/GT1) and Jason Watt (Formula 3000) .
In search of a new challenge, David decided to combine his computing/electronics background with his motor racing experience, and for 1997, moved to the electronics/data department at the Tyrrell Racing Organisation. Initially responsible for the electrical/electronic aspects of running the famous Formula 1 team’s cars at races and tests, his duties widened in 1998 to include on and off-site data analysis.
With British American Racing’s purchase of Tyrrell, David moved to the new team in November 1998, as Assistant Race Engineer to Jock Clear on Jacques Villeneuve’s car, working specifically on data analysis. In December 1999, he took over the role of Race and Test Engineer for Ricardo Zonta and in 2001 he worked alongside Lucky Strike BAR Honda’s new driver, Olivier Panis