Panis looks ahead to Imola

Toyota's Olivier Panis looks ahead to the San Marino GP at Imola: "It was difficult to draw many conclusions from the Brazilian Grand Prix. The weather was so bad and the track conditions were so difficult and inconsistent that merely keeping...

Toyota's Olivier Panis looks ahead to the San Marino GP at Imola:

"It was difficult to draw many conclusions from the Brazilian Grand Prix. The weather was so bad and the track conditions were so difficult and inconsistent that merely keeping the car on the road was an achievement. As it was, I was taken out of the race by another car, and that concluded a weekend of unfulfilled promises for the whole team and me."

"After Interlagos we moved to Circuit Paul Ricard, the High Tech Test Track in France, for a four-day test from Tuesday to Friday. I drove alongside the team's third driver Ricardo Zonta for the first two days, before Cristiano joined us on Thursday and Friday. It was a disappointing test because we had planned to try various new parts on the TF103 that we will race at Imola, but rain limited any meaningful running. We managed to achieve some of our goals, but not all of them. The team has been doing such a good job throughout this season that testing problems like the ones we faced this week can be even more annoying than normal."

Olivier Panis.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"The next round of this year's championship is at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, which marks the start of the European season. I have spent so much time in an aeroplane over the past two months that it has been nice to be back in Europe to see my family! It's great to have only two-hour flights for the next few weeks so that I can spend more time at home. From a logistical point of view, the shorter distances also make it easier for the team and we should be able to accelerate our development programme as a result."

"I haven't driven at Imola since last year's race, but Cristiano and Ricardo tested there with the interim TF102B in February before the season kicked off. They gathered some important data, which will hopefully help with the set-up of the TF103 next week. The track itself is quite stop-start and undulating with an emphasis on horsepower and traction."

"The high kerbs at the chicanes are very challenging and have a big influence on lap time. They upset the car a lot, but you have to use them if you want to be quick. As a driver you need to be careful not to hit them at the wrong angle because it's easy to damage the car. Then, once you have found your line, you use the suspension and tyre pressures to get the maximum from the car."

"For some reason I have never had a really good result at Imola. I have raced there eight times and have never finished higher than eighth. It's not because I don't like the place, because I do, although it is not one of my favourite tracks on the calendar, mainly because of the tragic memories of 1994 - which was actually my first ever race at Imola."

"Having said that, the enthusiasm of the Italian fans creates a very special atmosphere. They cheer all the drivers, not only the two in the red cars and I have a great respect for them. It would be a nice to get our first points of the year in Imola, but my priority is to complete my first full race distance of the season."

-toyota-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Olivier Panis , Ricardo Zonta
Teams Ferrari