Panis looks ahead to Malaysia

Toyota's Olivier Panis looks ahead to the Malaysian Grand Prix "I am very confident for the Malaysian Grand Prix because we proved in Melbourne that the Panasonic Toyota Racing TF103 is a quick car, which is important for the morale of the team.

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

"I am very confident for the Malaysian Grand Prix because we proved in Melbourne that the Panasonic Toyota Racing TF103 is a quick car, which is important for the morale of the team. All we need to do now is find again the reliability that we showed in pre-season testing and then I am sure that we can get a good result before too long."

"Since the Australian Grand Prix I have been back in Europe, where I spent some time with my family and did two days' testing at Jerez, in southern Spain. The weather was beautiful and we had very few problems with the car, so I was able to complete a lot of laps and gather a lot of data."

Olivier Panis.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"During the test we tried various new parts on the car, including some improvements to our engine braking, and I came away encouraged. We also did some tyre testing with Michelin in preparation for the Brazilian Grand Prix at the beginning of April, and I think we will have a good tyre there - as I think will be the case at Sepang next weekend. I am very happy with the way our relationship with Michelin works and, if you look at the record books, you will see that they usually have a good tyre in Malaysia, which is good news for us."

"As a track, I really like Sepang. At 5.543 kilometres it's quite a long circuit, with just about every type of corner you can imagine, so you quickly discover your car's strengths and weaknesses. The track is also very smooth and wide, which makes overtaking possible because there are several lines that you can take through some of the corners."

The average speed at Sepang is high and the only track on which we have tested with the TF103 during the winter that is remotely similar is Barcelona and we have been quick around Barcelona, which is another reason for us to be quietly confident for the Malaysian Grand Prix!

"To be quick at Sepang, there are three things that you need more than anything: traction, aerodynamic grip and aerodynamic efficiency. There are several slow corners, including two hairpins, which are followed by long straights, and it is on the exit of these slow corners that you need the traction so that you have a good top speed. The long straights put an emphasis on aero efficiency because it's better for fuel economy, and the high-speed changes of direction in the middle section of the lap make aerodynamic grip vital. I believe that we are above average in all of these areas."

"For the drivers, the Malaysian Grand Prix is probably the most physical race of the year. The track is located on the equator, so there is a very high level of humidity and a high ambient temperature to deal with - with a helmet and race suit on! I train very hard, so I am as prepared for the conditions as I can be, but we lose up to two litres of fluid during the race, which makes it tiring all the same."

"The Panasonic Toyota Racing doctor, Riccardo Ceccarelli, ensures that we take on as many fluids as we can prior to the start of the race, and we have another litre of fluid in the car's drinks' bottle. But it's never enough."

"In the past the race has sometimes been made a bit of a lottery by an early afternoon shower - as happened in Melbourne. Well, I was incredibly impressed by the way in which the team made the right call for tyres in Melbourne (which was to start the race on dries), so I am confident that we will make the right choice again if a similar situation arises in Malaysia. My aim for next weekend is to finish the race. If I can do that, then I am sure that I can be in the points."

-toyota-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Olivier Panis
Teams Toyota Racing