Panis looks ahead to Montreal

Toyota's Olivier Panis looks ahead to the Canadian Grand Prix "No-one at Panasonic Toyota Racing needs to dwell on the results from Monaco. Of course it was very disappointing to finish last - especially because I won there in 1996 - but we knew...

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

"No-one at Panasonic Toyota Racing needs to dwell on the results from Monaco. Of course it was very disappointing to finish last - especially because I won there in 1996 - but we knew before the race that it would be difficult for us because the TF103 has suffered from a lack of overall low-speed grip. I certainly do not blame anyone for our performance there. The car was not competitive and that's it."

Olivier Panis.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"I must say that I have been amazed at the way the team has bounced back since Monaco. We ran a two-pronged test effort last week: I took over from Ricardo Zonta at Monza for two days concentrating on low downforce development, which we will need at the next race in Montreal, and my team-mate Cristiano Da Matta was at Silverstone on Tuesday and Wednesday. We made really good progress with the car at both tracks and worked on dampers, general car set-up, tyre tests and also a new-specification engine for Canada, which I am very positive about."

"I really love the team spirit at Panasonic Toyota Racing. Everyone is so determined and it is as times like this - when we have just had a bad couple of races - that it really counts. With everybody pushing forward at the moment I believe that it is only a matter of time until our luck changes."

"Let's hope that it begins at next week's Canadian Grand Prix. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is where I broke my leg in 1997, but that doesn't mean that I don't like the place. The accident could have happened anywhere and the truth is that I really like to race there. From a driver's point of view it is not a technically demanding track to drive, but there is lots of heavy braking, which makes it good for overtaking."

"I don't want to make any predictions as to how we will get on in the race. Our performances have varied so much this year that I have a very open mind as to how we will get on. The long straights should suit our new-spec RVX-03 engine but, on the other hand, the TF103 might struggle over the kerbs, like it did at Imola earlier in the year."

"I would say that Montreal is a lot like Imola. The circuits may not look similar from the outside, but in terms of car performance they are quite close. Both tracks have fast sections, where engine power is important and, to be really quick, you have to use the kerbs at both places too."

"We have made quite a bit of progress with kerbs since Imola, so I don't want to write off our chances before we get there. It's just a question of how much progress our rivals have made. One thing that I am sure of is that our tyre partner Michelin will give us another excellent tyre in Canada. They are doing a fantastic job for us at the moment and, when I tested our Montreal rubber at Paul Ricard a couple of weeks ago, it gave me a big smile. I am sure that Michelin will be competitive there."

"But the Canadian Grand Prix is not just about the track. Montreal is one of my favourite cities in the world, although it probably helps that everyone there speaks French! Seriously, I like the architecture very much, all the people are very friendly and there are some great places to eat out. I might even pay a visit to the bar owned by my former team-mate Jacques Villeneuve one evening."

"I really hope that I can open my points score in Canada. I have been close on a number of occasions this year and, between Cristiano and me, we have proved that the TF103 is fundamentally a good car - deserving of more than three points."

"We have to continue pushing as a team, never giving up until we succeed."

-toyota-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Ricardo Zonta , Gilles Villeneuve
Teams Toyota Racing