Panis respects quick Villeneuve

Toyota driver Olivier Panis has praised his former team mate at BAR, saying Jacques Villeneuve is maybe even better now than in the past. Panis partnered Villeneuve for two years and thinks Jenson Button, who took over Panis' race seat at BAR, is...

Toyota driver Olivier Panis has praised his former team mate at BAR, saying Jacques Villeneuve is maybe even better now than in the past. Panis partnered Villeneuve for two years and thinks Jenson Button, who took over Panis' race seat at BAR, is good, but not tough enough for the Canadian former champion.

"I don't know Jenson very well. I think he is quite good but Jacques is a really tough person," said Panis, according to the BBC. "He is really quick and maybe he is even better a driver than he was five years ago. I like him and respect him because he is very quick and very strong. If BAR give him a quick car then I know he will do well."

Villeneuve and Panis were good team-mates, the tempremental Canadian and affable Frenchman rarely indulged in off track bickering. How Button will cope with Villeneuve is yet to be seen but apparently the pair have not yet spoken to one another.

Toyota start testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in France tomorrow, with Panis and Christiano da Matta on duty, while Button takes to the track in the BAR005 at the Circuit de Catalunya, starting on January 15th. Button will be joined by testers Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson but Villeneuve is not expected to join the test.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Anthony Davidson