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Bar > Olivier Panis

Olivier Panis

Team Bar
Date of Birth 02 Septemberl 1966
Nationality French
Car Number 9
Marital Status Married
Personal Profile  

Olivier Panis' story seemed very much one of unfulfilled promise, after a crash in 1997 saw him break both his legs and come back a shadow of his former self. Despite some stunning drives in the latter half of the 1999 season he was mainly present among the backmarkers during a Formula1 career spent solely with Prost (formerly Ligier). However, Prost's decision to let him go at the end of 1999 proved to be the making of Panis.

McLaren were quick to recognise the benefits of having a driver of his experience, and snapped him up as a test driver for the 2000 season, where he flourished until his decision to join BAR for 2001. McLaren team boss, Ron Dennis, admitted to his disappointment at losing the Frenchman this year and no doubt Panis will be forever grateful that he did not take up Frank Williams offer for a one year contract in what eventually became Jenson Button's seat.

The amiable Frenchman is one of the best-liked figures in the paddock and his former mechanics at Prost still regard him with affection. He has already settled well at BAR, and team boss, Craig Pollock, is amused at how well he has integrated himself into the outfit's set-up.

Panis has performed well in the new car, the 003, which so far suits him better than the team's star driver, Jacques Villeneuve. Despite possessing a healthy respect for the French Canadian, Panis is not scared of him and is so determined to prove his worth on the race track he is unlikely to let Villeneuve stand in his way.

Career Highlights
2000 Test-drives for McLaren to great acclaim. Announces he will partner Jacques Villeneuve at BAR in 2001.
1999

15th equal in the drivers championship with 2 points. 6th place in Brazilian and German GPs, but contract with Prost is not renewed.

1998 No points, despite driving all 17 races in the Prost.
1997

Stays with Ligier (now christened Prost). Finishes 9th in the World Championship rankings. Misses latter part of the season after a horrific crash in Canada where he broke both his legs. 

1996

Stays with Ligier. Finishes 9th in a season notable for his maiden GP victory at Monaco.

1995

Stays with Ligier. Finishes 8th, capturing second place in Australia in the final GP of the season.

1994 Makes his Formula1 debut with Ligier at the Brazilian GP. Finishes in second place in Germany and 11th in the Drivers' Championship.
1993 Formula 3000 Champion with DAMS.
1992 Runner-up in the French Formula 3 Championship.
1991 Runner-up in the French Formula 3 Championship.
1990 Competes in his first Formula 3 championship.
1989 Wins the French Formula Renault championship.  



 
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