Panis gets green light for McLaren

Olivier Panis has joined the McLaren Formula One team for next season as their third driver.

Olivier Panis has joined the McLaren Formula One team for next season as their third driver.

The 33-year-old Frenchman gained just two World Championship points last season for the Prost team but will become an integral part of McLaren's bid for the 2000 title.

"We have decided that we require a third driver in the Formula One programme to meet the demands of our intensive test schedule," said Martin Whitmarsh, managing director of McLaren International.

"Olivier has already impressed us in the car and with his desire to take over this role and we are confident that his contribution will be significant."

Panis said: "Joining McLaren is an exciting challenge for me and I am looking forward to helping develop the team's new Formula One car for the 2000 season."

Panis, who made his Formula One debut in the 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix for Ligier, as the team was known before Alain Prost took over two years ago, had claimed that his ex-team Prost were lacking a human element.

When asked what his final message to Prost would be, Panis said: "In a world like Formula One, where technology is so important, Alain needs to remember that there is still a human element."

Panis' 1999 season was complicated after his friend and manager Peter Poeliejoe-Vewald died of cancer in May.

The driver felt his driving suffered as a result of this and it was only when Mika Hakkinen's manager Keke Rosberg took over his business dealings that his performances began to improve again.

He is now looking forward to the McLaren challenge but admitted to feeling sadness at leaving the team he has driven his entire F1 career for.

Panis said: "I felt a certain sadness as I have been with the team, first Ligier and then Prost, for six years so I have a lot of friends there. But next year there is a new stage for both me and the team."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea