Olivier Panis


  • Oullins, Lyon, France Place of Birth
  • 2 September 1966 Date of Birth
  • 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix F1 Debut
  • Toyota Racing Current/Last Team

Olivier Panis, originally from Oullins, Lyon, is a former French Formula One driver. Early in his career, Panis honed his driving skills in karting, progressing through several junior series before moving up to French Formula 3. By 1990, he secured 4th place in the championship and achieved runner-up status the following year.

BornOlivier Jean Denis Marie Panis
2 September 1966
Oullins, Lyon, France

After karting, Panis competed in two seasons of F3000. His initial season involved challenges with the Apamotox team’s stubborn Lola car, while the second season saw him racing for the highly regarded DAMS Equipe. His perseverance paid off when he was crowned champion, setting the stage for his entry into Formula 1 with Ligier.

At 27, Panis joined the French-based Ligier team in Formula One in 1994. That season, he secured a surprise second-place finish at Hockenheim, ending the season 11th overall. He continued to impress, securing another unexpected second place at the 1995 Australian Grand Prix, despite trailing two laps behind the leader, and finished 8th in the championship standings.

Panis’s most stunning triumph came in 1996 at the Monaco Grand Prix, where he navigated his way to victory in treacherously wet conditions. It marked Ligier’s first win in 15 years—their last—and was the first French victory in a French car at Monaco in 66 years. However, apart from this victory, Panis did not finish higher than fifth that season.

In 1997, racing for Prost, who had bought Ligier, Panis showed promise, placing third in the championship standings after six races. Unfortunately, a crash in Canada broke his leg, sidelining him for eight races. He returned for the season’s last three races, and finishing 9th in the championship.

The 1998 season was less successful for Panis, who struggled to score points under Prost’s management. He earned only a single point across the next season, leading to the end of his relationship with Prost.

Panis then considered an offer from Williams but opted to test for McLaren instead, which kept his presence in the paddock despite a full-time drive. He joined BAR in 2001, although the team did not meet his expectations, finishing 14th for two consecutive seasons.

In 2003, Panis moved to Toyota new team to provide his experience and mentor his teammate, Cristiano da Matta. Although he improved in qualifying, his overall results mirrored his previous seasons, finishing 14th once again.

Panis continued with Toyota through 2004, his tenth year in Formula One. In October of that year, he announced his retirement, effective after the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix. He stayed on with Toyota as a test driver through 2005 and 2006, ending his F1 career at the age of 37.

Olivier Panis Formula One World Championship career

F1 Career1994–1999, 2001–2004
TeamsLigier, Prost, BAR, Toyota
Entries158 (157 starts)
Career points76
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1994 Brazilian Grand Prix
First win1996 Monaco Grand Prix
Last win1996 Monaco Grand Prix
Last entry2004 Japanese Grand Prix

Sources: and


Driver Nationality Current/Last Team F1 Debut Status
British Jaguar 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix Retired
British Jordan Grand Prix 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix Retired
Italian Lotus Racing 1997 Australian Grand Prix Retired
Canadian Sauber 1996 Australian Grand Prix F1 Legend
German Toyota Racing 1997 Australian Grand Prix Retired


Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Ligier French 1976 Historic
Prost French 1997 Historic
BAR British 1999 Historic
Toyota Racing Japanese 2002 Historic