Atlas F1 News Service

Villeneuve Pushed by Panis

Friday March 16th, 2001

Craig Pollock believes that the competition within his British American Racing team will help former world champion Jacques Villeneuve find his old form.

Olivier Panis' arrival at the team has given the Canadian a stern test, and the challenge was underlined when Panis went almost 0.8 seconds faster than Villeneuve in Friday's free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The BAR cars finished ninth and eleventh respectively, but Pollock warned that the duo will leave their mark in qualifying.

"I think Olivier is giving Jacques a hard time and that is the reason we hired him," Pollock said. "We want one behind the other. Jacques has done it in the past and he has to step up.

"Jacques on Friday is not the same as Jacques on Saturday and don't expect him to be beaten. I think it is fantastic and they understand each other, they speak the same language and a good friendship is building up."

Frenchman Panis, who was docked his fourth place finish in Australia after it was deemed he overtook Nick Heidfeld under yellow flags, said he can score points at Sepang and was happy with his opening practice.

"Naturally it is nice to get back to a race weekend," Panis said. "I am very pleased to be fighting from the first corner at the start and it is great to be with BAR. I am fit and ready to fight.

"In Australia, when I overtook Nick Heidfeld I didn't see the yellow flag and I am really sorry to the team because for the first race we did a good job and got three points.

"But it was an FIA decision and I am happy with this. Now we have to work hard this weekend to get some points here."

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