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Olivier Panis on testing Toyota's V8 18 Jul 2005

Olivier Panis (FRA) Toyota Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, 1 July 2005

Last week Olivier Panis became one of the first drivers to sample the next generation of Formula One engine, to be introduced in 2006, when he tested Toyota’s 2.4 litre V8 at Jerez...

Q: Olivier, what did it feel like to track test Toyota's new RVX06 V8?
Olivier Panis:
"It was very interesting and made a good change from tyre tests. My first impression, not surprisingly, was that it was quite a bit slower than the V10. You notice that the acceleration is not as strong and that the g-forces in the corners are less. But when you consider that the engine has around 200bhp less than a V10, that is to be expected and will be the same for everyone. It even makes old men like me think about re-launching an F1 racing career!"

Q: Do you think the physical effects seemed less because you did fewer laps?
"I think that could also be a factor, sure. There are obviously more checks to make when you are doing a new engine shakedown. All the systems have to be monitored and with a V8 there is more vibration, so you have to assess all the ancillary components as well. The first day, for example, went very well and we had no problems, but I only did 24 laps, whereas Ricardo, on a normal test schedule with the V10, did 124! So I guess he felt more tired."

Q: You mentioned the vibration. Was it quite severe?
"It was much less than I expected. You always get more vibration with an eight-cylinder engine but by the third day the driveability was actually very good and I did 35 laps in the morning as part of longer runs that we had scheduled. I have to say, I am very impressed with the engine guys at Toyota.

Q: How much slower was the V8-engined car compared with the V10?
"On the final day I did a 1m21.3s lap, which compared to typical laps of around 1m18s for the V10s. That's very good for the engine's first run because we weren't operating it near its maximum potential. Also, you have to take into account that the engine is being run in an adapted TF105 and not a bespoke chassis. I would say that a time in the 1m20s region will be possible and that the time difference solely down to the engine will be something like 2.3s to 2.5s on this circuit."