Olivier Denis Panis (Oullins, 2 September 1966) is a French racing driver.
After paying his dues in minor races, and between them we remember the victory of Formula 3000 in 1993, he debuted in Formula 1 in 1994. In F1 he won only at Monaco Grand Prix in 1996 and reached a 8th place in driver standings as best result.
French driver Olivier Panis is known by the nickname “Panique“, meaning “panic”, given to him by his fellow competitors and his fans alike, thanks to a spectacular race he masterfully drove during the 1996 San Marino Grand Prix.
- 1994 was Panis’ rookie year in the world of Formula 1, and was a member of the French team Ligier. The JS39B car which once had this steering wheel in our collection was not very competitive, despite its Renault engine. Nevertheless, the Frenchman surprised may with his consistency, crossing the finish line in the first six races of the season and finally getting on the podium at the German Grand Prix and a 6th and 5th place respectively at the Hungarian and Australian Grands Prix.
- 1995 was a great season for Panis, thanks also to a great car (JS41) that, according to experts, was a copy of the excellent Benetton B195, the best car of the Italian team. In that memorable season Panis came second in the last race at the Australian GP, but also obtained two 6th places, two 4th places and a 5th place respectively at the Spanish, Hungarian, Canadian, British and, finally, Japanese Grands Prix.
- 1997 was a year full of surprises for Panis and the Ligier team: before the season began, Briatore, the owner of the French company, sold the team to four-time world champion Alain Prost, who renamed it with his own name. The car to which this the steering wheel in our collection belonged, the new JS45, proved to be quite competitive, but unfortunately the French driver suffered an accident during the Canadian GP (he fractured both legs) and was only able to drive again from the Luxembourg Grand Prix. Despite missing 7 Grands Prix, he managed to finish in 9th place in the driver standings.
(Source: Wikipedia; Formula1.com)