Panis retires, Montagny set for Toyota
18 September 2006 – Toyota announced today that Olivier Panis has decided to leave the team at the end of 2006 and thereby put an end to his twelve-year Formula One career.
Panis, whose test driver contract expires at the end of this year, explained, "Toyota has made much progress and I am happy to have been a part of this. The team was always very motivated and still is. I am really positive about the job the whole team has done and will miss everyone I have worked with, yet I know that it is time for me to move on and fulfil my wish to race again. I am looking forward to new racing challenges outside Formula 1 but I will keep a close eye on Toyota's performance and hope they achieve all the success they deserve."
With the likely revisions of testing format and new driving duties for Olivier Panis and Renault-bound Ricardo Zonta after the end of 2006, Toyota expects to reach an agreement soon for Franck Montagny to join as third and test driver.
Toyota is also looking to take advantage of the Toyota Young Drivers Programme to promote a young driver to the testing team.