Panis: Charles Pic is improving race by race

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Former Formula One driver Olivier Panis has praised Charles Pic following a solid start to the season for Caterham.

Panis, who acts as Pic’s manager, raced in Formula One between 1994 and 2004, attaining little success bar a shock win at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix for Ligier when just three cars finished the race. However, he has high hopes for his compatriot seven races into the season.

“We’re in a positive position,” Panis said in a statement from Pic’s official website. “Caterham is a young team and its owner, Tony Fernandes, has the desire to make further progress. Many changes and much investment were made during the off-season and it takes time for things to come together.”

He also confirmed that Pic had settled in well at Caterham, which has been reflected on-track as the 23-year-old has bettered every single result from the corresponding GP in 2012.

“Charles has adapted well to his new environment and, as usual, has remained extremely motivated,” Panis continued to explain.

“He has definitely improved compared to 2012, especially in traffic. Managing the race while at the front is different to doing it when you’re at the back. That surprised him a bit last year but it’s an area he’s worked on and improved.

“He also has a better approach to races. Last year he was competing at most of the circuits for the first time but, now that he has experience of them all, he’s been less anxious. It’s a more positive approach.”

Although no driver is entirely happy to be finishing so far out of the points, Panis is confident that Pic has what it takes to become a star in Formula One.

“Charles has great motivation and works hard. I’m not worried about his career because he has great potential and the determination to succeed. His day will come.”

Pic enters his 28th grand prix weekend at Silverstone, and he will be hoping to break his point-less duck in the not-too distant future.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.