Date of Birth: 2 Sept 1966
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Marital status: Married to Anne, 3 children
Points Score: 64
Number of GP: 125
Pole Positions: 0
First GP: 1994 (Interlagos)
Best Result: Win
Current Team: Toyota F1
||Formula Renault France|
||Formula Renault France champion|
||4th in Formula 3 France|
||2nd in Formula 3 France|
||Formula 3000 champion|
||Formula 1 (Ligier), 11th with 9 points.|
||Formula 1 (Ligier), 8th with 16 points.|
||Formula 1 (Ligier), 9th with 13 points. Won Monaco.|
||Formula 1 (Prost GP), 9th with 16 points.|
||Formula 1 (Prost GP), 0 point.|
||Formula 1 (Prost GP), 15th with 2 points.|
||Formula 1 (McLaren), 3rd driver.|
||Formula 1 (BAR), 14th with 5 points.|
||Formula 1 (BAR), 14th with 3 points.|
Olivier started racing karts in 1979 and
collected numerous national titles before winning the Volant Elf scholarship in
1987 that saw him enter the French Formula Renault Championship. He came fourth
overall in his first season, but took the title the following year, earning
himself a ride in French Formula Three with the Winfield team. He was fourth
overall in his debut year and runner up in his second season.
him entering Formula 3000, but he suffered in the Lola. In 1993, he took the
title for the DAMS team, winning three late season races. His formula One debut
came in 1994, for Ligier at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Here he qualified 19th,
and finished the race11th, 3 laps down. His first podium finish came in Germany
that same year, where he qualified in twelfth, but half the field was wiped out
on the opening lap, and he finished in second.
He showed remarkable
consistency in that year, finishing 15 of the 16 races, and in 1995, he again
took a second placing, in Adelaide Australia, when all the forerunners bar Damon
Hill retired. His first Grand Prix victory came at a wet Monaco race in 1996.
Qualifying in 14th, he drove the Ligier to victory in a timed race, where many
fell victim to the conditions.
Continuing on with the team after its
change to Prost, the 97 season looked bright. Out of the first 5 races, he had
four point finishes, including a second in Spain, and a third in Brazil, but
tragedy struck in Montreal, where he crashed and injured his leg, causing him to
miss the next 7 races. Despite this, he finished 9th overall with 16 points.
1998 was a disappointment, with 6 retirements, and the highest finish being 9th
in Australia. He finished the season with no points.
In 2000 he opted to
sit the year out and took up a testing contract with the Mercedes powered
McLaren team. The Frenchman was fed up with driving for mid field outfits and
hoped that the new role would show team bosses exactly what he was capable of.
His plan worked and before the season was out the BAR team had contracted his
services for the 2001 season.
Throughout the year he outpaced long term
friend, Jacques Villeneuve, however neither driver managed to claim that elusive
first win, finishing sixth in the championship behind their Honda powered rivals
at Jordan. With their sights set on a better 2002 Olivier is hoping that the win
he desperately craves is just around the corner.
Unfortunately it wasn't and the Frenchman has now signed a two-year contract to
drive for Toyota in 2003 and 2004, alongside Brazilian Cristiano da Matta. As
the team looks ahead to its second season in Formula One, Olivier will bring
refreshed motivation, new ideas and immense development and racing experience to