Settling into his new role (Pic not pictured) - Sutton Images

The French are finally back in F1 with Charles Pic race deal with Marussia for 2012, and to get him through the rigours of becoming a fully fledged Formula One driver, he’s looking to get experience off the last successful French driver in the sport.

Any guesses who it is?

Yes, that’s right, it’s Olivier Panis, former Ligier/Prost, BAR and Toyota man, looking to pass on a wise word or two to the youngster. And we’re sure they’re words laced with experience – Panis won the Monaco Grand Prix in the wet, from 14th on the grid, don’t you know!

Here’s a brief pictorial look at the career of what Top Gear called “France’s second best racing driver”, who now spends his weekends drifting hatchbacks on ice. Really.