Olivier Panis will start tomorrow's British Grand Prix at Silverstone from the back of the grid after stewards penalised the Frenchman for slowing Felipe Massa during the Sauber drivers qualifying lap.

Panis, who was returning to the pits after his own lap, slowed Massa on the entry to Abbey, and, after viewing the incident, stewards decided to disallow the Toyota drivers time - a decision that left the Frenchman both disappointed and annoyed.

"I am obviously very disappointed and upset that my time in qualifying was cancelled," he said. "I pushed very hard and did the best that I could with the car. With the strategy we have in place for tomorrow, I think we performed well.

"A mistake in communication from the team meant that I only saw Massa late, but I immediately moved over and offline. I am sorry for the Sauber team because it was not intentional and I did all I could not to impede his lap.

"I am very annoyed at the decision from the stewards. Tomorrow's race will now be very hard, but I will push all the way as I always do."

Technical director Mike Gascoyne was also disappointed with the decision, especially after the first qualifying run, when a number of drivers deliberately slowed on the track over worries that late runners in the second part of the session could encounter rain.

"The team has to apologise to Olivier for not ensuring that he was fully informed of Massa's position on the track," he said. "However he immediately moved offline and having reviewed the evidence in the stewards meeting we were sure that Massa could take the racing line and not be held up in any way. We are therefore very disappointed in the stewards' decision to disallow Olivier's time and we feel that the penalty is both too harsh and undeserved.

"I personally think this is true given what happened in the first qualifying session where teams clearly deceived the public by not ensuring their drivers pushed to the limit. I hope the crowd was entertained by the second qualifying session because the first one was a disgrace in front the huge numbers of people who have turned up at Silverstone today. It is unbelievable that the fans are let down in such a way and then such a penalty was given to one of the few drivers who pushed hard and entertained the crowds in both qualifying sessions.

"I only hope Olivier can have a good race and score points tomorrow to make up for what was an extremely disappointing decision."