You had to figure with Formula 1 back in Canada that coverage of former world champ Jacques Villeneuve wouldn’t be far behind.
And in today’s coverage, JV is saying he’ll retire from F1 next year if he doesn’t get a drive.
In related news, I just got a text from Grace, who announced her retirement from MotoGP next year if she doesn’t get a ride.
OK, maybe a bit harsh, but a point comes when it isn’t up to you to decide when you’re retiring. That decision’s been made for you.
Here’s JV’s comments:
“For F1, I think I have to give myself a limit — and 2011 will be the limit,” Villeneuve told The Canadian Press on Thursday.
“That’s the priority, so I’m working on 2011.”
Villeneuve, who became Canada’s first F1 champion in 1997, has not raced on the circuit in four years.
“I was busy raising two kids and now they’re grown up a bit and I can get back behind the wheel, Villeneuve said. “I would obviously be happier behind a wheel. Once you’ve been a racer, I think, you’re a racer all your life.”
But the 39-year-old admits he’s worried race teams might start to ignore him.
“Because it will have been too many years outside and the teams don’t want to take a risk which, (if I were) in their shoes, I might do the same.”
“There comes a point where you’ve been out for too long and the teams just won’t give you a chance.”
I hate to break it to JV, but I think there’s no dearth of young drivers with promise that might end up on the grid before him. Heck, even an older driver like Nick Heidfeld, I’d assume, would get a more serious look.
In perhaps even more surprising news, there’s been a little thaw in the JV-Michael Schumacher war, as well:
Villeneuve made his comments near Montreal, as he was reunited with old nemesis Michael Schumacher. The old rivals were promoting new automobile safety technologies Thursday.
Both drivers took turns on a rainy track to demonstrate features like electronic stability control, which already exist on some vehicles.
The men appear to be getting along better.
It’s been over a decade since Schumacher tried running his Canadian foe off the track in a crucial F1 race but, on Thursday, they had kind words for each other.
Schumacher now says he believes there’s still a place in F1 for Villeneuve — who hasn’t driven on the circuit since 2006.
The 41-year-old cited his own return from retirement as evidence that Villeneuve can do it, too.
“We are racers and we have that in our blood, so what you have there, you always keep,” Schumacher told reporters.
“There’s no reason why Jacques couldn’t come back and, with my (experience as) proof, maybe he has even less concern to do so.”
Is Michael’s return really going to open the doors for other, older racers who have been off the grid for a while?