Canadian Jacques Villeneuve spoke with Auto123.com this week about the Lotus rumor and his future aspirations.
You may recall that Villeneuve was rumored to be signing a deal with the new Lotus F1 Racing team but that appears to have been an overeaction according to the 1997 world champion:
“A lot of people got carried away with the Lotus thing,” Villeneuve said. “I wanted to pay a visit to my good buddy Gino (Rosato) who’s now working for Lotus, but that’s the production car company. So I went to England and visited the production car factory. It has nothing to do with the new Formula 1 team whatsoever. But many people got all excited, but I never discussed with the Lotus F1 team bosses.”
As the available seats for the 2010 season slowly fill, it become clear that any remaining opportunity will be difficult to get. With young drivers–some bringing significant sponsor backing–coming in to the series, it seems the possibility of a paid driver such as Villeneuve may have difficulty finding a ride.
“Well, there’s no much to say for the moment,” Villeneuve told Auto123.com.
“But I am still working extremely hard to get back in F1 this season. So hard you would not believe it. Jock Clear (his former race engineer at Williams and BAR) told me that I would love driving the new F1 cars that got rid of much electronic gizmos. This really motivates me to return in F1. But for the moment there’s nothing to announce”.
Villeneuve has always been a critic of the electronic aids in F1 and was usually a colorful character in the paddock with his plain, outspoken opinion on most things. One has to admit that having that return to the sport would be refreshing but is anyone willing to pay for that plain talk in the form of a former champion who hasn’t driven in anger for a very long time?
Former driver Ralf Schumacher has been also seeking a possibly return and he is only 3 years out of the limelight that is F1 with current driving experience under his belt in DTM. If that combination isn’t desirable for a new team, it seems the Villeneuve option may be more relational than professional and could be kick started if Villeneuve were to find some sponsor money to boost the teams bottom line.
Time will tell but is there a remaining option that makes since for Villeneuve? Is there a remaining option that would see a team seek a driver like Villeneuve? Can the elder statesman have anything left for Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and even his returning nemesis Michael Schumacher?
Villeneuve knows his time is limited and he told Auto Journal of France that very thing. While admitting that there are some talks occuring and things can happen fast in F1, it remains to be seen just how fast anyone will sign the Canadian for 2010.