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F1 NEWS 

Villeneuve would accept tough start

Jacques VilleneuveJacques Villeneuve says he would accept racing at the back of the field in a possible return to Formula 1 as long as he can lay a solid foundation for the future of his own squad.

The 1997 world champion is still awaiting a decision from the FIA regarding his bid to return to the sport through a partnership with former GP2 squad Durango. Villeneuve is hoping to get back behind the wheel and at the same time help build a team that can be successful in the long term when he retires from driving.

The Villeneuve-Durango project formally presented its bid in Geneva on 13 August, and the Canadian remains positive about the outcome of the tender, which he expects to come in a few days.

"Everyone looked satisfied but, at the same time, we were in front of a panel which was not unlike being in front of a judge," said Villeneuve about his team's presentation in Switzerland earlier this month.

"We were not awaiting any reaction on their part. We do not know if anyone else made a presentation so until we get a formal reply, we will not know how it was received and perceived. I know that we made a good presentation.

"We are happy with what we have in place. We have no doubt on how things will move forward if the response is positive.

"This being said, we still need a positive response because it's an all or nothing situation. If it works, it's great. If not and we get a negative response, everything that we put in place will have been done for nothing. There is no middle ground."

The former Indianapolis 500 winner was part of the BAR team - now Mercedes GP - from its debut in F1 in 1999 to the end of 2003, with two podium finishes in 2001 his best results with the squad.

If his new bid to return to the sport is successful, Villeneuve anticipates a slow start in the team's first season and admits he would not mind being a backmarker as long as he can help lay strong foundations for the future of the team through his experience.

"It's okay to be a backmarker as long as you have a long-term plan, backing and financials that allow you to build a project," said Villeneuve.

"When we built BAR, if you just have something in place that's barely alive and that could only work for maybe a year, then no, because all you have is the stress and because you have a bad year, you cannot build on it.

"But if you have a long-term in place, that's fine because it's part of the building process."

While pursuing a future in F1, Villeneuve has not closed the door on NASCAR, where he is set to compete again next weekend in Montreal in the second-tier Nationwide Series, at the wheel of the #32 Braun Racing Toyota.

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