Davidson in Line for JV's Seat

Sauber have opened talks with Anthony Davidson as a possible replacement for Jacques Villeneuve, Autosport magazine exclusively reveals today

Davidson in Line for JV's Seat

The BAR third driver was approached by Sauber to ascertain his availability to race for the Swiss team this season, and according to the magazine, should Villeneuve fail to meet performance clauses in his two year contract, the team can dispense with his services.

Villeneuve's poor performance in winter testing, sharpened by his public failure at the Australian Grand Prix, is a matter of some concern to Sauber. Disputes over tyre choice caused tension within the team, which was heightened by his disappointing result relative to teammate Felipe Massa.

However, speaking exclusively to Autosport, Villeneuve remained defiant, arguing that the team has done little to accommodate him. "There has to be some adjustment on both sides, and that means from the team as well, working on set-ups and whatever," the 1997 World Champion said.

"If I had arrived here as a Formula One rookie then I would expect to be told what to do, but when you arrive with eight or nine years' experience and you want to take things to the highest level, you have to push and maybe that's uncomfortable."

When asked for a comment by the magazine, Peter Sauber has denied that he is looking to replace Villeneuve at present, although he admitted he was displeased with the Canadian's performance to date. "It goes without saying that neither Jacques nor the team was satisfied with the result in Australia," Sauber said.

"It's equally clear that it would be premature to draw any conclusions after a single race, particularly after a highly unusual race weekend such as Melbourne."

Furthermore, BAR-Honda, who own Davidson's contract, have also stated they have not been approached by Sauber. BAR team boss Nick Fry told Autosport: "If they have aspirations to give Anthony a drive then that's news to us."

For more details and comments, pick up a copy of this week's Autosport magazine

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