JV admits he's out of F1

Jacques Villeneuve says he's unlikely to find another Formula 1 drive, even if he accepts a temporary sabbatical in 2004. He blames a character-assassination campaign for his fall from favour

JV admits he's out of F1

"If there are no opportunities for 2004 then why should there be any in 2005?" he asked reporters at a press conference in Switzerland.
Villeneuve feels a whispering campaign wrecked his chances of continuing a Formula 1 career, which started so strongly with two brilliant seasons with Williams in 1996 and 1997.

"Last year, someone in the paddock was trying to destroy everything I achieved," said the 32-year-old, "putting about that I was a pain to work with," he said. "Everyone believed it. Even [Formula One chief] Bernie Ecclestone believed it because he was telling me I had to change. There was nothing I could do about it. It was out of my hands.

The 1997 World Champion is also bitter about the way his split from BAR, which he joined from Williams in 1999, occurred.

"I put more than five years into the team - I put my career into them," he said. "I got a rubbish offer from BAR. It was insulting because there was no money involved. We went back with a counter offer but heard nothing.

"Everyone knew that Takuma would be in the car next year and if they had told me in May that I wouldn't be driving for them I would have respected it - but they didn't."

The way the parties split also directly affected Jacques' decision not to contest the Japanese Grand Prix. "I didn't race in Japan," he said, "because why should I risk my life for someone like that?"

He'd also have a problem reconciling himself to any future BAR success. "If BAR start winning races next year it will annoy me. To see someone else reap the benefits will be hard, but that's life."

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