Pollock: No Worries over Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock has insisted that he is not worried about the former World Champion possibly losing his place at Sauber after his disappointing start to the year - and has vowed that the French-Canadian will be back on the pace as soon as he gains confidence in the Swiss team's 2005-challenger

Pollock: No Worries over Villeneuve

Villeneuve has been outpaced by teammate Felipe Massa so far this season and, on the back of a lacklustre race in Australia, he did his cause no good at all with a spin during last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.

With the Sauber team already believed to have been enquiring about the availability of possible replacement drivers should Villeneuve fail to hit form, there is mounting pressure on the French-Canadian to prove that his return to the sport was not a mistake.

But Pollock, who finalised Villeneuve's contract with Sauber before his disappointing Renault return last year, believes the claims that his driver has lost his talent are wide of the mark.

"Basically it is rather simple," said Pollock. "When Jacques stepped into a Grand Prix car for the first time, he was quicker than David Coulthard after ten laps. If you have that capability, then you are quick - presuming however that you have confidence in the car.

"Right now, this 100 percent confidence is not there, because Jacques does not feel comfortable with the set-up. He lacks mileage and can only show 85 percent of what he is capable of. So both driver and team have to find out how to get back to 100 percent.

"Jacques knows that Sauber is a good team and he has huge experience with Grand Prix cars. But the confidence is not yet there."

Villeneuve's biggest trouble with the Sauber appears to be his handling of its braking system - which caused his exit from Sepang when he lost control of the car after locking the rear brakes at the first corner.

And his hopes of getting on top of the problems in the short term appear to be unlikely with Sauber not enjoying the kind of testing programme that Villeneuve may have been used to at former teams Williams and BAR.

The new one engine per two-race weekend rule is also working against Villeneuve, because his mileage on Grand Prix weekends is severely limited - further hampering his chances of getting on top of his problems.

Sauber technical director Willy Rampf said: "The modern Formula One rules are quite the contrary to what Villeneuve would need. Nowadays, due to the two-race engine, people tend to limit their practice laps if they can, whereas Jacques would need more time in the car. There is simply no time to experiment.

"But we would not stand behind Villeneuve if we start discussing rumours. That is not the way we work."

Speaking about the possibility of Anthony Davidson replacing Villeneuve, Pollock was dismissive - and he made it clear that there was not any performance clause in his driver's contract with Sauber.

"There is no performance clause in his contract," added Pollock. "I as his manager would never have accepted that.

"I keep hearing the rumours about Anthony Davidson probably taking over Jacques cockpit at Sauber. Anthony is a good driver and a nice person, but I know his contract since I did it when I was working for BAR.  Anthony in a Sauber is a pure speculation of the British press which seems to be eager to get another British driver into Formula One."

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