Sauber Baffled by Villeneuve's Lack of Pace

Jacques Villeneuve's disappointing debut for Sauber in last weekend's Australian Grand Prix has baffled the Formula One team.

Sauber Baffled by Villeneuve's Lack of Pace

Jacques Villeneuve's disappointing debut for Sauber in last weekend's Australian Grand Prix has baffled the Formula One team.

The 1997 World Champion started fourth on the grid and finished 13th while Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa went from last to 10th after rain in qualifying scuppered his chances. The Canadian lost five places on the first lap alone.

To make matters worse, Massa was on a one-stop strategy and driving with a fuller fuel load. Yet his fastest lap was almost a second quicker than Canadian Villeneuve in a lighter car.

"I can't explain the difference, which is a big one," Peter Sauber told the website of sponsor Credit Suisse. "Really it was bigger than it looks.

"Felipe Massa, at the start and the pitstop, drove with a heavier car. In contrast to the other drivers who made two pitstops, he only had a one-stop strategy in mind."

Sauber said that Villeneuve, who made a low-key race comeback with Renault for the last three races of 2004 after being dropped by BAR in 2003, had said little about his difficulties.

"We still have to analyse it," he said. "Villeneuve himself is not saying much at the moment. He had problems in certain phases of the race but he hasn't revealed anything more than that."

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