Villeneuve Blames Tyre Choice for Poor Form

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve has blamed a poor tyre choice for his disappointing Sauber debut in last Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Villeneuve Blames Tyre Choice for Poor Form

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve has blamed a poor tyre choice for his disappointing Sauber debut in last Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

"I did not get any front grip in the first few laps and I lost many positions," the 1997 World Champion said on his personal website on Friday.

"After this, my car did not have enough downforce and I struggled to keep the pace with the rest of the field. I had soft tyres on and I think it clearly wasn't the right choice.

"The car was moving a lot and after the first pitstop it was just too slow. It was a very bad race for me and I felt pretty bad for my fans and the people who are supporting me," said Villeneuve.

The Canadian went from fourth place on the starting grid to 13th at the finish while Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa, on a full fuel load, raced from last position to 10th.

Team boss Peter Sauber said he was baffled by Villeneuve's lack of pace and added that the Canadian had offered little in the way of an explanation.

"I can't explain the difference, which is a big one," the cigar-chomping Swiss said. "Really, it was bigger than it looks."

Villeneuve, who made his comeback last year when he raced the last three races of the season for Renault after being dropped by BAR in 2003, said he remained optimistic about the future.

"I could get some valuable information that I will be able to use for the following races," he said. "It will take longer than expected but things should get better with a few races in the bag.

"The good thing is that I really did not feel tired after the race, meaning that I am fit and the training that I did this winter is paying off. In fact, I was ready for another race."

The Malaysian Grand Prix, one of the hottest and most physically demanding races of the year with expected ambient temperatures of around 36 degrees Celsius, is next on March 20.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve
Author Reuters
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