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Villeneuve Defends 2005 Performance

Jacques Villeneuve claims his critics were wrong to get on his back over his performances this season - because he feels he actually did a good job in 2005

Although the former World Champion only scored points three times, and he finished two points behind Ferrari-bound teammate Felipe Massa in the final standings, he is adamant that he did more during the season than many people give him credit for.

"In terms of performances, 2005 was quite hard," he said on Thursday. "We didn't have a quick car from the start and there were no major evolutions during the year so we had to work very hard to improve the performances with set-up work.

"On this particular point, I am extremely happy with the job we've done this year. Looking at lap times and comparing them to Felipe's we were able to improve the car by over half a second per lap during the course of the season.

"Of course, things like this are not very visible as we were fighting for positions and not for podiums, but it is quite satisfying to have achieved such a strong job."

Villeneuve remains convinced that he will be a part of BMW's new Formula One team next year, even though the German car manufacturer are still refusing to confirm who Nick Heidfeld's teammate will be.

The Canadian is halfway through a two-year contract he has with the Sauber team, but the new owners of the outfit are still believed to be considering their options for 2006.

Even without any firm announcement, however, Villeneuve has said he is looking forward to working with BMW after his season with Peter Sauber's operation.

"Peter has put together a very efficient team, with a much a smaller budget than most of the teams in the paddock," he added. "Because of this, BMW, who are very committed to the new challenge of running their own team, will undoubtedly become a very strong contender in the near future and I am excited to be part of this project."

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