Villeneuve: Fitness no problem for return

Jacques Villeneuve is adamant that fitness will not be a problem if he succeeds in his aim of returning to Formula 1 after an absence of over three years in 2010

Villeneuve: Fitness no problem for return

The 1997 world champion will be just short of his 39th birthday when next season starts, but believes that he would be physically up to the challenge.

"Obviously, physically you need perhaps a month behind the wheel to get the kinks out," Villeneuve told AUTOSPORT. "You can do all the training you want in the gym, but there are still a few muscles in the neck that need a bit more. But it wouldn't take long.

"To get that final few per cent will take a few weeks in the car, but I'm sure I've got a good few years left in me at that level. It's more about being mentally fresh than anything, and after a few years away that has definitely come back.

"Look at Nigel Mansell, he won his last grand prix at 41 and there's no reason why drivers can't keep going at that age in F1 if the hunger is there."

The Canadian, who finished an impressive fourth on his NASCAR Nationwide Series return at Montreal on Sunday, does not think his age will prove to be a barrier when it comes to taking the risks faced every day by F1 drivers.

"When I'm home in Montreal, if I'm not in a go-kart or racing, I'm on the motorcross bike," said Villeneuve. "If I'm able to take the risks to make big jumps on motorcross bikes, then I'm OK to go through Eau Rouge flat again!

"The hunger is still there as much as it ever was, as is the willingness to do whatever if necessary to succeed. In the NASCAR races I've been doing, you probably have to be even more on the ball than you must be in F1 to take risks lap after lap."

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