Villeneuve in new Sauber link

Speculation is growing that former world champion Jacques Villeneuve will return to Formula 1 next season with sources claiming the French-Canadian is on the verge of signing a performance-related two-year deal with Sauber

Villeneuve in new Sauber link

Although the former world champion has been pushing recently for an
opportunity at BAR in the event that the team loses Jenson Button, it is looking likely that his efforts are now focused on joining Felipe Massa at Sauber for 2005.

Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock refused to deny the rumours on
Wednesday. Speaking to autosport.com he said: "If I had a deal with Sauber I wouldn't tell you and if I didn't have a deal with Sauber I wouldn't tell you! I've got nothing really to say about that. We're looking at all the options."

Villeneuve visited the Sauber factory after the Hungarian GP, and regards Sauber as a sensible option should his hopes of returning to BAR not come to fruition. It is probable that his pay structure would be a modest wage with performance related bonuses.

Speaking recently about his impressions of Peter Sauber, Villeneuve said: "He doesn't really get too involved in perception and politics. And he's the only one who doesn't believe all this crap that was put out about me. He's a very respectful person."

At Spa Sauber confirmed to Autosport.com that Villeneuve was one of several drivers in contention for a race seat for 2005. The team boss is convinced that the 1997 World Champion is fully motivated for a return, but says all that matters is his speed.

"He's still on the list. It would only make sense for him to come back to F1 with high motivation. He is intelligent enough to do that, otherwise it's better that he uses his money!

"It would be nice to have a world champion in the team, but I think that's not so important. We have to look forward and we have to look for a fighter. When you decide on an experienced driver of course there is some advantage. If you go with a young driver like Gary Paffett, then you lose part of the year."

Sauber is due to test F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi at Jerez later this month and is also likely to give runs to Gary Paffett and Anthony Davidson after the season - even though it may already be too late for any of them to secure a race seat with the team next year.

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