Villeneuve Still Quick, Says Sauber

Team chief Peter Sauber believes Jacques Villeneuve has not lost any of his speed despite failing to shine in the final three races of the 2004 season.

Villeneuve Still Quick, Says Sauber

Team chief Peter Sauber believes Jacques Villeneuve has not lost any of his speed despite failing to shine in the final three races of the 2004 season.

The 1997 World Champion with Williams, who has signed a two-year contract with the Ferrari-powered team, raced in the last three Grands Prix of the season with the Renault team after an absence of almost a year. Villeneuve failed to make an impression and did not score any points.

Despite that, however, Sauber believes the Canadian will show his worth when he drives for the Swiss squad next year.

"I warned Jacques that competing in these last three races would be very difficult," Sauber said in an interview with Atlas F1. "He has not driven for almost a year and the cars have clearly become quicker. Still, he wanted to do it.

"For us it has been good to be able to evaluate him. For him it has also been good, even if a bit unpleasant. He certainly is not lacking speed, for he is being measured against [Fernando] Alonso, who is recognised as quick and a future World Champion.

"We know the Renault team is a top team, but we also know that the car is not the easiest to drive. So it would not have been realistic to expect him to be as fast as a future Champion who knows the car and team."

Villeneuve will test for Sauber for the first time in Barcelona on November 26.

Read the full interview with Peter Sauber in this week's issue of Atlas F1.

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