Villeneuve Unfazed by Speculation

Former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve shrugged off speculation about his Formula One future on Thursday, saying he still has what it takes to be a contender

Villeneuve Unfazed by Speculation

"I haven't read it, haven't seen it, don't care," the Canadian said when asked about a report in Britain's Autosport magazine that his Sauber team had contacted BAR reserve driver Anthony Davidson as a possible replacement should Villeneuve fail to meet performance clauses.

"We're working hard, there's no problem internally so I don't really care what's written," he told reporters at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Villeneuve's position has been questioned after the 1997 champion was one of the slowest drivers at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 6.

Favoured by the weather, he qualified fourth on his Sauber debut but finished 13th. Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa started at the back of the grid but ended up 10th despite driving a heavier car on a one-stop strategy.

Villeneuve, who has long been one of the more controversial and independent-minded figures in the sport, said criticism was to be expected but felt he had nothing to prove to his detractors.

"If I do this job, if I race, it's because I love racing, I love the competition," said the 33-year-old. "And I don't want to be racing at the back so I'll be working as hard as I can to get closer to the front."

Asked point-blank whether he still had what it takes after being dropped by BAR in 2003 and failing to score points in three comeback races with Renault last year, he replied: "Obviously. If not I would have stayed home."

Little Testing

The Canadian said Sauber were suffering from a lack of testing mileage as well as having no third car for Friday practice at race weekends despite being entitled to one.

"The bad winter testing I think is affecting us at this point. We had mechanical problems on the tracks whenever it was warm and then when we got to Imola we got half a day and we got snowed in," said Villeneuve.

"We just arrived in Melbourne not ready, not really understanding the car and how it works and that will take a bit of time."

Braking systems were another difficulty.

"F1 has evolved a lot over the last few years and mainly on the electronic side and it takes a while to get used to everything that's happening in the car," he said.

"The other thing is that with all the electronics out now, you don't feel everything that is happening. You become a little bit of a passenger in a race car and that's very different to what I'm used to."

Villeneuve said the team had also got the tyres wrong in Melbourne after expecting heavy wear.

"The rear tyres never went off, we just carried a huge amount of under steer the whole race," he said. "That was partly due to the fact that we never did a race simulation because we were supposed to do that in Imola."

 

shares
comments
Webber Wants First Finish at Sepang
Previous article

Webber Wants First Finish at Sepang

Next article

Williams: BMW Alliance is Long Term

Williams: BMW Alliance is Long Term
Load comments
The lessons F1 can take from the Masi "souk" deal criticisms Plus

The lessons F1 can take from the Masi "souk" deal criticisms

As Formula 1 heads to its Abu Dhabi season finale, the FIA and race director Michael Masi are under increased scrutiny, with radio messages broadcast during last weekend's race prompting discussion and controversy. But what can they learn from the Saudi Arabia debacle?

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer Plus

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Plus

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. OLEG KARPOV asks if any of these goals are achievable…

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2021
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Plus

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2021
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021