Villeneuve wants to score big in Japan

1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve heads to this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix hoping that his Suzuka qualifying form will finally translate into race results

Villeneuve wants to score big in Japan

The Canadian has taken two poles at Suzuka, but has scored only one point from four starts. In '97, Villeneuve was disqualified for passing under a yellow flag, and last year - his first with BAR - he could finish only ninth, one lap down, after qualifying 11th in his Supertec-powered machine. But with a switch to Honda power this season, the 29-year-old is hoping for a change of fortune.

"I love Suzuka - the track is beautiful," said Villeneuve. "Qualifying has gone well, but the races themselves definitely have not worked for me.

"Every year the race has not worked well," he added. "[In 1996] I was happy that I was starting from pole, but then I had a bad start and lost a wheel later in the race. In my championship year [1997], I was disqualified before the race because of speeding under yellow flags on the straight, so it's never been a very successful Sunday for me. It's been better on Saturday!"

Villeneuve has already finished best of the rest behind the McLarens and Ferraris three times in 2000 and has a quartet of fourth place finishes to his name - still without taking that first elusive podium for BAR. But he believes that the Japanese fans may have to wait another season before they see the true potential of the Villeneuve/BAR/Honda alliance realised.

"We're not quick enough yet," he says. "I don't want to see the reaction [of the fans] yet - I'd rather wait until next year, once we get more competitive.

"This year was a building year. Next year for once there will be a continuation, and we won't be starting from scratch."

For the full transcript of Adam Cooper's exclusive chat with Jacques Villeneuve, click here.




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