Villeneuve pushing for comeback with Stefan GP
19 February 2010 – 1997 Champion Jacques Villeneuve freely admits that he is aiming to be back on the Formula 1 grid this year in a field of cars which he believes will better suit his driving style than at the time of his F1 exit in 2006. The French-Canadian targets a slot with the Stefan GP team, which could enter the sport should another team fail to do so.
With reports on Wednesday having stated that US F1 may miss the 2010 campaign, with driver Jose Maria Lopez and team sponsor YouTube then possibly switching to Campos, Serbia's Stefan continues to wait in the wings after purchasing several ex Toyota F1 chassis, engines and gearboxes after the Japanese manufacturer pulled out at the end of last season.
"I've spoken with Peter Windsor a few times," Villeneuve told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport about possibilities with US F1. "It was always a question of money and that's not my thing." Jacques went on to add that his name would attract sponsors to a team, as opposed to him paying a lump sum for a place on the grid.
"I met Adrián Campos a few times in the paddock but that relationship was never reinforced," added 38-year-old Jacques, who sees Stefan as the ideal home for an F1 comeback.
"If they get a Formula 1 spot, it would be a great opportunity," he admitted. "Just because the team is apparently supported by (F1 commercial rights holder) Bernie Ecclestone, one must assume that they will make it to the grid, and with the equipment from Toyota they could be the best new team. It also seems like (Zoran) Stefanovic (team owner) is taking the project very seriously."
Reiterating that he would prefer today's slick tyre-shod, non-gizmo Formula 1 cars plus the new ban on refuelling, Villeneuve is confident that both his talent and name can still offer much to the sport. "There's a few open seats and I can give a team a lot," he continued. "I have experience, I've won races and championships - something more than a driver who comes from GP2.
"Each of the new teams needs experience, they have to have a direction in which to run; I know what it means to build a new team, I did that before (with B.A.R in 1999). On top of all that, the cars are now back to the way I like them, like they were in 1996 and 1997."
Also on Friday:
- Stefan GP starts Formula 1 car
- 'Absolute madness!' - Villeneuve on Schumacher