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Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Villeneuve Issue

Sadly I think we really are about to see the end of former world champion Jacques Villeneuve and his involvement in Formula 1. Ever since he returned from his sabbatical and joined Renault for the tail end of last season, our Jacques can only be seen as a shadow of his former self. The man just doesn't have anymore speed.

Could it be that his pace went long before that. During his final season with BAR perhaps, when he was trounced by Jense? Well, he might argue that David Richards was out to get him on that. But surely his performances in Renault and now Sauber are inexcusable. That spin in Malaysia for instance was unforced and completely amatuerish.

I'm sure his fans will argue long and hard on this. But what is beyond dispute is that he is again in trouble with his team. After being dropped by Sauber in recent Barcelona testing he felt compelled to release this statement. The move has been described as unprecedented. Though he seemed to try to play down the rift here.

But Peter Sauber's comments here and his "no comment" here contradicts Villenueve and indicates the level of strained relations between the two parties. The article on seems the most damaging. Jacques' exclusion from the Spanish Grand Prix is a real possibility.

What follows from here is strictly unconfirmed. A friend of mine met Filipe Massa during the Malaysian Grand Prix week. According to Filipe, Jacques' attitude had changed a lot after Melbourne this year. No more four letter words and more willing to cooperate.

But I guess if the speed isn't there then it just isn't there anymore and that is what Sauber is very much aggrieved about. No amount of niceties will save our Jacques. Just pure professionalism, speed and consistency.

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