Ecclestone tried to help Villeneuve

Ecclestone tried to help Villeneuve

Bernie Ecclestone said he tried to help Jacques Villeneuve get a drive in F1 for 2004 but claimed none of the teams wanted the Canadian. Villeneuve's contract with BAR expired this season and the team informed him last week that it would not be ...

Bernie Ecclestone said he tried to help Jacques Villeneuve get a drive in F1 for 2004 but claimed none of the teams wanted the Canadian. Villeneuve's contract with BAR expired this season and the team informed him last week that it would not be renewed. Just a few days before the last race of 2003 at Suzuka, BAR announced Japanese test driver Takuma Sato will replace Villenevue next year.

Jacques Villeneuve.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"I did everything possible to talk teams into giving Jacques a drive for next season but the truth is no one wants him," Ecclestone was quoted as saying by British tabloid The Sun. "I still regard him as a great racer but he needs a team that would give him extra motivation."

"Toyota would have been the perfect platform for him because they could give him a car capable of winning races. I even suggested he should go to Ferrari and drive alongside Michael Schumacher for free. But it didn't come off because Michael insists on No. 1 status, which shows he must still consider Jacques a threat."

Villeneuve has not had the best of years to finish his time with BAR: "It has been a highly disappointing season with a lot of bad luck," he recently said about 2003. "This continued in Indy last weekend when both Jenson (Button) and I were not able to finish the race. It is difficult when you work very, very hard and do not get the results that you know you can achieve."

Villeneuve drove for BAR for five years and now faces his last race with the team on Sunday. Whether it will be his last race in Formula One is yet to be seen -- there are few teams left that have not finalized a driver line-up for 2004, but it's not impossible that Villeneuve could be on the grid in 2004.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Michael Schumacher , Jacques Villeneuve , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari