As expected, Renault has confirmed that Jacques Villeneuve will be the teammate to Fernando Alonso for the last three races of 2004. Villeneuve spent two days testing for Renault at Silverstone this week and completed 700km acclimatising himself...
As expected, Renault has confirmed that Jacques Villeneuve will be the teammate to Fernando Alonso for the last three races of 2004. Villeneuve spent two days testing for Renault at Silverstone this week and completed 700km acclimatising himself with the R24. The Canadian will make his race debut next weekend at Shanghai, nearly a year since he last competed in F1.
"We are very excited to welcome Jacques Villeneuve to Renault for the final three Grands Prix of the 2004 season," said Flavio Briatore. "He is highly motivated and has impressed us with his performance this week. I would also like to thank Peter Sauber for his collaboration in this matter."
Villeneuve has signed to race at Sauber next season alongside Felipe Massa but for the moment his goal is to help Renault regain second place in the standings. "The team and I share a common goal: to beat BAR to second place in the championship," he said. "I am here to enjoy myself as well, but the priority is to contribute to Renault's fight in the championship."
The Chinese Grand Prix will be a new event for everyone, which could help Villeneuve but he's not relying on it. "I am not sure whether it will be an advantage or not," he commented. "There are two ways of looking at it: firstly, you can say that nobody else has been there before either so I won't be at a disadvantage."
"But on the other hand, in that situation, you could say that you need as much experience as possible the car and the tyres in order to concentrate on learning the track. You can choose to be optimistic or negative. I'm looking at it in a positive frame of mind."
Jarno Trulli, whom Villeneuve replaces at Renault, was confirmed at Toyota for next year and he has also been testing for his new team this week. Since Toyota dropped Cristiano da Matta, third driver Ricardo Zonta has been teammate to Olivier Panis but it's speculated that Zonta may make way for Trulli for the remainder of 2004.