Jacques Villeneuve finally speaks out

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by Jazz, Nov 27, 2003.

  1. Jazz

    Jazz Powerhouse of the Scrum

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    The antipathy between Villeneuve and Richards was made plain by the French/Canadian when he spoke to reporters in Switzerland on Wednesday about his exit from BAR.

    "If David had told me last May I would not be racing for the team then there would have been no problem. But he told me I could trust him and that we could do something special together. I just could not listen to that and respect him in the end," the former World Champ said.

    “I played their game but I knew it was not going to happen for a long time and that Sato would be in the car. I got a rubbish offer – it was no money really – and I think David expected me to punch him. That’s what he wanted, but I wouldn’t do it.”

    While Villeneuve refused to name names, it didn't take a psychic to figure out who he was referring to when he spoke of 'forces' working against him in the F1 paddock last season.
    "Last year, someone in the paddock was trying to destroy everything I achieved, putting about that I was a pain to work with.
    "Everyone believed it. Even Bernie believed it because he was telling me I had to change. There was nothing I could do about it. It was out of my hands."

    Villeneuve also admitted that he would be annoyed if BAR became a force next year – although, naturally, he reckons it won't be because of Dave Richards if the team improves.

    "If BAR start winning races next year it will annoy me," said Jacques. "To see someone else reap the benefits will be hard but that's life.

    "I put more than five years into the team - I put my career into them. I could have gone elsewhere where I would have won races, fought for championships and ended up earning more money. But I followed the dream and I have no regrets.

    "If the team starts winning it will be because of Geoff Willis, not David. But it will be sold as David being the man who changed the team and that will not be right."
     
  2. zguy

    zguy New Member

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    He blamed other people for dragging his name through the mud, but every article I have read about him, it's always his words dragging him through the mud. Im a JV fan, but he screwed himself on this whole deal.
     
  3. Jazz

    Jazz Powerhouse of the Scrum

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    After two months out of the limelight, Jacques Villeneuve has broken his silence to blast Dave Richards, hail Jenson Button's World Championship prospects, and admit the prospects of him returning to F1 are remote.

    Much has been said of Jacques since the middle of October when the 1997 World Champion pulled out of the season finale at Suzuka but - for once! - Jacques himself has been quiet.

    However, JV spoke to the press on Thursday in Switzerland and while he was scathing about the integrity of his former BAR boss, Jacques was warm in his praise for Jenson Button. The Englishman may have been compared to a 'boy band' before the 2003 season, but, 12 months later, Villeneuve is happy to acknowledge his respect for Button.

    "I was suspicious before last season because Jenson was being hyped beyond what he had achieved as a driver. Since then, we had a really good relationship. Jenson did a great job for BAR last year, and I have got a lot more respect for him," Jacques told the Press Association.

    "Jenson was being hailed as a future World Champion as soon as he joined the team. I thought they should have had a little bit of respect for me, because I had worked my backside off for them for four years. Jenson got into the middle of it because he was being told every day by Richards that he would be a World Champion. We had a falling-out at the first race in Australia - but after that we talked, and there was no problem.

    "Jenson has potential to be a World Champion but looks to me that he needs to be working with British people. He had a good first year at Williams then had an awful time at Benetton but has come good again at BAR. He did a solid job for them."

    Yet the French/Canadian had rather different feelings towards Richards, who told him just days before the Japanese GP that his contract with BAR wouldn't be renewed. The news prompted a frustrated and angry Villeneuve to pull out of the race.

    "There was no way I was going to risk my life for him. It had nothing to do with the team - it was all to do with David," he said.

    "If David had told me last May I would not be racing for the team then there would have been no problem, but he told me I could trust him and that we could do something special together. I just could not listen to that and respect him in the end."

    So what now for Villeneuve?

    Unfortunately for his legions of fans, the man himself doesn't foresee a return to F1 in 2004 – and has no reason to believe that he could do in 2005 either.

    "Unless I can drive a top car I am not sure I would consider it," he said. "And if there are no opportunities for 2004 why should there be any in 2005? I would not rule it out but I am not working towards it."

    Jacques ruled out a return to US ovals but added that he would still consider competing at Le Mans or the ALMS.
     

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