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What next for Jacques Villeneuve ?  

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What others are saying

David Richards wants to put the money into development while Jacques is finally saying enough is enough. With these remarks made recently, it appears that it is only a matter of time as to when (and not if) Jacques Villeneuve and British American Racing announce their separation at the end of this season.
The dream of taking BAR to the top was already shattered by the departure of Jacques friend and mentor Craig Pollock so it isn't a surprise to hear Jacques hinting at leaving after spending (or as some would say wasting) 4 years of his prime racing career at BAR.

The dilemma now for Jacques is where to go from here ? Time is not on his side so he cannot afford to waste another few years with a midfield team in the hope that they can make it to the top. He needs to drive for a top team. Williams and McLaren don't have any seats that look as if they will become available and even if they do, they have more than one driver on their books waiting to jump at the opportunity. Ferrari may have a seat but would Jacques drive alongside Michael ? and wouldn't Ferrari rather hire a young driver to prepare for a post Michael era ?
Of the remaining teams, Renault is the only team that could provide Villeneuve with a race winning car. But Flavio Briatore has already indicated his satisfaction with his current line-up and doesn't see a reason to hire Villeneuve at his current rate. 
It appears that if Jacques wants to stay in Formula 1, he'll have to take a pay cut and hope that his manager Craig Pollock can convince one of the top teams to offer him the drive he deserves.

What do you think is next for Jacques Villeneuve ? A drive with a top team ? Staying with BAR for less ? or just leaving the Formula 1 scene all together ? - Have Your Say (What others are saying)

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What others are saying:

I know it would be a great leap of faith on Jacques' part, but I hope he stays at BAR, provided BAR get the exclusive support from Honda. I have a lot of faith in new team boss Richards, especially when you look at what he has done in rallying. He's already made the team a sharper operation and realistically you cant expect miracles in the short time we've had this season. I would hate to see Jacques' at Ferrari, and I don't think he would put up with that team tactics garbage - particularly the Ferrari variety of team tactics. It was awesome seeing him back in the chase again at Austria and believe he is still one of the quickest drivers out there. As has been said before, stick him in the same machinery as Schumacher and he'd give him a real scare. Its just fingers crossed that BAR and Honda get the right machinery onto the track next year - Strattos - Australia

The last five years have been a waste of JVs talent. His lack of a competitive car, since Renault left Williams at the end of '97, and the time at BAR has been a tragedy. His logical home would seem to be Renault, and I still hold out hope that he will end up there in 2003 despite negative comments from Briatore (who himself is not flavour of the month at Renault these days). It would be great to see JV in a Renault next year challenging Ferrari and Williams for the title - Martin G - United Kingdom

JV IS DA MAN! If I could I would not let him drive another race for the "ever-so-lacking-power" BAR team. He deserves more than just a F1 car, he deserves a "F1" car, you know what I mean? 
Would it not be great if he drove along side Michael for Ferrari. Oooh, then we would get to see what Michael is really made of. I would not go as far as to say that he would beat Michael, but I would certainly put my money on him giving Michael a run for his money. 
I pray to GOD that JV goes to a better team, hopefully Ferrari. This way AL will not have a stiff neck at the end of a race! - Dan A - Brazil

I'd like to see Jacques move to Jordan or Renault. He's still got the fire. It's a shame to see him languish at the back of the pack. -- Tom b - Canada

My thoughts are J Villeneuve is smart and mature enough to see what's convenient for him. Staying at BAR would be as all years to play lotto, some said that Honda would be more committed than ever due to the early results seen by Toyota and the lack of pace of both Honda equipped teams, but this still is a question mark. Unless a full commitment on Honda behalf with BAR is made, this team would still be a second or third role player and time is a luxury JV is not allowed to have here. 
Then we have Renault, a team on a rise with a huge amount of money and ready to win with almost the right car, but with two fast drivers which Briatore is not willing to let go, so It would be difficult to get a seat here. 
McLaren is a question right now. They've lost their pace, but they have the resources to get back to the top again, when, nobody knows. Unless DC performs really strong this year, this would be his last at McLaren, so this opens a seat, but Mika's sabbatical is also a question mark. But lets not forget Jacques does not like the "Public Agenda" style of McLaren. 
We have then Ferrari with a probable open seat of Barrichello, but the question is Is JV willing to drive alongside Michael Schumacher? I think not. 
Williams has an excellent driver's staff, the best in F1 these days in my opinion. Ralf is a mature driver capable of winning races, Montoya has proven to be fast, may be the fastest of the Duo, but still needs to mature, I don't think this line-up will be changing for next year.
I have no doubts about JV's abilities to win races, but he needs a car and a team to do it. So, the options are not as open as somebody would think. Villeneuve has to exercise caution in choosing to stay at BAR and get a salary cut, or to see which team is shopping. One thing is for sure, if he is still motivated on F1 and wants to win, it's running out of time. J. H. - Dominican Republic

Personally I am not a great JV fan but would certainly like to see him up there in front. He has a lot of talent and other stuff (see Al's comment) and I would rather see him do battle with MS than Kamikaze Monty - that way both drivers have a better chance of staying alive!!. But where can JV go? 
Luca de M has told Michael that he can drive for Ferrari as long as he wishes, so out goes his chances with Ferrari. And it has already been said here what his chances are with Williams and McLaren and to a lesser extent Renault so I won't elaborate on that. 
I want to throw a stone in the bush and bring Toyota in the picture. Toyota is the only other team in the F1 circus that is running on a virtual unlimited budget (the other being Ferrari) which is always good for such a team and success WILL eventually follow. But whether Mr JV has so much time available I don't know. The Toyotas have proved to be very fast (they were the fastest cars on straight line speed in Australia). It is just the handling that must be sorted out (and of course new-team-reliability which is bound to surface more often than not initially. But so far they are above expectations albeit ever so slimly) 
Now I cannot see Messrs Salo and/or McNish as the best qualified to sort out the handling. Nor are they the people that will put the Toyotas on the podium even if everything has been sorted out. No, for that Toyota needs somebody special, somebody that knows about setting a car up and to make a winner out of it. Now of course there is nobody like that better than Mr MS. But there are people better than said Messrs Salo and McNish. People like a certain Mr Hakkinen (where else can he go to upon return to F1 except maybe Renault) or Mr JACQUES VILLENEUVE. He has the ability of making a car handle better. The technicians will make it reliable. Now what more is there for him to do. Looks like the car has the speed - hope they can maintain that or better. But does Mr Villeneuve have time on his side? I don't know!! But he will. - Johan M - South Africa

It's about time that JV wakes-up and smells the octane. 20 mil a year is nice, but winning is what makes all true world champions wake up and race in the morning. JV (the only other racer with a world championship on the circuit these days) says that he's matured as a driver. 
To take his POS BAR from 10th to 7th over the last race weekend is testament to his ability to manage a race and get the best out of any race car, even a BAR. JV has always been criticized for his attitude (rightly) and his driving (wrongly). Although far different from his father's driving style (which can be described as controlled mayhem!) JV's driving is like a bit of Prost, Lauda and Berger all rolled into one. He has the physical ability (important), the mental fortitude (very important), and driving experience (extremely important) needed to win a driver's championship. 
Speaking of championship, what the current F1 season's lacking is a good`ol fashion duel between two top drivers. Who can forget the classic Senna-Prost and Schumacher-Hill/Villeneuve/Hakkinen fights to the finish. It seems that MS's domination of the field will remain as uncontested this year as last (yawn). Which brings us on to the subject of the contenders. Montoya needs to prove that he's not an Alesi also-ran (great potential - poor execution), Coulthard needs to stop chasing skirts and focus on driving, Shumi Jr. needs to leave the shadow of older brother and, my greatest personal disappointment, Barrichello needs to come to the realization that he's not the inheritor of the late-great Ayrton Senna's talent and should pray to god, every day, that Ferrari doesn't wake up and burst his bubble. As for the rest of the field, lot's of great promise in 3-5 years, but nothing that's going to take our attention away from MS's world domination tour. Which gets me back to the original discussion. Unless Mika makes a comeback (which I doubt - McLaren are on a downwards trend and he has a great family to stay home to) the only driver capable of seriously challenging MS is JV. The question is where? Ferrari would be nice, but let's get real. They owe a lot to Shumi and he wouldn't put up with a 2nd primadonna. Renault - Well, they're proving to be very competitive but I don't think they have the budget for someone of JV's ability. McLaren?, for reasons stated above not a good choice for the next 3-5 years. That leaves Williams. Williams is where it all started for JV, and he's never burned his bridges with Frank Williams. Shumi Jr. is safe (BMW connection) so my prediction is that if Montoya doesn't get his act together by mid-season, he's toast and JV is back in the saddle with a competitive ride. Let's pray that it happens sooner rather than later. 
My neck is still stiff from last weeks race (happens when I fall asleep in my chair watching TV). Al - Canada

I don't know but it would appear that BAR is on the edge of making some major improvements, and I don't think that Honda will be satisfied with these midfield results much longer. Honda will be number one again, that we can count on. 
As a huge Villeneuve fan it has been a struggle to remain faithful. too many DNF's, too many finishes at the bottom half of the grid, one poor finish after another.. but I have kept the faith and I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.. it would be a shame if J.V. left the team now and they started winning. I think J.V. had a dream.. to form a new team, and take that team to the championship. Imagine how sweet it would be, after 4 years of struggling to realize that dream. 
I want to see J.V as champion again and I want it to happen with BAR .. lets hope Mr. Richards can see to pay the guy what he is worth and keep him on .. with the right machine underneath him J.V. will win..... if not,, I would love to see him in a Ferarri on equal terms with shumy. but we all know that shumy would never let that happen. J.V would drive circles around him - Brian L - Canada

Jacques needs a better car, period. He is the equal of the best out there at the moment, bar one. Maybe a trip to West McLaren Honda sorry Mercedes. 
The best passing move on Michael I have ever seen was by Jacques on a 190 mile an hour right hander around the outside in the marbles in 97 it was `Murray`s moment `
Murray Walker had a cracker commentating. 
It would be a shame to see a man of his talent not go somewhere good soon or just fizzle out. regards - Cooky - Australia

I saw that coming. BAR cannot perform better no matter who is at the wheel. Since J Villeneuve is in a very slow team, you cannot really appreciate what a good driver he is. If he cannot be on a competitive team, the best he can do is just retire. We will remember him in those glory days when he was a winner and not remember how he struggled to survive just to be around. And for BAR the times ahead look very bumpy. In my opinion, to turn this team around, it will require time, patience and a little luck - Daniel B - Uruguay

I think Jacques Villeneuve will go to McLaren or Renault or Ferrari or Jaguar - DJ Shaw - Scotland

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