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Villeneuve will be back in F1
April 30, 2004 17:27 IST
Canadian Jacques Villeneuve is plotting a Formula One comeback in 2005 and would be interested in a return to Williams, according to the former world champion's manager Craig Pollock.
"I would put a lot of money on Jacques being back in 2005," he told the Sun newspaper on Friday.
"I have already had discussions with the right teams. Jacques had offers to drive this season but he is only prepared to race for someone who will give him a chance of fighting Michael Schumacher for the title."
Villeneuve, 33, won the 1997 title with Williams. The team has at least one vacancy for next season and probably two with Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya leaving for McLaren and Ralf Schumacher's contract about to expire.
"Jacques certainly doesn't feel he is finished with Formula One," said Pollock. "He is hungry to race again and fitter than ever thanks to a new training program.
"Money will not be an issue when negotiating a return but what he will not do is chug around at the back of the field.
"He wants a car that can win races and fight for the championship. Williams is certainly an interesting prospect."
The success of BAR this season with Jenson Button third in the driver's championship after two thirds and a second place in the last three races has left Villeneuve frustrated, according to one of the team's engineers.
"He's just very disappointed not to be around when it all came good," Jock Clear told Autosport.
Williams and Renault, second in the championship after four races, would fit the bill as top teams capable of winning races this year.
Toyota, with one of the biggest budgets in the sport, have been talking to various drivers but have failed to score a point so far this year and are unlikely to be challenging for the championship for some time.
Villeneuve has been keeping a low profile after being dropped by Honda-powered BAR in favour of Japan's Takuma Sato.
The Canadian had been at BAR since the team's first season in Formula One in 1999 and was one of the highest paid drivers in the sport.
His departure left Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, 35, as the only world champion on the starting grid.
Several other top drivers are also looking for seats next season, including former Williams racer David Coulthard whose place at McLaren is being taken by Montoya.
Although Jaguar's Australian Mark Webber is seen as the favourite to replace Montoya, Renault boss Flavio Briatore controls his contract.