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Formula One needs its rebels, says Mosley

February 03, 2004 10:51 IST

Formula One will miss former champion Jacques Villeneuve this season because the sport needs a rebel, FIA president Max Mosley said on Monday.

"I think Villeneuve is a loss because he was an eccentric figure in the paddock and we need a few eccentric figures," the International Automobile Federation head told reporters.

"He had an interesting view on everything. One might not agree with it, but he had something interesting to say.

"You need rebels. They can be a nuisance but you need them, they are the leavening in the bread...he had a lot of good qualities."

The maverick Canadian, champion with Williams in 1997 and son of the late Ferrari great Gilles, is absent this season after being replaced at BAR and failing to find another team.

Without the bespectacled Villeneuve, his old Ferrari foe Michael Schumacher will be the sole champion on the starting grid and the sport will lack one of its more colourful characters.

Mosley suggested Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, at Williams before moving to McLaren in 2005, showed rebel promise as did some of the younger drivers such as Renault's Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

He said the 2004 championship was shaping up to be as exciting as last year's, which went down to the wire, with a handful of potential champions, even if Schumacher remained favourite for a seventh title on past performance.

"But it could be Ralf Schumacher, Montoya, (Kimi) Raikkonen or one of the Renault drivers," he added. "It might even be (David) Coulthard.

"He's obviously got the talent, he's never really fired himself up," he said of the Scot who is embarking on a ninth and surely final season at McLaren with his Formula One future in the balance.

"It's all in the head. He's got the ability but he's now maybe getting to the point where he's got to perform.

"Schumacher, it goes without saying, and (Fernando) Alonso, if they've got good engines, could be formidable."

Mosley said Briton Jenson Button could spring a surprise with Honda-powered BAR while Toyota would be another team to watch.

"Toyota are going to be a huge force in the future, there's no doubt in my mind about that. They will be one of the top teams in the next two or three years."

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