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Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Friday, 16 July 2010 11:55 UK

Jacques Villeneuve aiming to set up own Formula 1 team

Jacques Villeneuve on the return of the Canadian Grand Prix

By Andrew Benson and Sarah Holt

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve could return to Formula 1 as a team owner in 2011.

The 39-year-old has submitted an entry for Villeneuve Racing to become the 13th team next year and has cleared technical and financial checks.

Villeneuve told BBC Sport: "I've never made it a secret that I'm working hard on an F1 project.

"But I've not discussed the details or what my plans were and I won't be drawn on it now. I'm not commenting."

He would not reveal whether he planned to return as a driver, a team owner, or both.

F1 is a possibility - he does have the intention to get back. It's a project we're working on

Rick Gorne
Jacques Villeneuve's manager

The Canadian walked away from F1 in 2006, parting company with BMW Sauber after they replaced him with Robert Kubica 13 races into the season.

Since then, Villeneuve, who won the world title with Williams in 1997, has flirted with the idea of making a comeback.

At the start of this season, he agreed to race for Stefan Grand Prix only for governing body the FIA to reject the Serbian team's application to take the place of the defunct US F1 team on the grid.

A space for one more team is still up for grabs for 2011 and the FIA is expected to make a decision on the 13th team at the end of the month.

Jacques Villeneuve
Villeneuve, currently racing in Nascar, is aiming for F1 return

Villeneuve Racing are believed to be one of three outfits applying for the final vacant slot.

BBC Sport understands Villeneuve has cleared the FIA checks aimed at establishing whether his team are technically capable of building an F1 car and a scrutiny of their financial background.

Villeneuve's manager Rick Gorne told BBC Sport: "There is an element of truth in the rumours.

"F1 is a possibility - he does have the intention to get back. It's a project we're working on."

Gorne was one of the founding members of the BAR F1 team, which were set up around Villeneuve in 1999. BAR later became Honda, then Brawn and now Mercedes.

The news of Villeneuve's team entry was first broken by the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport on Thursday. It suggested that Villeneuve may join forces with disgraced former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, who has been out of F1 since being found guilty last September of trying to fix the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

But it is thought unlikely that Villeneuve would work with the Italian, who has been vocal in his criticism of him in the past.

The magazine also reported that a team were being set up in England, which is also believed to be incorrect.


Villeneuve is at the same time pursuing a career in the US-based Nascar series, and said he was "working as hard as ever" on that programme at the moment.

He has split with his former manager Craig Pollock, another founding member of BAR.

The FIA did not comment on whether Villeneuve Racing were one of the applicants seeking a place on the 2011 grid.

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see also
US team apply for entry deferral
04 Mar 10 |  Formula 1

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