Villeneuve to drive for Sauber next year - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Villeneuve to drive for Sauber next year

16/09/2004 05:13:54 AM Comments (0)

Former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve has signed a two-year contract to drive for the Sauber-Petronas team starting next year, the team said.

The announcement came only hours after the Renault team apparently cleared the way for Villeneuve to replace Jarno Trulli for the remaining three races of the current season.

Sauber said its contract with Villeneuve comes into effect November 1, one week after the season ends with the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The team said it was retaining Felipe Massa of Brazil as its second driver for 2005, meaning Giancarlo Fisichella of Italy lost his seat.

"I am extremely excited to be back in Formula One with the Sauber-Petronas team," Villeneuve said in the team statement.

"I appreciate the confidence everybody is showing in me."

Villeneuve, a Canadian, quit BAR-Honda with one race left in 2003 after he learned that the team planned to replace him this year with Japanese driver Takuma Sato, and has since been without a team. He won the world championship in 1997 with Williams.

Team chief Peter Sauber said Villeneuve was "absolutely keen and committed to return to Formula One."

"He was always a great fighter and I am convinced that together we can achieve a lot.

"I have to admit that signing a former World Champion is something truly special for me," Sauber said.

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