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Villeneuve - will he, won't he?

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone spent a lot of time last weekend trying to convince Ferrari boss Jean Todt that a Michael Schumacher/Jacques Villeneuve combination is what the Ferrari team needs to win the World Championship in 1996, but Todt showed no signs of agreeing with Ecclestone. Todt hopes to be able to sign up Michael Schumacher but would be quite happy to continue with his current Gerhard Berger/Jean Alesi pairing. The pair have the odd falling-out as happened recently in Monaco - when both were feeling a little bit twitchy about their future with the team - but peace has been made again.

Todt knows that if he recruits Schumacher for next year he is going to lose Berger because the Austrian has no desire to work with Michael and has a solid offer from McLaren's Ron Dennis to join Mika Hakkinen and help develop the McLaren-Mercedes package.

Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock appeared in Montreal to see if he can sort out a deal for Jacques but hopes are fading fast as there seems to be little interest in the Canadian from the top teams. We believe that Villeneuve may be given a test run in a Benetton later this year and there have been rumors of an attempt by Sauber to sign up Jacques for the last five races this year - after the Indycar season is over.

Most of the top F1 folk seem to agree that it would be an error for Villeneuve to sign up with a top F1 team without having the necessary knowledge and experience of Grand Prix racing and that it is unlikely that he will want to join a middle-ranking team to learn the F1 ropes when he can be a top runner in Indycar racing. In addition, it should be remembered that winning Indianapolis really pays off for a driver in the season following his victory.

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