Honda website

OCTOBER 29, 2003

Villeneuve and McLaren

McLaren has confirmed an approach from Jacques Villeneuve looking for work in 2004. Villeneuve is believed to be keen to take on a testing role but McLaren is unlikely to be very interested in the Canadian as it has two test drivers already and because Villeneuve has never really fitted the McLaren image - and is none too keen on the all-important promotional work which Mercedes, West and McLaren like to keep their drivers busy with.

There have been stories that Villeneuve will test for McLaren in 2004 and race for the team in 2005 but it is hard to see how that is going to happen with Juan Pablo Montoya already slated as Kimi Raikkonen's team mate in 2005. There have been suggestions that there might be other convoluted deals involving Mercedes-Benz engines but these are likely to be resisted by McLaren, as the current Mercedes-Benz engines are not competitive enough and there is no logic in splitting effort still further.

McLaren might, in theory at least, lose Alexander Wurz to Jaguar Racing but that is an old rumor and nothing has come of it in the past. Even if Wurz does go Villeneuve is by no means the first choice as a test driver as the team might be more interested in taking old Allan McNish, who remains on the market.