SEPTEMBER 13, 2004
Villeneuve to join Renault?
There are strong rumours that Jacques Villeneuve will be named to replace Jarno Trulli at Renault on Tuesday. Our sources say that if the deal is confirmed the French-Canadian will test for the team at Silverstone before flying out to partner Fernando Alonso in China. In recent weeks Renault has scored just 12 points while BAR has collected 32 and at Monza BAR moved ahead in the Constructors' title with 94 points to Renault's 91. The major problem is not the performance of the cars but rather the fact that Jarno Trulli has not scored a point since it was revealed that Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore, until recently Trulli's manager, was having him booted out of the team at the end of the season, despite the fact that in terms of results he has out-performed Fernando Alonso this year.
Despite not scoring in the last five races, Trulli is still one point ahead of Alonso in the Drivers' championship.
Villeneuve would be a good choice as he wants to return to F1 next year; would love to have the chance to beat BAR-Honda and would be a competitive and high profile driver for the team, notably for Mild Seven which has important markets in China. He would also be cheap as he would probably race for bonus money on any points he scores. Signing Villeneuve would also keep the French press off Renault's back as Villeneuve is seen as being a Frenchman when he is doing well and as a Canadian when things are not going so well.
The only other rumour that might have made sense was that Renault would take Giancarlo Fisichella early from Sauber. But Peter Sauber made it very clear that he has no plans to sell his star driver
"I do not think that Renault would want to spend the kind of money that I would want to do that," Sauber said. "Flavio Briatore has made his bed and now he has to lie in it."
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