Sauber announces Villeneuve deal

As we suggested would happen earlier today, Jacques Villeneuve has been signed by the Sauber team for 2005 and 2006. The team confirmed the news this afternoon. It is beleived that the deal was signed yesterday in Switzerland as Villeneuve was on his way to Britain to test for Renault.

"I am extremely excited to be back in Formula 1 with the Sauber," Villeneuve said. "I appreciate the confidence everybody is showing in me. It is my goal to work with Peter and his team to bring them forward in the championship during the next two seasons. In my recent visit to Sauber I have been extremely impressed by the professionalism which is apparent throughout the factory. I am looking forward to seeing the results that will be developed by the state-of-the-art wind tunnel."

The news comes as a big surprise not least for Vitantonio Liuzzi, the new Formula 3000 champion who had hoped to join the team and is due to test tomorrow at Jerez.

"When I was talking to Jacques, I could feel that he is absolutely keen and committed to return to Formula 1," said Peter Sauber. "He was always a great fighter and I am convinced that together we can achieve a lot."

Sauber is expected to continue to run Felipe Massa in the second car.

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