Renault confirms Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve, Canadian GP 2003

Jacques Villeneuve, Canadian GP 2003 

 © The Cahier Archive

Renault F1 has confirmed that Jacques Villeneuve will partner Fernando Alonso for the final three races of the 2004 Formula 1 season, beginning with next week's Chinese Grand Prix. The news comes after a two-day test at Silverstone during which Villeneuve completed 700 km in a Renault R24. The team said that its objective is to finish second in the Constructors' World Championship.

"It went extremely well and we had a very positive test," said Villeneuve. "For the first day and a half, we worked on getting me comfortable in the car, altering the seat, the driving position, all the details you need to get perfect before you can start to be quick. Everything has happened very quickly - the seat was only made on Tuesday evening - so it was important to concentrate on that first of all. I also needed some time to play myself back in and get used to driving again, as well as adjusting my style to using a semi-automatic gearchange again. By lunchtime on Thursday, we started working on the set-up a little bit to adapt the car to my style, and it responded very well.

"I have good memories from working with Renault and there were some familiar faces in the garage when I arrived on Wednesday. The team has worked hard to adapt the steering wheel and other small details to my habits, because that is the easiest way for these three races, and they had even used my old throttle traces to adjust the engine mapping for my first runs. Little details like that make a difference. It is not an easy car to drive but it is definitely quick. Once you have understood its characteristics then you can begin to really push and find the limit, which we started to on Thursday afternoon. The engine is very good and very smooth in its power delivery. We still have work to do, but my first impressions are positive.

"The team and I share a common goal: to beat BAR to second place in the championship. I am here to enjoy myself as well, but the priority is to contribute to Renault's fight in the championship. It will be tough, but sometimes you have to take the plunge. Once you have done so, there is no other option but to make it work."

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