Honda website
Honda website

MAY 24, 2005

Sauber and Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve and Felipe Massa will be visiting the Sauber factory shortly to talk about the debacle in Monte Carlo and once again Peter Sauber finds himself under pressure to dump Villeneuve. In the early races this year Villeneuve was not impressive and there was much talk that Sauber had made a mistake in his choice of driver but the level-headed Swiss team boss weathered the storm and Villeneuve has since shown signs of improvement at Monaco things were looking up until Jacques tried a move on the inside at Ste Devote which not only screwed his race but also forced Felipe Massa off the road and lost any chance either of them had to score points in the race. Sauber was exasperated and angry but has been around long enough to know that the best thing to do is not to get into fights at the end of the races and wait to discuss matters until the tempers have cooled. Villeneuve is either going to have to come up with something better than "I tried something which did not work" or simply accept that it was stupid and throw himself at the mercy of Sauber.

The major problem for Peter is that while he might feel a strong desire to get someone other than Jacques in the car, it is not easy to see the answer. He would probably have to pay off Villeneuve and most of the drivers on offer would want money. He might find a youngster who will work cheap but then he would have to go through the F1 learning process, which these days can be a difficult business, even with a very talented youngster. This is the process we are seeing this year with Tonio Liuzzi at Red Bull Racing.

Our spies tell us that there are a couple of drivers that might fit the bill but it is a leap of faith for Sauber to go with Anthony Davidson or Adam Carroll and Davidson's position would probably be complicated by the fact that BAR probably want first call on his services in the future.

This probably means that Sauber will stick with Villeneuve.