Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula 1 World Champion declared he and his partners were now looking to purchase an existing F1 team for next season. But let’s be perfectly honest, the choice is pretty limited.
Villeneuve, who is currently in Europe refused to comment the wild rumours that circulate in the medias.
One thing is certain: Sauber Motorsport is now out of reach for him. Last Monday, the Swiss team announced that arrival of a major sponsor, Mexican telecom giant Telmex and the signing of two Telmex protégés, Sergio Lopez and Esteban Gutierrez.
Peter Sauber had no choice but to accept the Telmex proposal. This season, Sauber received $90 millions in compensation money from the BMW Group after putting an end to their contract before time. That money will not be available next season. Peter Sauber badly needed the Mexican money to keep racing.
Another well-publicized rumour links Villeneuve to the small Scuderia Toro Rosso, owned by Red Bull supremo Dietrich Mateschitz. The Austrian billionaire is interested to sell his second F1 team but only under his conditions and at his price. The Italian outfit now has the capacity to design and built its own cars, which was not the case earlier.
A reliable source inside the Toro Rosso team joined by Auto123.com said that he does not believe that Villeneuve is close to a deal with Mateschitz. “I don’t think so. I honestly think this is just pure speculation, nothing else,” he told us.
So, what’s left for Villeneuve and his partners?
Williams? The arrival of Toto Wolff and his Austrian companies secure the immediate future of the British team. Frank Williams will also receive a substantial amount of money from Ecclestone’s FOM at the end of the season.
Force India? Vijay Mallya is in full control of his team, which enjoys a discreet but efficient backing from McLaren and Mercedes-Benz.
Lotus? Another billionaire, Tony Fernandes, owns the Malaysian team. The team should use Renault engines and Red Bull gearboxes and hydraulics next season. Fernandes is building something solid and he’s not interested in having new partners who will want to change everything.
Virgin Racing? Sir Richard Branson is not a great fan of investing his own money into his projects…He prefers to deal with major investors and sponsors. Until this day, Virgin Racing has yet to secure a major sponsor. According to the “Black Book in Formula 1”, the budget for this year was $50.3 millions, which is very little. However, Villeneuve would be to be extremely good to convince Branson to take him as an investor and a driver.
Hispania Racing. The (very) small Spanish team is almost on the verge of closing its doors. It survived on a shoestring budget of just $20.2 millions this year and it was lucky to receive some financial help from Bernie Ecclestone. The team is up for sale, but Villeneuve is not the only interested investors. Stefan GP is also on the ranks. The team seems to have an advantage in having some sort of a connection with Toyota Motorsport to use their 2010 chassis and engines.