Villeneueve: FIA ‘backflipped’ over ’11 team

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Jacques Villeneuve has said everything was in place for his planned tie-up with Durango to run an F1 team in 2011 and he doesn’t know why the FIA turned down their application to enter as a 13th team next year.

The 1997 world champion told Adelaide Now:

We were working hard on Formula One, but we are looking towards other things like NASCAR now.

We had everything in place for the 13th team, but the FIA did a backflip. There was obviously something we didn’t know about.
Jacques Villeneuve

Last month the FIA turned down all applications for the 13th team slot in 2011, saying “none of the candidates met the requirements to be granted an entry into the Championship.”

Villeneuve, who is competing in the Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercars race this weekend, said he is considering a full-time move to the Australian championship:

They are cars I have always been intrigued by. Mainly because of Bathurst. I also got to see a fair bit of them at Melbourne during the F1. I have also spoken a lot to [Marcus] Ambrose about it in the States.

I have always wanted to get my hands on one, but you can’t just jump in one for a race like Bathurst. You will end up making yourself feel like an idiot. You want get up to speed in a race like that.
Jacques Villeneuve

Other former F1 drivers participating in the race include Sebastien Bourdais, David Brabham, Tiago Monteiro, Gianni Morbidelli and Mika Salo.

Read more: 2011 F1 drivers and teams

Thanks to Jason for the tip

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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46 comments on “Villeneueve: FIA ‘backflipped’ over ’11 team”

  1. Villeneuve obviously referred to the fantasy world when he said that “we had everything in place for the 13th team”. I don’t believe that he and Durango would have the slightest chance to survive in the real F1 world. Will Buxton wrote everything about Durango a few months ago:

    I think that FIA did everything right. Villeneuve’s project was obviously similar to Stefan GP who have a picture of Toyota F1 car and a long list of ‘potential drivers’.

    1. That article is based on so much supposition that it’s more laughable than it claims Durango is.

      1. I like potatoes
        21st October 2010, 11:29

        Not really supposition. Will is well connected in GP2 and was their Chief PR for three years. I think he’s well placed to make those comments. Why would he rip them apart without reason? And besides, the financial irregularities by themselves would have counted them out and that has been well documented elsewhere, not just in this article. Seems the FIA agreed anyway. If F1 was football, Durango probably wouldn’t pass the “fit and proper persons” test for team ownership on the financial dealings alone.

    2. Actually the Durango bit got a lot more perspective after that article, as JV joined forces with them and they got Libyan money to support the deal.

      I think from what Villedeprat and JV have been saying, it is clear the FIA did not really know what to do with the 3th entry, tagged along for a while and then just dropped it, as the criteria had always been disclosed, so nobody could dispute their actions.

  2. Villenueve to the V8s?

    Eh. Don’t believe it. The rumour was floated a year or two ago, and nothing came of it. I suspect it’s just JV playing to the crowd, telling them what they want to hear as he hypes the Gold Coast 600 up. AVESCO – V8 Supercars’ equivalent of the FIA – have been trying to control the number of cars on the grid for a while now; a maximum of 32 can take part, but after a few independent teams folded really quickly, they’ve been trying to limit numbers to around 28. They’ve had to settle for 29, since 29 cars have shown that they can race. I doubt they’ll relax those unspoken rules for Villeneuve and Durango.

    1. A few retired F1 drivers have threatened to run in the aussie V8s, but it’s never come to pass bar the odd enduros endeavour. As you said I think it’s as much to draw in local support when they’re in town.

      1. The irony here being that there are 17 other international racing drivers, including Salo, Monterio and Bourdais. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was due to take part, but withdrew.

        1. I hadn’t kept up with what’s happening for the Gold Coast round, but I take it all these international guys are coming in for this round only right? I just assumed that they were going with the same parings from Phillip Island/Bathurst.

    2. Villeneuve wouldn’t even need to start his own team to a get full time seat in V8 Supercars. In my opinion there a few guys that are floating around in V8 Supercars through connections or whatever, and could easily be replaced.

      As for him making money by racing V8’s that would be unlikely, there’s none of the money of NASCAR for instance. I read somewhere a while ago that only about 10 of the drivers actually draw an income from racing. Through a friend who knows one of the drivers the guy apparently earns less than someone with a degree first year out of university, which I was surprised by. Having said that, maybe making money is not of concern to him. If so a full time drive in the V8’s could be a real possibility, certainly would help add status to the sport.

      1. I’m not sure they are exactly lacking status…

    3. Sounds to me JV is really hungry for a drive. That makes it on/off NASCAR drives, bidding for a F1 return, i think he did Speedcar as well and now the aussie V8s!

      Make up your mind and just go for that, why not stay in NASCAR, after you had some minor success there, JV?

  3. I guess he won’t be buying out Toro Rosso or HRT either.

  4. So if HRT folds at the end of the year, or is just told by Bernie to go away, since they aren’t up to his expectations, wouldn’t that leave an opening for a new team?
    Or maybe give the likes of Villeneuve a chance to buy them……..

    1. Villeneuve has already ruled out buying them.

  5. Yeah well, Mark Webber backflipped in Valencia and nobody moaned.

    1. Hahaha nice one!

  6. Other former F1 drivers participating in the race include Sebastien Bourdais, David Brabham, Tiago Monteiro, Gianni Morbidelli and Mika Salo.

    Really?! I have gone off V8 Supercars so much over the last few years I didn’t even know there was a race this weekend, let alone that line-up participating in it! I might actually have to watch this one race…

  7. F1’s loss is Australian motorsport’s gain. Jacques Villeneuve would be a welcome addition to the V8 Supercar grid.

    By the way, I can’t wait to get up to Sufers Paradise and watch the Gold Coast 600 and I encourage everyone to have a look at it on TV. This is going to be something awesome. It’s the best Touring Car Championship in the world, although I might be a bit bias.

    1. CarsVsChildren
      20th October 2010, 14:37

      Really? I’m an Aussie and I cringe every time I see a V8 “supercar”

      I just don’t see the point. They are not even the same body size as their ‘donor’ cars, weigh 1400 kilograms, and only generate 460kw of power from a 2 valve per cylinder 5.0 liter V8.

      For me it is the worst of both worlds. The cars are too big and heavy to be true racers, yet bare virtually no resemblance to the base car, so provide no bragging rights to the victorious manufacturer.

      Its a pity because the events such as the Clipsal 500 and Bathurst are frigging awesome, I just can’t get behind the racing in its current form….

      1. I think the cars’ current forms are meant to take after the “big bangers” from the 1960s-70s and the V8 Group A cars of the 80s. The Australian entries into those formulas shared the same basic characteristics with modern V8 Supercars – a powerful engine mounted in the front, rear-wheel drive and heavy weight.

        1. Peter Brocks Torana wasnt a “big car”

          1. I wasn’t necessarily talking about the Toranas – more the Group C Commodores and GT-HO Falcons.

      2. It might not be the best touring car chamionship in the world, but it has its merits

        Races like clipsal and bathurst are awesome and the racing is close, it can be very enjoyable to watch. I think this weekends Gold Coast 600 will be something else to add to that, lets hope they can get this kind of turn out of international drivers again.

        I agree with you on the name though, “supercars” just is not a good name. I would prefer if it would go back to its old name of ATCC (Australian Touring Car Championship). Also im sick of the whole holden vs ford thing, it would be better if you could encourage other manufacturers to enter the sport. Maybe that would open up space for Jacques to join the grid??? Maybe they need to make the cost of running a car less expensive to encourage those manufacturers and independent teams to get into it. I think this would bring the design closer to the base car too.

        In conclusion, GO MARK!!!!

        1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
          20th October 2010, 19:26

          Wasn’t there a rumour last year that Mercedes and Audi would be joining, running a C Class body and an RS4 body respectively?

        2. They will be introducing new regs in a couple of years time which will reduce the cost of running the cars and is with the explicit intention of attracting other manufacturers.

      3. I tend to agreed with CarsVsChildren. I find the small amounts of BTCC and DTM that I see to be much more interesting than V8 Supercars. My main beef with V8 Supercars these days is that the races are so processional. People reckon there is no passing in F1, but there ain’t much more in V8 Supercars. Also the television coverage does the sport no favours. It is much better in the flesh, the sound and speed is all lost on TV.

        1. Actually I find DTM to be terribly processional, much more than V8 Supercars.
          And the cars they use in BTCC sound absolutely shocking.

        2. I couldn’t care less what they sound like.

          1. I’m with Pinball on this one. Racing first, sound second. Or third, or fourth…

          2. oh don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t ruin it for me. I enjoy watching BTCC. But they do sound terrible.

            I find DTM pretty boring racing, V8 Supercar better, and BTCC better again. But hey, at least DTM is more exciting than NASCAR.

            And you’re right about the V8SC coverage, 7 do a terrible job of tv coverage of all their sports. Their AFL coverage especially is pitiful. I watch maybe a few rounds of V8 Supercars each year on tv (2-3), but haven’t not gone to the Clipsal 500 since it began.

      4. Completely agree with you CarsVsChildren. The only thing they have in common with road cars are the Holden and Ford badges, and the only differences between the “Ford”s & “Holden”s on the track are the engines and body panels. When Bathurst was on the other week I couldn’t wait to switch over and watch the F1 coverage… qualifying being at noon our time Sunday worked out pretty well too

    2. anywhere on the web we can follow the GoldCoast 600 ?

      1. Yeap. The V8 Supercars website has a section called Live V8. You need to register but it’s free (I’m not sure if it’s geographically locked). I tried it during Bathurst, and it has a live stream, plus timing, plus a car position chart. This is the link –

        1. Nice one, thanks, might have to check that out later.

        2. Wow, sound good!

  8. CarsVsChildren
    20th October 2010, 14:27

    Yay, it got published! I love this site so much it is nice to be able to contribute something!

    It seems to me that Jacques is hunting around for something to do. First it was F1, then Nascar, Le Mans, now V8 supercars (an oxymoronic expression if ever there was one).

    I personally don’t think he would be any good, he is too old, Aussie fans are too set in their way (and possibly xenephobic) to take to him, and it adds almost nothing to his legacy.

    If i was him I would try and win Le Mans (to complete the triple crown) and then concentrate on Nascar (for the $$$$)

  9. I watched him in the Busch series road courses and he could wheel it with the best of them. He did seem a bit hard on his equipment and it cost him a good finish at Road America. Without looking it up, I believe he scored top 5s in Montreal and at The Glen. He still has talent.

  10. UneedAFinn2Win
    20th October 2010, 19:33

    Has there ever been any talks of bringing F1:s up Mount Panorama, that could be interesting.

    1. I don’t see how the track could meet F1’s run-off requirements.

      1. It would require some pretty extensive earthworks. I spent the majority of the Bathurst 1000 broadcast thinking of how runoff areas could be done, and I think it would be a very expensive operation (if possible at all as it would involve buying a lot of neighbouring properties). Ultimately I decided that if runoff was built it would really detract from the feel of Mount Panorama.

      2. I expect it would be impossible to meet requirements for run off – purchasing properties or not, you still have very steep drops on one side of the track over the top of the mountain.

        That and the gradient of the track in a lot of places would surely be miles above the maximum allowed. For example the maximum gradient at the Nurburgring is 11%, Mt Panorama is something in the region of 16%.

        1. The FIA only specifies a maximum longitudinal grade of 2% for the start / finish straights. Elsewhere it’s the change of grade that the FIA are concerned about, and I assume that that’s where Mount Panorama would have issues (along with crossfall / camber problems). As for runoff areas, where there are steep drops offs adjacent to the track, runoff areas could be constructed on top of suspended concrete slabs (kind of like a bridge), but that would be massively expensive.

          It’s all hypothetical though. I imagine that even if all the engineering related problems were able to be solved that the circuit owner, Bathurst Regional Council, wouldn’t have the sort of budget to actually be able to action any required changes.

  11. *Marcos Ambrose.

    Would absolutely love Jacques in the V8s. Would bring me back to watching them like I did during their days on Ten (just like I now follow Nationwide and Sprint Cups for Jacques and Marcos.

  12. Mr. Villenueve…..


    Stop. For the love of god, stop.

    It’s over.

    Let it go.

  13. I can’t believe my ditzy little local tabloid would be a credible source for F1 related news :)

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