Mike Stevens | Apr 30, 2010

JACQUES Villeneuve says he is happy for his former teammate Jenson Button, as the reigning world champion continues to lead the world of Formula One.

The pair had an initially acrimonious relationship as BAR teammates in 2003, but Villeneuve has since declared his admiration for the Briton's talents.

French Canadian Villeneuve, 39, said he has been particularly impressed this year with Button's driving in the wet, including wins in Australia and China that have given him the world championship lead.

"Jenson was always quick in the rain but now he's becoming increasingly recognised as the best in the field," he told Canada's Rue Frontenac.

"Michael always had that reputation in the past but I think Jenson has passed him now in the minds of observers," added Villeneuve.

"But I also don't forget about Alonso, who did an exceptional race on the wet track of Shanghai," he said.

Villeneuve said Button's "really great start" to 2010 with McLaren proves his world championship was well deserved.

"To change teams and stay among the best shows that it was no fluke," said the winner of 11 Grands Prix. "I am really happy for him."

As for his former nemesis Schumacher, Villeneuve thinks the seven-time world champion's comeback so far has been "disappointing".

"This is his first big disappointment. He did well at first for a guy who has not raced for three years, but then the results were disappointing."

But he still thinks Mercedes was right to entice the 41-year-old German out of retirement.

"Michael is useful even if he's not winning, and nobody can take away his seven titles or that he is one of the best in history.

"And when Rosberg beats him with the same equipment, it cements Nico's reputation much more than if he were beating someone else," added Villeneuve.

(GMM)

 

FIA's Whiting Approves 'Arena' Layout At Silverstone

CHARLIE Whiting has green-lighted Silverstone's new 'Arena' section for use at the 2010 British grand prix in July.

The FIA's race director, official starter and safety and technical delegate toured the 760 metre section - featuring six new corners - earlier this week.

The layout was then launched officially for dignitaries and the media on Thursday.

"Charlie Whiting was here yesterday," confirmed the track's managing director Richard Phillips, "and we walked the circuit and we've got our Grade A licence for the next three years."

With MotoGP being held at Silverstone this year, it was decided that a new layout was necessary for safety reasons -- particularly the proximity of the famous bridge at the now-bypassed Bridge corner.

The renovation has cost 5m pounds sterling, with riders and drivers to turn right instead of left at the old Abbey chicane entry before embarking on a section incorporating the old National straight, renamed Wellington.

The new layout rejoins the old circuit with a faster entry to the 'Brooklands' corner near the end of the lap.

(GMM)

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