Mike Stevens | Aug 11, 2010

Jacques Villeneuve has conceded that his efforts to establish a new Formula One team in 2011 may be shot down by the FIA.

The 1997 World Champion is collaborating with the Italian former GP2 team Durango for the final and 13th entry next year, reportedly in competition with fellow hopefuls Epsilon Euskadi and Stefan GP.

In 2010, three new independent teams - Lotus, Virgin and HRT - similarly made their Grand Prix debuts (for Lotus, it was a return to F1 for the former racing powerhouse).

"It's harder to be accepted this year because the FIA does not want the fiasco of 2009 to be repeated," French Canadian Villeneuve, 39, told La Presse while competing at the weekend's NASCAR event at Watkins Glen.

His "fiasco" comment was a reference to the stillborn USF1 project.

He said his plans for Villeneuve/Durango have been in motion for a year.

"We are working very hard without knowing actually what will happen," explained Villeneuve. "It is possible that our project is the best, but it is also possible that we will be rejected."

He said he is not worried that the President of the FIA today is Jean Todt, who in Villeneuve's championship year in 1997 headed the Ferrari team.

At that year's championship finale at Jerez, Villeneuve collided with Michael Schumacher's Ferrari, costing the Italian team not only the title but disqualification from the entire season.

"I have always been well with Jean Todt and I cannot imagine that the FIA's decision could be influenced by an old rivalry," he said.

"Anyway, Jean Todt is not going to be alone in this decision, I'm sure," he added.

And he said the fact that he is simultaneously working on an F1 project whilst trying to establish a NASCAR career is no problem.

"Both sides seem unaware of what is happening on the other side, so it has no influence," said Villeneuve. "These are exciting projects and I have no reason to stop them."

In fact, he said keeping doors open in the US could help his European project.

"Three years ago, when I put F1 to the side, there were people interested in supporting me, but not on this side of the Atlantic," he said.

(GMM)

 

Senna Hopes To Stay In F1 In 2011

Bruno Senna is confident he will not fall off the Formula One grid after a single season.

Amid a difficult debut campaign with the struggling Spanish team HRT, the Brazilian 26-year-old sat out Silverstone last month but is confident he will now keep his seat until the end of the season.

Whilst visiting his native Sao Paulo during F1's August break, Senna told the local press that he is also confident about 2011.

But when asked if he has a plan B, he joked: "Selling coconuts on the beach!

"In fact, I hope the chance that I will continue (in F1) is 100 per cent. But unfortunately, it is impossible to say.

"Before the 2009 season, I seemed to have a good chance to race with Honda, but of course it ended up not happening.

"In F1, foresight doesn't work -- the only thing that does is a signed contract. There are always talks but nothing official.

"We will have to see," he added.

He is unable to predict the identity of his employer for 2011.

"Few teams have guarantees that they will be on the grid," said Senna. "It is not an easy time in F1.

"It's not so simple, but they (HRT's bosses) are making plans. The best thing would be if I could simply choose the team, because my goal is to stay for many years, not just now.

"But I do have to work to get assurances that I'll be in F1 next year, either with this team or with another ... it will depend on many things."

Senna acknowledged that financial limitations have held HRT back in 2010, but says the team has the budget to finish the season.

"Fortunately we made a good contract," he said, probably referring to his former teammate Karun Chandhok, whose season has been interrupted by the reportedly greater financial contribution of Sakon Yamamoto.

"It's hard to predict, but with the experience we have during these years of racing, we made a contract that bypasses the complicated situations that can arise.

"But this is not a disappointment," he insisted. "I have to accept the difficulties. It is a year of opportunity. It is harder and harder to come in (to F1).

"As much as I do not have a competitive car, I'm here. It has been a great learning experience," Senna said.

(GMM)

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