Jacques Villeneuve, the only grand prix world champion, besides Michael Schumacher, still competing in F1 – looks set to leave the sport after being dropped by BAR Honda for next year.

Jacques Villeneuve, the only grand prix world champion, besides Michael Schumacher, still competing in F1 – looks set to leave the sport after being dropped by BAR Honda for next year.


The outspoken Canadian, who won the world championship in 1997 at the wheel of a Williams-Renault, reputedly earns the second biggest salary in F1 – but not for much longer, it seems.


Villeneuve’s manager, Craig Pollock, this weekend revealed that BAR had decided not to renew the Canadian’s contract. There had been a belief in some quarters of the F1 paddock that BAR managing director Dave Richards, with whom Villeneuve has had an often-stormy relationship, was keen to invest most of what he would have spent on the Canadian’s salary on developing the BAR 004.


Villeneuve joined the just-launched BAR team in 1999, but his tenure has not been a hugely successful one. His best finish this season has been sixth - and he has not just been plagued by unreliability and bad luck, but also outperformed by younger team-mate Jenson Button.


"We received a call from Richards on Friday evening informing us of their decision," said Pollock. "What is so disappointing is the fact that this team was built for and around Jacques, and he underwent all sorts of trials and tribulations over the years as BAR struggled to find its place in F1."


"Jacques never wavered, and his loyalty to British American Racing was constant. He had other opportunities, and no one would have blamed him for going elsewhere, but he preferred to see this project through despite a car that did not live up to its expectations.


"Jacques has given everything to BAR in its first five years, and always with a view to building a team that would be front-of-the-grid some day," Pollock added.


Villeneuve is expected to conclude his season at Suzuka on Sunday, although it has been speculated recently that Honda-backed BAR test driver Takuma Sato could replace him. Pollock said he didn't know if BAR's decision would have any bearing on Villeneuve's participation in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Original article from Car