Jacques Villeneuve was a super-star back in the ’90s. The son of the dearly missed Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques won the Indy 500 and the IndyCar title in 1995. One of the first in a wave of drivers following in their fathers’ footsteps, JV rode the wave of his own success straight into an F1 race seat with Williams (back when the team was still in their prime), coming second in his first year and winning the title the following year. Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there.
Reportedly turning down a drive with Ferrari, the team for which his father drove until his untimely death, Jacques instead went to the upstart BAR-Honda team that would fail to live up to its own budget until it was gone. Villeneuve kept on racing in F1 until 2006 when he finally lost his seat with Sauber. Since then he’s kept himself busy with forays into NASCAR, Le Mans, the Speedcar Series and even V8 Supercars in Australia, but was always trying to find a way back into F1. Until now, that is.
After Stefan GP – the upstart team with whom JV was contracted – failed to secure a slot on the grid even in USF1′s absence, the aging French Canadian driver teamed up with Durango (an Italian outfit with titles in several feeder series) in a bid to launch his own team and catapult himself back onto the grid. The FIA rejected that bid too, and while Villeneuve and Durango originally said they’d keep on trying, Jacques is reportedly throwing in the proverbial towel and crying “no mas”. Instead he wants to focus on making a go of it in NASCAR. Time will tell if he succeeds at that, but as for his grand prix racing days, those are as long behind him as his world title.