Dec.10 (GMM) Lotus team boss Tony Fernandes has played down reports Jacques Villeneuve is a candidate for a race seat in 2010.
38-year-old Villeneuve, F1’s 1997 world champion who has been out of the sport for more than three seasons, has been linked with a return for next year and recently visited Lotus’ UK headquarters.
But British reports including those in The Sun and the BBC insist that Fernandes, who is also in charge of the Malaysian airline and Williams sponsor AirAsia, ruled out Villeneuve while at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco on Wednesday.
Fernandes was also quoted as saying Lotus’ full lineup for 2010 should be announced next week, and that the drivers will be paid rather than selected because of their financial dowries.
“We know we aren’t going to be competing (at the front) in year one, but it takes time and we’ll have a good basis for moving forward,” he said.