Jacques Is Back From The Dead; Villeneuve Returns?

Antony HerbertAnalyst IIIMarch 1, 2010

LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 13:  Jacques Villeneuve of Canada and Team Peugeot attends the drivers parade in Le Mans town centre prior to the 76th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 13, 2008 in Le Mans, France.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The fantastic four of former F1 champions is rumoured to be expanding to a fiery five-some as Jacques Villeneuve takes over Ralf Schumacher as a candidate for the second drive at Stefan GP.

Whilst the Serbian team are still unsigned for 2010 the confirmed collapse of US F1’s  campaign looks likely to edge Stefan GP onto the grid.

So are we ready for another former champion to return, especially one that compared to Michael Schumacher is really just a needle in a haystack?

Despite his 1997 triumph over the world renowned German, following a stunning entrance the year before, Jacques just did little else to warrant a fierce and defining reputation.

The Canadian’s career was something of a Jekyll and Hyde situation, with mostly the latter being portrayed, in a depressing string of lacklustre results.

Amongst other recent accomplishments of Alonso, Hakkinen and Schumacher, Jacques often became a forgotten star. He was purely remembered as a small blotch in the history books, a driver who failed to secure results to accommodate his early optimism.

Realistically any return for the Canadian is not expected to be successful.

Many would expect a continuation of the midfield boredom seen in his final years at the likes of Sauber and Williams.

Yet there is the possibility that he could punch higher up the field if Stefan GP can provide a more promising vision and competitive edge in comparison to their rookie rivals – Virgin and Lotus.

Anything less in pace and capability would produce a stubborn lack of points finishes, and a minute amount of glory moments would seem inevitable.

His one saving grace could be the accompaniment of Kazuki Nakajima as a team mate. The only way the Japanese driver can seal a drive now is through his financial input.

His abundance of average race positions left him hung out to dry, with few teams coming close to taking him into consideration. His monetary persuasion sadly constructs a faltering ideal of what we are lead to believe is required to make it in Formula 1.

Therefore after final seasons being outclassed by the likes of then reckless Felipe Massa, Jacques Villeneuve could at least have the opportunity to defeat his team mate, and establish himself as the teams number one driver.

Whether such a collection of results could consequentially gift him further seasons in the sport would be an intriguing prospect. He may only have a small number of years under his belt, clever team mate choices with equally matched drivers could sustain a mediocre but valued end to a career that really should have been.

At least for Jacques if he were to succeed in returning to Formula 1, he wouldn’t be the least deserving champion on track. That honour must surely go to the vastly improved but still uninspiring Jenson Button. I await the stern defense of the Brit’s talents on that one.