JACQUES Villeneuve - Team BAR

Date of birth : 9 April 1971
Birthplace : St Jean sur Richelieu
Marital status : Single
Height : 168 cm
Weight : 67 kg

Wins : 11
Points scored : 213
Number of GP : 116
Pole Position : 13
Podiums : 23
First GP : 1996 (Melbourne)
Best result : 1


Son of the late race legend, Gilles Villeneuve, the ex world champion entered formula1 with a bang in 1996 as reigning American IndyCar champ.

One of the few old school 'characters' in formula1, if he wasn't talking about how he wanted to drive much, much faster he was shocking the paddock with the ever-changing colour of his hair.

The French Canadian came second in his first Grand Prix in 1996, and finished the season as runner-up in the drivers' championship behind Williams' team mate, Damon Hill.

The following year he won the championship for himself, after a mighty tussle with Michael Schumacher, which saw the German stripped of his points because of a collision in the last race of the season at Jerez that the FIA deemed unnecessary.

Rule changes at the start of 1998 saw Williams off the pace, and the season peaked with a couple of back-to-back 3rd places in Germany and Hungary. This prompted a dissatisfied Villeneuve to move to British American Racing in 1999, a team set-up by his close friend and manager, Craig Pollock.

1999 was not kind to Villeneuve. He endured a difficult year with the BAR team, and suffered eleven consecutive retirements. When he did finish it was never in the points and so, for the first time in his formula1 career, he did not register on the championship board.

However, the media still flocked around him for two reasons: his dramatic crash during qualifying for the 1999 Belgian Grand Prix, which he typically laughed off, and his relationship with Australian pop star and actress, Dannii Minogue. Despite rumours that they were to marry on New Year's Eve 1999 the ceremony never took place, and the relationship broke down the following year.

2000 proved to be an improvement for BAR, and Villeneuve finished seventh with seventeen points in the drivers' standings. The team had solved the reliability problems experienced the year before and so Villeneuve was often in the position to pick up points from races, if not fast enough to challenge for a place on the podium. Benetton attempted to woo him away from the Brackley-based team with a very lucrative contract for 2001, but he eventually decided to stay with the outfit.

Partnered with old time friend, Olivier Panis for the 2001 championship, Jacques finally made it to the podium however wins were still far from coming. Toward the end of the year there were complaints that the car just wasn't up to scratch and the Canadian finished out the year hoping for better performances in 2002. However, on the eve of launching the new BAR004, long time friend and mentor, Craig Pollock stepped down from the outfit, leaving Jacques questioning his future with the Brackley based squad. Only four points were forthcoming in 2002 and although there were many rumours he was to follow Pollock's path and leave the Brackley based squad, Jacques remains for 2003 on what will be the last year of his contract alongside Jenson Button. 

C A R E E R  H I G H L I G H T S

2002 Placed 12th with 4 Points
2001 Continues with BAR and finishes seventh in the drivers' championship once again, this time with 12 points. He also takes to the podium to receive the third place trophy twice, in Spain and Germany.
2000 Stays with BAR. Villeneuve finishes 7th with 17 points in the drivers' championship. He is more satisfied with the car's performance but still wants assurance that he will be able to challenge for wins soon.
1999 First year with BAR. Reliability problems see him finish few races. No points scored.
1998 Stays with Williams. 5th in the table behind only the Mclaren and Ferrari men, he was effectively "best of the rest". Two podium appearances, in Germany and Hungary.
1997 Wins World Championship with Williams. Secures victory in seven of the seventeen races.
1996 Makes Formula1 debut in Australia with Williams, finishing second. Claims his first victory at the European Grand Prix. Finishes runner-up to team mate Damon Hill, closing the gap significantly at the back end of the season.
1995 After winning four races, including the Indianapolis 500, he becomes the youngest ever winner of the PPG IndyCar World Championship. Williams announce that he'll partner Damon Hill for the 1996 Formula One World Championship.
1994 Named IndyCar 'Rookie of the Year'. Finishes sixth overall with 94 points.
1993 Competes in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, finishing third.
1992 Moves to Japan to compete in the Japanese Formula Three Championship, finishing second overall.
1991 Drives a Ralt-Alfa Romeo RT35 and finishes sixth in the Italian Formula Three Championship.
1990 Competes in the Italian Formula Three Championship for the second time, finishing 14th.
1989 Makes his Italian Formula Three debut.




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