Now here’s a particularly interesting rumour…

It is believed that 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve is apparently bidding to return to F1 next year with his own F1 team! Shades of British American Racing all over again, anyone?

Germany’s usually accurate Auto Motor und Sport magazine believes that ‘Villeneuve Racing’ is one of up to four entrants bidding for the thirteenth and final place on the F1 grid for 2011, believed to be competing alongside Durango, Epsilon Euskadi, and the Amercian outfit Cypher Group.

The 39-year-old French-Canadian was last linked with a 2010 F1 drive with the abortive Stefan GP operation – rumoured not to have been given a 2011 bid consideration. He was last spotted at this year’s Canadian Grand Prix, continuing his quest to rejoin the F1 grid in which he last competed in 2006.

The magazine claims that the Villeneuve-led outfit has met all of the FIA requirements Jacques Villeneuve so far, including proving an existing structure for a team based in England.

The report claims that former Renault head figures Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds – both issued with FIA bans for their part in the Singapore Grand Prix ‘Crashgate’ affair – may be involved, along with a crew comprised of former Arrows and Super Aguri team members.

The FIA will announce its decision as to the identity of the thirteenth team in late July.

So is Auto Motor und Sport on the money with this idea, or are they simply clutching at straws with what would be appear – from the outside perspective – to be a far-fetched story?

When pressed as to this idea by BBC Sport, the former champion would not be drawn on the matter, simply stating that he is working on an “F1 project”.

He added: “I’ve never made it a secret … I’ve not discussed the details or what my plans were and I won’t be drawn on it now. I’m not commenting.”

Villeneuve manager Rick Gorne – who was a key figure in the set-up of the BAR team in 1999 added: “There is an element of truth in the rumours.

“F1 is a possibility — he does have the intention to get back. It’s a project we’re working on.”

The FIA has not commented on suggestions that a Villeneuve-backed project is one of the entries up for consideration for the 2011 grid.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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