1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve this weekend made yet another visit to a Formula One paddock, and he told the French daily Le Parisien that he is "reasonably optimistic" that he will return to the series next season.
Now 38, the French Canadian left the sport in 2006, following a disappointing run with the BMW/Sauber, Renault, BAR and Williams teams dating back to his season as reigning champion in 1998.
Villeneuve is now pushing for one of the potentially 28 seats in next year’s championship, and admitted he hopes to know if he has been successful "before Christmas".
"F1 is like a love affair; something always interests you more when it is taken away."
Villeneuve said his goal is to "be competitive" and a "hero" to his children, "just as my father was to me".
He insisted that his objective for the Singapore weekend was not to have "negotiations" but rather to socialise with the important figures of the F1 world.
"I am not yet at the point of negotiations, but there is some interest," Villeneuve added.
He believes he would fit in well with the new trend of the F1 regulations, with slick tyres, reducing budgets and the ban on refuelling.
"With the new rules, the work will resemble much more what was going on in the 90s," said Villeneuve. "The work with your engineers will be more important for developing the car. I always used less fuel and tyres than my team-mates. It is an era that would suit me."
He said he is hoping to be able to finalise his plans by Christmas. "I do not want to wait a long time, because I am also working on opportunities in the United States. A time will come when I will probably have to make a choice.
"You can’t sign a contract a week before the first grand prix. It is necessary to prepare," he explained.
Just who would be prepared to take the punt on Jacques???
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