Durango team manager Ivone Pinton (left) is optimistic his program with Jacques Villeneuve can make it into Formula 1. Villeneuve has joined forces with the Italian squad and has applied for the 13th slot in the sport for the 2011 season.
Durango, which dropped out of GP2 at the end of 2009 due to financial problems, is competing for the place with the likes of Epsilon Euskadi, the American Cypher Group and Stefan GP. Pinton says the team is already working on the assumption that it will get an entry.
"We aren't assured to be in yet, but we are working as if we will be at the start of the 2011 season," Pinton told Autosprint magazine. "Durango has an FIA constructor's license, so we don't need certifications should we decide to work autonomously.
"Obviously I can't yet reveal all the contacts we have, but I can say that, on the economics side, the group of backers is very mixed and geographically it comes from different places, for example a Libyan company interested to get into F1."
He added: "When both myself and Jacques Villeneuve reciprocally learned we both lodged entries, we spoke to each other immediately, and the needs of both parties were the same. We both had letters of intent from partners and backers, but not enough to support the single projects. By putting everything together, instead, we've been able to put the pieces of the puzzle together and that allows us to look at the future with a good dose of optimism."
Pinton said the tie-up with Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 World Champion, was a key part of the project.
"Jacques is one of the main points of the program, both for his popularity and for his great level of form," he added. "I trust him blindfolded because last year, when we were in Speedcar, things weren't going at their best and more than once he told me to leave the car because he was the problem. Not everyone would do that.
"Today, that same person tells me he is at the top, he feels great, and I have no reason to doubt that's the way it is. For sure he is convinced of it, you don't need to be a psychologist to understand that. His incredible will to get back on the track is contagious after just a few minutes of talking with him. I hope Jacques will soon be able to have an F1 seat, because that will mean we are definitely in the circus."