Jacques Villeneuve says he is setting his sights firmly set on landing a Formula 1 race seat for 2010. The 1997 World Champion has been present at the last few races, speaking to teams about the possibility of securing a drive for next year. And, with the current regulations and design of cars being attractive to him, he has made no bones about the fact that he is far from ready to hang up his helmet.
"I'm a racing driver and I always will be," Villeneuve told Autosprint
. "That's why I'm looking about myself for F1.
"Driving is the only thing that interests me, and all the mess that's happened helps me: with the test ban, we experienced drivers are handy. I can't say what will happen, but I'm giving it a go.
"In my opinion, today's cars are better to watch, and they will be even more so next year. They will be more fun driving them, especially with the fuel-stop ban. You can see them sliding more, without electronic aids; this way the show is better."
He added: "I've been saying it for 10 years: ban pit stops, get back to slick tires, and get rid of electronics. I'm only sorry that compulsory pit stops for tire changes are staying, because that takes away some of the action coming from the fuel factor.
"It's good to see a driver who stays on the track without changing tires, maybe running slower, while another one maybe wastes time in the pit stop then closes the gap."
When asked if he was falling in love with F1 again, Villeneuve said: "Yes, because the human aspect is counting again, as it did in the past: the work is more like the way I remember it.
"When I left, F1 wasn't fun anymore. Or rather, driving still was, but the atmosphere outside was bad. You'd spend your half hour with your race engineer, after which the computer would prepare your setup. And they'd tell you: 'Shut up and drive.' I'm the type of person that always speaks out, but towards the end everything became very difficult."
And Villeneuve has reiterated his desire to bring a few more outspoken remarks back to the paddock, too.
"The atmosphere, now like then, looks boring viewed from the outside," he explained. "No one speaks out. In my opinion that's also what loses fans. People want to see gladiators, instead they all sound like they love each other. In reality everyone wants to beat everyone else."