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DATE News (chronologically)
03/14/07
f1
Sauber: Hiring Villeneuve was a mistake
Peter Sauber (right) says, if he had to do it all over again, he would not hire Jacques Villeneuve to drive for his Formula One team.

Back in 2005, Sauber was looking for a teammate for Felipe Massa. While he admits there were several options, he settled on Villeneuve, a former world champion who was coming back after almost a year out of the sport.

As it turned out, Massa had the better of Villeneuve for most of the season, leaving Sauber to wonder if he had made the right choice.

"Failure's the wrong word," Sauber tells Credit Suisse's emagazine when asked about the Villeneuve signing. "But I probably wouldn't do it again. At the time, there were no suitable alternatives on the market for that price."  

Sauber notes that prior to signing Villeneuve, several other drivers came calling about the vacancy.
 
"(Coulthard) was a driver who'd for years been the number two with McLaren, and that weighed heavily with him," Sauber explained. "You're reluctant to take on someone like that, even though at a personal level I've always found Coulthard very likeable.

"(Olivier) Panis, who was at the end of his career, wasn't an alternative either. Putting a second youngster in the cockpit next to Massa would have been a highly debatable thing to do."

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