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Villeneuve to return to F1 UPDATE #3 Jacques Villeneuve is set to have a seat fitting in Stefan GP's car in Cologne on Monday, AUTOSPORT has learned.

Team boss Zoran Stefanovic has said that the 1997 world champion is close to a deal with the Serbian squad, which continues to push for a place in the 2010 Formula 1 field.

Stefan has already announced Kazuki Nakajima as its first driver, and is also believed to be poised to sign GP2 race winner Pastor Maldonado as its reserve.

The team's second car is scheduled for completion on Tuesday, and it is understood to be planning a media launch on Wednesday in a location close to its Cologne facility. Although Bridgestone has so far declined to release tires to Stefan, forcing it to abandon plans to test at Portimao this week, the team is thought to have decided that Avon tires would be suitable for the launch and a shakedown. Autosport

02/22/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today and will soon go to 'fact.'  According to AR1.com sources, Jacques Villeneuve has brought $10M and has signed to drive with the Stefan GP team, assuming they get an F1 entry this year, which they should with USF1 going belly up.

02/20/10 Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve is close to signing a contract with Formula One hopefuls Stefan GP, team boss Zoran Stefanovic said yesterday.

The Serbian outfit does not have a 2010 entry but is hoping to race this year given that new teams Campos and US F1 have yet to test their cars or complete their driver line-ups ahead of the first grand prix of the season in Bahrain on March 14.

"We are very near to a contract with Jacques Villeneuve, and probably also with another driver as our reserve driver. But the first one which will be with us is Kazuki Nakajima," Stefanovic said.

02/19/10 (GMM) Jacques Villeneuve has admitted to reading internet reports in order to catch up on the raging speculation about his immediate future.

It has been reported this week that the 1997 world champion is the favorite to join Kazuki Nakajima in 2010 at Stefan GP, the Serbian outfit that does not yet have an official team entry.

When asked by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport what he knows about the rumors, the French Canadian answered: "As much as I have read.

"It is really difficult to keep track of what is happening. Do they (Stefan) already have an official starting place?" he asked the reporter.

When the convoluted situation was explained to Villeneuve, the 38-year-old wondered aloud: "Isn't it in everyone's interest that in Bahrain, all the teams are at the start?"

He also admitted that he had spoken "a few times" in the past with USF1's Peter Windsor, but was told that he would need to bring sponsorship to the cockpit.

As for Stefan GP, Villeneuve said: "If they get a place in formula one, that would be a great opportunity.

"As they are apparently supported by Bernie Ecclestone, you must assume that they will make it and take them seriously.

"With the equipment from Toyota, they could be the best new team," he added.
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