Villeneuve  or Wurz close to 2010 USF1 deal

UPDATE #3 (GMM) Alex Wurz has confirmed speculation that he is a possible contender for a race seat with the new USF1 team next year.

USF1 co-principal Peter Windsor in Hungary this weekend admitted the veteran Austrian might match the team's plans to pit an experienced driver alongside a young American in 2010.

"A decision hasn't been made," Wurz, 35, clarified in interview with on Sunday.

"Peter has known me for a long time, he knows my qualities for developing and testing and that often I can identify things faster than some others. And when you're making a new team, that could be an advantage.

"He has asked me if I think we could work together," the veteran of 69 grands prix, and many intervening years as a highly respected test driver, revealed.

07/24/09 (GMM) The co-founder of the new formula one team USF1 has admitted that Alex Wurz is a leading contender for a race seat next year.

The big rumor surrounding the Charlotte-based outfit was that the 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who was in the Hungaroring paddock on Friday, was close to signing a deal to return to F1.

USF1 dismissed Villeneuve off as a Prima Dona

On Friday, the French Canadian was spotted in conversation with BMW's Mario Theissen, Mercedes' Norbert Haug as well as Bernie Ecclestone.

But with USF1 contemplating putting an experienced driver alongside a young American in 2010, team boss Peter Windsor said it is Austrian Wurz who is actually the frontrunner for the former role.

"We have spoken to Alex," he said. "Any new team coming into formula one needs to look at drivers with experience," Windsor told the BBC.

"Alex Wurz could perhaps be able to operate at our rate of learning."

At the end of his disappointing final season in F1 with Williams in 2007, 35-year-old Wurz said he is retiring as a race driver.

The ever-graying Villeneuve, however, is openly enthusiastic about returning to F1 and adding to his tally of 165 grands prix, most recently with BMW-Sauber in 2006.

But Windsor played down the likelihood of a deal with USF1.

"Jacques is a former world champion and he comes in with that persona and that largesse and it could be that for a team that needs to grow at its own organic rate Jacques would come in with his own rate of expectation and they might not match," he said.

07/23/09 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today. Jacques Villeneuve has played down reports that he is close to securing a contract to return to formula one with the new USF1 team in 2010. Germany's Sport Bild claimed on Wednesday that the 1997 world champion, now 38, could be unveiled as USF1's first confirmed race driver for 2010 within the next few weeks.

"This is just a rumor," the 11-time grand prix winner told the French language Canadian sports network RDS in Belgium, where this weekend he will race in the GT3 category at the Spa-Francorchamps 24 hours.

The French Canadian added: "I have had talks with several teams but the chances of returning (to F1) remain slim."

Also in the wake of the German report, Villeneuve denied speaking to a Sport Bild reporter and said he has only had brief contacts with officials of the USF1 team. USF1 co-principal Peter Windsor, however, acknowledges that while the ambition is to have American drivers, the team might consider signing an experienced driver for its first season.

Sport Bild mentioned in its Wednesday report that Alexander Wurz was another option.

07/22/09 (GMM) Jacques Villeneuve is close to securing a contract to return to formula one with the new USF1 team in 2010, Germany's Sport Bild reports on Wednesday.

The French-Canadian, now 38, last won a grand prix in his championship year in 1997 but subsequently drove for BAR, Renault and Sauber/BMW until 2006.

Having failed to establish a career in NASCAR, he recently attended some formula one races this year, buoyed by the reduction in downforce, the return of slick tires and the opportunities afforded by three new teams.

Villeneuve did not refer specifically to USF1 but admitted to the magazine: "It is true, I will return to formula one."

Sport Bild said the official announcement could be made within the next few weeks.

The report also said USF1's first Cosworth-powered car will be ready in October, with Aragon (Spain) and Le Castellet (France) at the top of the list to be the team's European base.

The cars are being designed and built in Charlotte, North Carolina (USA).

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