Being a fan is a tough gig sometimes. You have to put up with a lot of shit. Crap albums, teams performing badly, cringe worthy comments in the media. Sometimes worse.

Now, being a Formula One fan in Australia is tough. As a matter of fact, following anything from outside our fair island is tough. (Just ask any Australian football/soccer fan… it’s brutal). It requires commitment and dedication. An ability to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning to watch a race from the other side of the planet. Anybody who has awoken at that god-awful hour to watch a grand prix from Brasil or Canada knows exactly what I mean! Things aren’t made any easier by the broadcasters. Being forced to stay up until 2 o’clock in the morning to watch the end of a race. Thanks for nothing Channel 10… delaying a broadcast to show a REPEAT of some two bit crime drama. BTW… we prefer the commentary of James and Martin on ITV. I personally, prefer someone who knows that they are talking about. Anyway, I digress. This rant isn’t about the broadcasting of Formula One. It’s about Jacques Villeneuve.

Jacques Villeneuve

When Jacques burst into Formula One in 1996, it was a breath of fresh air. He was young, brash and had a shit load of talent coupled with an “equally substantial view of his own worth”. Then again, with Gilles as a father, that came as no surprise. After the dark days and months following Ayrton Senna’s death, it was exactly what Formula One needed. On debut, he started from pole position. His four race wins that year saw him finish second in the drivers championship. Another seven wins the following year saw Jacques crowned World Champion in 1997.

Now Jacques was always a little outside the square in the Formula One world. “Characters” I believe they are called. The bleached hair, the baggy racing suit, the failure to conform. Jacques was always willing to speak his mind. When you are winning, that’s fine. An ability to back up what you say with great performances. (Jason Akermanis is a perfect example). When you can no longer back up the words with actions, you become, well, a loudmouth/jackass/insert own slag off here.

Now, I’ve stick by Jacques through thick and thin. The dark days at BAR, the even darker days without a drive. So in 2005, it was great to see JV get a drive with Sauber. Even more exciting was the sale of Sauber to BMW at the end of 2005. The oppurtunity for a competitive drive (and a BMW budget) to show he could still cut it. While never setting the world on fire, he was able to outshine his teammate, the German Nick Heidfeld. Alas, this was not enough for the higher-ups at BMW. Thus JV is again without a drive, and his F1 career is looking all but over. Now Jacques has been reported as saying that “NASCAR is his only viable alternative should he, as seems likely, not continue racing in Formula 1 next year”. Fair enough, but he continued:

“These days, NASCAR isn’t a step down from F1 and, because of that, it’s something you can do without thinking you’re giving up on your career – just as Montoya has done”.
– Villeneuve said in an interview with F1 Racing.

Excuse Me! I don’t think so JV. With this, you lost me. Formula One is the premier form of motor sport on the planet. It has no equal. The speed, power, technology are all unparalleled. Both you and JPM are kidding yourselves. And just because you and a few million rednecks say so, it doesn’t make it any different. Delusion is a wonderful thing!

A final note… Jacques has just released an album. Adding insult to injury. Stick to your day job JV… even if it is racing tanks in the USA!
Adeiu! You’ll be missed JV!

The official Jacques Villeneuve website.

JV’s MySpace Page… and some ‘musical’ samples.