Wed, Aug 09, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Villeneuve gets the sack

AP , BUDAPEST AND LONDON

BMW-Sauber has ended its contract with former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, the Formula One team said on Monday.

Villeneuve's last race for the BMW team was July 30, when he crashed at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, although he did not appear to be hurt.

"Jacques Villeneuve will not be racing with the BMW-Sauber F1 Team for the remainder of the 2006 F1 season," the team said in a statement, adding they had agreed to terminate his contract immediately.

BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen said BMW-Sauber had decided to "review its options" for next year, and try out Polish driver Robert Kubica "in a race environment" already this year.

On Sunday, at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Kubica became the first Polish driver to take part in an F1 race. He finished seventh, but was disqualified because his car was found to be underweight.

"We fully understand that it is difficult for Jacques to maintain his natural level of commitment in circumstances of uncertainty," Theissen said.

Meanwhile, the FIA has said that it is close to a deal that will freeze costly engine development for the next four seasons.

FIA president Max Mosley and Burkhard Goeschel, the chairman of the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association (GPMA), met on Monday to specify engine regulations through the 2010 season.

The GPMA represents engine-builders BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, Renault and Toyota.

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