Jacques Villeneuve could be on the verge of a sensational return to Formula One as a team owner in 2011.
According to the BBC, the 39-year-old has lodged a bid to capture the 13th grid slot for next season and has so far passed all of the FIA’s technical and financial checks.
Although the 1997 world champion has not raced since 2006, he has always remained committed to making a comeback.
The French-Canadian had been lined up to race for Stefan Grand Prix at the start of the year, only for the team to be denied entry to the championship by the sport’s governing body.
However, under the name Villeneuve Racing, the ex-Williams, BAR and BMW-Sauber driver has now thrown his weight behind the bid – with the FIA expected to name the successful applicant at the end of this month.
“I’ve never made it a secret that I’m working hard on an F1 project.” he told the BBC.
“But I’ve not discussed the details or what my plans were and I won’t be drawn on it now. I’m not commenting.”
Villeneuve’s manager, Rick Gorne, also confirmed that he was working on the project, but would not be drawn on the ins and outs of the bid.
“There is an element of truth in the rumours.” Gorne said.
“F1 is a possibility – he does have the intention to get back. It’s a project we’re working on.”
If successful, it is not clear whether Villeneuve would return to the cockpit as well as run his own team.