Jacques Villeneuve has confirmed that he is still working 'extremely' hard to race this year in the F1 World Championship.
The Canadian, who has missed the past three-and-a-half F1 seasons since being usurped by Robert Kubica in the BMW-Sauber line-up, has been linked to a number of teams since announcing he was keen to return to the sport in 2010. However as yet he hasn't inked a deal.
Indeed while he had been rumoured to be in the frame with the new Lotus F1 team, and visited Group Lotus' UK headquarters at the end of November, it should be noted that is actually pretty much a separate entity to Tony Fernandes' new Malaysian 'Lotus F1 Racing' squad – something the 1997 F1 World champion was keen to emphasise.
"A lot of people got carried away with the Lotus thing," Villeneuve told Auto123.com
. "I wanted to pay a visit to my good buddy Gino [Rosato] who's now working for Lotus, but that's the production car company.
"So I went to England and visited the production car factory. It has nothing to do with the new F1 team whatsoever. But many people got all excited, but I never discussed anything with the Lotus F1 team bosses."
Villeneuve currently has five possibilities for next year, as Renault, Sauber and Scuderia Toro Rosso all have a vacancy, as does Campos Meta F1 and the new USF1 team – the latter in fact is the only outfit not to have signed at least one driver.
"Well, there's no much to say for the moment," Villeneuve continued when asked about F1 2010. "But I am still working extremely hard to get back in F1 this season. So hard you would not believe it.
"Jock Clear [my former race engineer at Williams and BAR-Honda] told me that I would love driving the new F1 cars that have got rid of much of the electronic gizmos. This really motivates me to return in F1. But for the moment there is nothing to announce."