Villeneuve set for Alpine F1 test at Monza after Italian GP


Jacques Villeneuve will be back behind the wheel an F1 next week, courtesy of Alpine which has invited the Canadian to test its 2021-spec A521 machine at Monza, after next weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

The track day has been set up by Alpine and French TV broadcaster Canal+ for which Villeneuve is a consultant as a tribute to the Canadian on the 25th anniversary of his F1 world title won with the Renault-powered Williams team in 1997.

It will mark the Canadian's first run onboard a modern F1 machine since 2006, the year of his final Grand Prix, a race he enjoyed at Hockenheim with BMW-Sauber.

"It happened through the link with Canal+, French team and French TV, and I won 25 years ago with Renault," Villeneuve told at Zandvoort last weekend.

"So it's an outing because of that. But it's last year's car in Monza and you cannot detune them, so it will be proper laps."

Although Villeneuve won all of his eleven victories in F1 with Williams in 1996 and 1997, the Canadian undertook later on in his career three races with the works Renault team in 2004.

"I did three races with Fernando, so I do have a past with that team, and [Alpine sporting director] Alan Permane was my engineer.

"This is super, super exciting. It’s crazy. It'll be good to understand what these cars are like as well.

"I tried the simulator. The modern cars are not impressive in the slow speed, but they're incredible in high speed.

"I just have to make sure I have a good seat. It will be hell, because the G forces will be incredible. The good thing is at least you have long straight line. So physically you can relax!"

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Earlier this year, Villeneuve qualified and raced in the Daytona 500, NASCAR's blue riband event. At 51, the F1 veteran still considers himself as being an active driver.

"I've never stopped wanting to do this," he added. "So my goal lately has been to get to NASCAR.

"After doing Daytona this year that kind of put me in the mood of trying to get a season going. But right now I'm so busy with TV that it kind of blocks anything else."

Alpine has also offered Canal+ F1 commentator and part-time racer Julien Febreau an opportunity to sample the French outfit's A521 that was raced last season by Alonso and teammate Esteban Ocon.

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