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Peter Sauber admits that relationship with Villeneuve is "strained"

NEWS STORY
08/04/2005

After a number of sensational headlines, not helped by a worrying silence from his team, Peter Sauber has finally admitted that the relationship with his driver, 1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve, is strained.

Speaking to Reuters, Sauber said: "The partnership between Jacques Villeneuve and Sauber Petronas is currently at a difficult point.

"To keep from straining the relationship any further, I prefer not to make any further comments at the moment," he added.

Sauber's comments come at a time when some sections of the media claim that Villeneuve is already on his way out of the team, citing the decision to bring forward Felipe Massa's test programme by a day, as a clear sign that the relationship has run its course.

The first blow appeared to be struck last month when British magazine Autosport claimed that the Swiss team had already held talks with Anthony Davidson, a claim the team subsequently denied.

That said, on Thursday, Villeneuve took the unprecedented step of issuing a personal statement regarding the Barcelona test and his general feeling regarding the lack of progress the team is making, he also took a swipe at the media, saying that the situation would "fire a new set of rumours".

Sauber's comments, especially to a neutral and highly respected source such as Reuters will only add to the speculation, however, whatever happens, nobody will come out of this untainted, neither Sauber, his team, Villeneuve or the media.

Up until now the saga has been treated shamefully.

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