Former F1 champ Villeneuve gets fired by BMW

Updated: August 7, 2006, 5:17 PM ET
Associated Press

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- BMW-Sauber said Monday that the team terminated its contract with former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve.

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.

BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen said BMW-Sauber had decided to "review its options" for 2007 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.

Villeneuve said he was disheartened by the decision not to guarantee him a place on the team after he missed Sunday's race.

"This is really disappointing as I was looking forward to working with BMW on longer terms -- going into next season capitalizing on our common experiences," the Canadian driver said on his Web site. "I will now have more time to concentrate on future projects."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press