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Former F1 champ Villeneuve gets fired by BMW

8/7/2006

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."