IF the return of Juan Pablo Montoya (JPM) wasn’t exciting enough for Indycar fans, then perhaps the 1995 champion, Jacques Villeneuve’s appearance on this year’s grid will be the icing on the cake. According to AUTOWEEK, Jacque Villeneuve (JV) will be making a comeback at 43-years-old:
“Villeneuve, who turns 43 on April 9, will drive a car entered by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, which finished third in the IndyCar Series standings with Simon Pagenaud. Sam Schmidt’s team has scheduled a Wednesday press conference in Indianapolis to confirm the deal.” says AUTOWEEK.
Now, having said that, what has surprised me is the amount of mind vomit on Twitter regarding the concept of JV on the grid. Many have heaped vitriol on the Canadian and claimed it is too little, too late and that he is just desperate for a career and media attention at this point. They say it will be a Schumacher affair rather than a Raikkonen-style comeback and there is probably a lot of truth in that statement.
Back in the 1990’s I was a Michael Schumacher fan so JV wasn’t someone I was very drawn to as you can imagine. He’s a bit of an outspoken antagonist at times and he’s been the butt of a few jokes around here but now I find myself in the position of defending the little, baggy-suited world champ.
I think it is great that he’s planning on coming back to Indycar for the 500. Indycar needs some brand adrenaline and JV adds to the JPM enigma of former champs returning to the scene of the crime after being away and it can only be good for the series. As for JV himself? Maybe he’s made lots of enemies but a guy has to continue to be productive and progressing in his career and to work a deal to run the 500 is not a crime.
Why so heavy-handed with the thought of JV on the grid? So it’s been a while but he still knows how to drive a car. If he gets his arse handed to him, so be it but there are others who have made the grid who are not worth writing home about so I don’t the issue.
I wish him the very best. Juan Manuel Fangio didn’t seem to mind being an older gentleman as he won races and I don’t think it’s very good form to discount anyone over 34 in racing anymore. It starts to seem as if the only slice of humanity that matters is 19-30 and that’s a real shame. One day, those who would mock age will be aged and the parallax will shed new perspective but until that day, let’s just wish JV the best and hope he adds to Indycar’s spectacle.