Motor racing: Villeneuve blasts track

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The Independent Online
Jacques Villeneuve yesterday described the circuit for Sunday's Argentinian Grand Prix as little more than a go-kart track.

Villeneuve, the Williams-Renault driver and the championship favourite, said that the Buenos Aires circuit, which has been criticised for being very bumpy and dusty, was not in the spirit of Formula One.

"This is like Monaco without the walls," Villeneuve said. "It is a good thing there are not too many tracks like this. It's just like a high-speed go-kart track. When you hit a bump here the pain makes you close your eyes, because it goes right down your spine."

His team-mate, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, goes into the race with his talent and mental strength under severe scrutiny. The German, who has has been a disappointment in his opening two races, said: "I know there is more to come from the car and from me. I know there is more pressure on me this year. But I can cope."

Williams' pursuit of the world title will continue to be backed by Rothmans, who first formed their partnership with the Didcot-based team in 1994. The cigarette company has agreed to back them again next year. No figure has been announced, but deals between a team and their main backer are usually put at around pounds 20m.