Jacques Villeneuve: Rallying and concerned about F1 in 2014

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The 1997 Formula One World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve, has never been short of candor, even as his active racing career has dwindled over the last few years.

He’s got the racing part back, announcing Thursday he will compete for the Scottish Albatec Racing team in the new World Rallycross Championship. This WRC is a different rally series from the FIA World Rally Championship (also WRC), and is also different than Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC), which despite its name is a primarily U.S.-based series.

Villeneuve will race a 600 bhp Peugeot 208 in the championship that competes, like both the other WRC and GRC, on gravel and asphalt surfaces with a series of jumps.

Now that that confusing bit is out of the way, here’s the less confusing bit: Villeneuve doesn’t like the direction F1 is going.

“I don’t understand what they are trying to do. I don’t understand the concept,” he told Autosport at the time of his rally program reveal.

“Formula 1 is not epic anymore, the drivers are not heroes. The problem is that the changes are being made in an artificial way and that doesn’t work.”

He also said that when it gets “boring,” the rules tend to get, in his words, more “artificial.”

Villeneuve went through several iterations of F1 in his own career from 1996 through 2006.

His first two years saw some cockpit design changes, the elimination of V12 engines and the shift to car numbers based on the previous year’s Constructor’s Championship. In 1998, grooved tires were introduced, which added another element to the show.

The V10s omnipresent through 2005 before they took a final bow, as the then-new V8 powerplants were introduced that year.

We’re all waiting to see how the 2014 season shakes out before making any harsh judgments, but Villeneuve’s coming at it from a soundbite-worthy, “hope it doesn’t take a turn for the worse” mentality.

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.