BMW’s Formula 1 team and former world champion Jacques Villeneuve have parted company.
The Canadian drove his last race for the German outfit in the German Grand Prix, a race he crashed out of.
He was replaced in the second BMW by the team’s test driver, Robert Kubica, for last Sunday’s Hungarian GP. BMW said Villeneuve was still recovering from his German GP injuries.
However, on Monday, Villeneuve said he and BMW were parting company.
Reports from Canada suggest Villeneuve will race in NASCAR’s Busch Series in the USA next year. That would make him the second F1 star to move to NASCAR. Former McLaren driver Juan Pablo Montoya will race in the Nextel Cup from 2007.
"Last week the team informed us of its decision to review its options for next year, including assessing Kubica in a race environment," Villeneuve said on Monday. "(I was not offered) any assurance about my race seat beyond Hungary."
In a separate announcement, BMW said on Monday morning that it had reached an agreement with Villeneuve to terminate the relationship immediately.
"After Jacques' accident in the Hockenheim race the team decided to review its options for next year, including assessing Robert Kubica in a race environment," said BMW Motorsport’s director, Mario Theissen.
"Our decision to look towards evaluating our driver line-up has naturally impacted (on) Jacques' position for the remainder of this season. We fully understand that it is difficult for Jacques to maintain his natural level of commitment in circumstances of uncertainty. We respect his position and wish him well for the future."
It appears Kubica will drive the second BMW in the five remaining 2006 Grands Prix.
Villeneuve had been hoping for a third season with BMW.
"This is really disappointing as I was looking forward to working with BMW in the long term," he said.
Canadian newspaper Journal de Montreal has reported that Villeneuve has already signed a pre-contract to drive in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2007, and move to the premier Nextel Cup in 2008.
Villeneuve and NASCAR sources have denied that there have been any discussions.