Former F1 and Indy champion Jacques Villeneuve is playing down reports that he was offered a ride with the new Lotus Renault GP team for next season. The French Canadian driver recently threw in the towel on any potential return to grand prix racing after repeated attempts to get back on the grid, determined to break into NASCAR instead and getting his fix racing Skodas on ice in the interim.

According to reports, Lotus offered him a drive on its IndyCar team for this past season that would have led to an F1 seat with the automaker's newly acquired squad for 2011. The reports were spurred by Villeneuve's reported visit to Lotus to meet with Gino Rosato, one of the many former Ferrari employees who've since defected to Lotus – a visit which Villeneuve said was purely social and not professional. Rosato, like Villeneuve, hails from the Canadian province of Quebec.

Jacques confirms that an offer for an IndyCar drive was made (if he could bring sponsors' cash along with him), but not for an F1 drive, pointing out that Lotus' decision to get into F1 was only made more recently. Besides, insists Villeneuve, he had no interest in going back into IndyCar racing since he already mastered that series in his earlier days. Well, he already won the F1 championship too, but that didn't seem to stop him from taking another stab at it. And then another. And then a few more.

[Source: ESPN | Image: Robert Cianflone/Getty]