F1 1998 Championship

In 1998, everything seemed ready for a Schumacher vs Villeneuve era.
Villeneuve retained his seat at Williams Grand Prix, but the team was unable to maintain its racing dominance. The car was powered by the old V10 Renault engines under the label of Mecachrome and Goodyear were in its last F1 season freezing tyre's developememnt. Moreover, William's Chief Aerodynamist Adrian Newey who was the designer of the previous victorious cars (FW18 and FW19), departed also to McLaren Mercedes the year before. In fact, it was commented that FW20 was just a virtual copy of the 1997 car adjusted to 1998 regulations as was lacking actual development!
The team was struggling to match the pace of its competitors for the whole season and for the following years Williams rarely found itself in a continuous leading role in F1.
The statistics revealed Villeneuve's misery. He never qualified in the pole position and had to be content with only 2 podium finishes but on its lowest step fro the whole season. For a racer who loved being in the front, the number of laps he led all season long was exactly zero. Villeneuve finished the season 5th scoring 21 points only one more than Jordan's Damon Hill, less than half that of Ferrari's Eddie Irvine, and practically only 1/5 Mika Hakkinen who was crowned new World Champion and established himself as Schumacher's new nemesis for the following years.
Villeneuve was just named "Best of the Rest".

Villeneuve had a great opportunity to win a race at the "Grand Prix du Canada" in Montreal. During the race, he was running 2nd to Giancarlo Fisichella's Benneton while the safety car was on the track. Villeneuve immediately after the restart of the race, tried wrongly to overtake Fisichella from the outside line and take the lead, but he braked too late at the first corner, exited the track and lost his current position.

When he re-entered the track he collided with Esteban Tuero's Minardi and lost his rear wing. After a long pitstop to repair his car he finally finished the race 6 laps behind the race winner Michael Schumacher.

At the "Grosser Preis von Österreich" in A1-Ring, Villeneuve finished just 6th scoring one more point.

During the first laps at the "Foster's Grand Prix de Belgique" in Spa, Villeneuve manage to take the lead but due to the wet conditions of the circuit he spun off and retired from the race.

By the end of the 1998 season, Villeneuve was looking forward to joining the newly formed British American Racing and make a new successful beginning.