Richards believes in Button potential

BAR boss David Richards has never wavered in his belief that Jenson Button will be a Formula One champion in the future and thinks a resurgence of interest in the Englishman proves his potential. With Juan Pablo Montoya off to McLaren in 2005, speculation has it that Williams has an eye on Button as a possible replacement for the Colombian. Button started his F1 career with Williams in 2000 but as far as Richards is concerned, Jenson isn't going anywhere.

Jenson Button and David Richards.
Photo by LAT Photographic.
"It's a compliment to Jenson and also to us that there is so much speculation about Williams and other teams wanting him," said Richards, according to the Sunday Mirror. "It shows what an exceptional driver Jenson is and proves our judgment was sound. We could see his capabilities all along and now everyone else can."

"We signed Jenson because we were convinced he had the potential to become world champion and we're committed to giving him that opportunity. We genuinely believe we can achieve that."

"I am certain you will see a significant improvement in our performance next year and then we expect to be challenging the familiar contenders in 2005. Jenson is going nowhere because he has no reason to leave. He can realise his ambitions with us."

With the departure of Jacques Villeneuve from BAR, Button takes the mantle of team leader despite being only 23. Jenson had the upper hand on his more experienced teammate in 2003 and Richards believes he will go from strength to strength.

"Jenson settled very quickly into the team and it is clearly an environment he responds to," Richards explained. "I believe we can get the best out of him. He has four years' experience in F1, but he is still very young. He can only get better."

"He not only has the ability but also the application and temperament. He's not fazed by anything. He showed that with Jacques. There's no question in my mind that he's a future world champion."