Richards encourages on track rivalry

Richards encourages on track rivalry

Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button have already been displaying intense rivalry off-track over the winter and BAR boss David Richards wants his drivers to push each other just as hard on track. Villeneuve and Button finished the Australian Grand...

Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button have already been displaying intense rivalry off-track over the winter and BAR boss David Richards wants his drivers to push each other just as hard on track. Villeneuve and Button finished the Australian Grand Prix just outside the points in ninth and tenth, which was disappointing for BAR, but Richards was pleased with the pair's performance.

Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button.
Photo by British American Racing.
"I was very happy with Jenson's performance in the race," Richards told the UK's Sunday Mirror. "He drove very sensibly and had the better of Jacques, so he has to be encouraged by that. Jacques is digging deep and he has to. He is now aware of Jenson's capability. But then that's what we want. We need our drivers pushing and getting the best out of each other."

Button was less than pleased in the race when Villeneuve came in for a pit stop at the same time as him, and the resulting confusion saw Button held up for valuable seconds. It's been suggested that Villeneuve pulled the stunt deliberately to play head games with Button but Richards insists that the Canadian was having radio problems.

"Jenson was very unhappy and understandably so," he said. "He would have finished much higher than he did had he not lost so much time in the pits. But Jacques did genuinely have a problem with his radio. He lost his earpiece and although we could hear him he couldn't hear us. Then his engineer didn't put out his pit board when he should have done."

"So Jacques came in on Jenson's lap and by then he was down to his very last dregs. It was all very unfortunate but there was nothing Machiavellian about it. We've talked about it within the team but it's often not best to tackle such an issue in detail on the spot when perhaps you don't have all the information and emotions are running high."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Jacques Villeneuve , David Richards
Teams British American Racing