Villeneuve wants triumph over Button

Villeneuve wants triumph over Button

Jacques Villeneuve seems intent on stirring up as much animosity between himself and new team mate Jenson Button as he possibly can. Since Button was signed for BAR late last year, the grumpy Canadian has made frequent snipes at the young ...

Jacques Villeneuve seems intent on stirring up as much animosity between himself and new team mate Jenson Button as he possibly can. Since Button was signed for BAR late last year, the grumpy Canadian has made frequent snipes at the young Englishman, mostly along the lines of Button not having proved his worth.

Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button.
Photo by British American Racing.
The latest verbal dig from Villeneuve has him saying if he can't beat Button, he may as well quit: "If I don't beat him, I'd better stay at home because that would mean I don't belong in F1," the prickly Villeneuve was quoted as saying in the British press. "I'm not starting the season thinking: 'I have to beat Jenson' -- I don't care about Jenson! He hasn't shown anything yet."

Villeneuve has certainly made his opinion of Button clear in the recent past, saying Button will have to perform on track otherwise he will not gain the former champion's respect. He also took offense at the media comparing him to the Brit in terms of ability, suggesting it was an insult for an ex-title holder to be judged alongside a driver of only three seasons.

To be fair, it must be tough on Villeneuve to have BAR boss David Richards publicly trumpeting his belief in Button as a future champion while barely giving the Canadian a second glance. Villeneuve has worked hard for the team but the constant mediocre performance of BAR seems to have worn down his natural enthusiasm.

2003 is very likely to be Villeneuve's last year with BAR, even if the team improves. Craig Pollock, former BAR boss and Jacques' manager, recently said his prot?g? was in F1 for the long term but where Villeneuve would go after BAR is uncertain. Pollock recently formed his own CART team and, despite suggestions to the contrary, it would seem an obvious route for Villeneuve if staying in F1 does not look like a viable option.

Button, meanwhile, is wisely keeping his mouth firmly shut on the subject of his outspoken team mate's opinions.

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