Since Jenson Button announced his intention to return to Williams in 2005, there's been a frenzy of speculation about who might fill his seat at BAR. As if the situation wasn't strange enough already, the latest name to be linked with Button's ...
Since Jenson Button announced his intention to return to Williams in 2005, there's been a frenzy of speculation about who might fill his seat at BAR. As if the situation wasn't strange enough already, the latest name to be linked with Button's vacancy is none other than his former teammate Jacques Villeneuve.
Villeneuve was unceremoniously dumped by BAR at the end of last season, in what was a rather acrimonious parting. Yet the Canadian is angling for his seat back if the reports are to be believed. British tabloid The Sun claims Villeneuve would be happy to go back.
"David Richards and I have had our differences but I believe we can put everything behind us," the newspaper quoted Jacques as saying. "I'm sure we can sort things out and work together on making the team go forward because BAR are true front-runners."
"Ferrari are the best but after them it's BAR -- the only team that can worry Michael Schumacher. I've spoken to David and it would be good if something can be worked out but we have to wait and see what happens to Jenson. But I want to get back into F1 and fight at the front."
BAR decided not to renew Villeneuve's contract at the end of 2003 and the Canadian was so annoyed he didn't even compete in the final race. Takuma Sato, who was test driver at the time, stepped in, a move that surprised no-one.
It may seem odd that Villeneuve should want to go back to BAR -- and that the team might welcome him -- but perhaps it's not as daft as it sounds. After all, Jacques was with BAR for five years and knows the Brackley squad well, and has the experience Richards may be looking for.
However, let's not be hasty -- even Mika Hakkinen has been suggested as Button's successor so the rumour mill is in full grist at the moment. There has been no definite comment from BAR in regard to any replacement for Button and the team is unlikely to do so until the contractual mess with Jenson is sorted out.