Button must earn JV's respect

Button must earn JV's respect

Jenson Button will have to earn the respect of new team mate Jacques Villeneuve by improving on his performance of his first three years in Formula One. Speaking at the launch of the BAR005 in Barcelona today, Villeneuve said if a driver respects...

Jenson Button will have to earn the respect of new team mate Jacques Villeneuve by improving on his performance of his first three years in Formula One. Speaking at the launch of the BAR005 in Barcelona today, Villeneuve said if a driver respects his team mate, as he did 2002 partner Olivier Panis, all is well. But if he doesn't respect his fellow driver, he can't make it happen.

Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve.
Photo by British American Racing.
"The key thing is do you respect your team mate or not?" the 1997 champion said. "If you do respect him, like was the case with Olivier, then everything works fine and nobody gets destroyed in the process. But if you don't respect your team mate then it just happens on its own basically. You can't help yourself."

It's early days yet for Villeneuve and Button to have formed any working relationship but the Canadian thinks Button's on track performance will influence his own judgement of the Englishman: "I will respect him once he goes quicker on the racetrack," he remarked. "That's the only way you respect another race car driver at all. Some drivers will be fast but very, very weak and then you don't respect them either."

Villeneuve has no time for those who might express upset at a break down or other incident, saying strength is very important: "I believe it's a job where it's important to be strong. If the car breaks down, don't break into tears and stuff like that like you see sometimes happening to some drivers. That's one thing that I have a hard time to respect. So yes, human strength is probably more important for respect than pure speed."

BAR boss David Richards has faith in Button as a future title winner but Villeneuve is hedging his bets on the young Brit's future: "If he steps up from his first three years, yes," he said on the subject of Button being a possible champion. "If not, no."

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