Button partner at BAR unclear

Button partner at BAR unclear

When BAR announced on Monday that Jenson Button would join the team from 2003, the thing they neglected to mention was which driver he would be partnering. It was widely presumed that Jacques Villeneuve was staying and Olivier Panis moving on:...

When BAR announced on Monday that Jenson Button would join the team from 2003, the thing they neglected to mention was which driver he would be partnering. It was widely presumed that Jacques Villeneuve was staying and Olivier Panis moving on: that may be the case but so far it's yet to be confirmed.

Jenson Button on the starting grid.
Photo by Renault F1.
BAR boss David Richards has questioned Villeneuve's large salary in the past and negotiations are yet to be settled: "Contracts are one thing," said Richards. "But you need motivated people who share the goals and ambition of the team. It is like a marriage -- if you don't share the same aims then there shall be a parting of the ways."

"Jacques and I are having those discussions at the moment and contrary to public speculation we have never exchanged a cross word."

He also commented on the situation in regards to Panis: "The only other scenario is with Olivier. I have been very open with people and I explained to Olivier that there would have to be a change in the driver line-up. But how that will manifest itself is still unclear."

Panis has been linked with Toyota recently, who are due to announce their 2003 driver line up at the Belgian Grand Prix on September 1st.

According to Richards, no matter the outcome of BAR's driver wrangles, Villeneuve was happy to have Button on board: "Jacques and I sat down and went through the whole F1 grid and Jenson was I think the second name he mentioned. He told me 'The one person I rate for the future, most of all, is Jenson'."

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