Villeneuve hopes BAR will help Button

Villeneuve hopes BAR will help Button

Jacques Villeneuve is reserving judgement on new team mate Jenson Button but hopes the good atmosphere at BAR will help the Englishman. In his time with Benetton and Renault, Button and team boss Flavio Briatore did not always see eye-to-eye and...

Jacques Villeneuve is reserving judgement on new team mate Jenson Button but hopes the good atmosphere at BAR will help the Englishman. In his time with Benetton and Renault, Button and team boss Flavio Briatore did not always see eye-to-eye and Button struggled with the car. Villeneuve thinks next year's BAR will suit Button better -- but if the youngster isn't competitive, Villeneuve won't respect him.

Jacques Villeneuve.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"I really don't know what to think of Jenson yet," the Canadian told the Times newspaper. "It's very hard to judge his F1 career so far. He started this year looking as if he was back on the pace, but then halfway through he slipped back into reverse. Hopefully, it was just because he didn't like the environment of working at Renault and the good feeling at BAR will help him, because if he's not competitive, it will be impossible for me to respect him."

"Jenson appears to be very good when the car is easy to drive. Whereas the Renault appeared to be a car which was extremely difficult to drive and it looked like he couldn't cope with that. Next year's car, our car, should be far better for him. I hope the environment of working with British people will make him happy and allow him to drive at his best."

Villeneuve's 2002 team-mate Olivier Panis moved to Toyota at the end of the season and although Villeneuve says he and Button get along, he's doubtful if the Brit will be as good as Panis: "Jenson's a good guy. He's funny and we get along. Whether he'll be as good a team-mate as Olivier, I'm not sure."

BAR boss David Richards recently said he was sure Button will be a world champion in the future if the team can give him a competitive car. Not to be out-done, Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock said he wanted to see the Canadian partnered by Michael Schumacher. Villeneuve moving to Ferrari or Schumacher to BAR both seem equally unlikely.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Michael Schumacher , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Flavio Briatore , David Richards
Teams Ferrari , Benetton