Honda F1 website

SEPTEMBER 26, 2003

The future of Jacques Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve's future with BAR-Honda remains clouded at the moment with many different rumors doing the rounds. Our understanding is that talks are continuing over money between the team and Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock. It is clear that the team does not want to pay anything like the same kind of figure that the Canadian has earned in recent years but it seems that Villeneuve and Pollock are aware that they are not in a position of power, beyond the fact that Villeneuve still has more pulling power for BAT than any of his rivals for the drive. BAT knows that its future in F1 is limited and so there is not really time to waste on building up a new star. Honda is pushing for Takuma Sato but there is no guarantee that BAR will agree to take on Sato unless it is in their interest to do so (i.e. unless Honda agrees to put more sponsorship into the team). Considering all the options Villeneuve remains the most attractive, if his financial demands are reasonable and if Jacques and Pollock understand this (and it seems they do) there is no reason that a deal cannot be struck. However much will depend on whether Honda is willing to back Sato enough to make it worth BAR's while to take on the Japanese driver.

"I am definitely not ready to retire," said Villeneuve. "Le Mans would be a fun thing to race, just because no one's ever won CART, the Indy 500, F1 and Le Mans, but right now I find it hard to imagine racing in anything else than F1. But once you don't have something any more, you start thinking differently. Maybe something else would start exciting me."