JANUARY 12, 2002
Richards rejects suggestions of Villeneuve swap
BAR team principal David Richards has specifically rejected any contractually possibility of Jacques Villeneuve leaving the team in a swap deal with Renault driver Jenson Button.
There had been much speculation in F1 circles that the 1997 world champion wanted out after being dismayed by the replacement of his personal manager and mentor Craig Pollock in the role of BAR team principal. However, it seems that Villeneuve has no out clause in his contract and, in any event, seems guardedly impressed by the initial promise displayed by the new BAR-Honda 004 at its first test in Barcelona this past week.
Nevertheless, Button's position at Renault is known to be shaky. Sources close to Flavio Briatore hint that he would like to drop the 22-year-old Englishman as quickly as possible in order to replace him with Spanish rising star Fernando Alonso.