SEPTEMBER 16, 2003

BAR considers Williams-style shootout for 2004 drive

One of the options that BAR is currently considering is to have a shoot-out test between a number of young drivers to pick the quickest to be Jenson Button's team mate next year at BAR. This is an interesting idea and one which would obviously generate huge publicity for the team if it included drivers from all over the world. This would, of course, please the team's sponsor Lucky Strike.

The shoot-out could include the team's two current test drivers Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato and would probably include other drivers from around the world.

Williams had a similar shoot-out three years ago when Jenson Button went up against Bruno Junqueira. Button landed the drive and Junqueira went off to the United States where he is now a frontrunner in the CART series.

David Richards says that this is one of the four options open to him and his team but admits that negotiations with Jacques Villeneuve have now reached the money stage. Jacques needs to be careful as Sato is tipped to be on offer with a sizeable sum of money from Honda so to ask for too much money would tip the scales away from Villeneuve and towards Takuma, who has already had a year of racing in f1 with Jordan in 2002.

For the next few days however Richards is not expected to have much time for Formula 1 as he is deeply involved in solving the problems with the World Championship. The FIA Rally Commission meets today in Paris and fireworks are expected because of the FIA's decision to push up the number of events being held to 16 and force teams involved in the series to accept running only two cars.