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  Sunday, 28 April, 2002, 07:21 GMT 08:21 UK
Villeneuve to stay with BAR
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By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport Online motorsport editor in Barcelona

Jacques Villeneuve has pledged to stay with the British American Racing team next year.

The Canadian said at the Spanish Grand Prix that he had been quoted out of context in a British newspaper saying that there might come a time when he would say "enough is enough" about his time at BAR.

Villeneuve, world champion with Williams in 1997, has endured an unsuccessful time with BAR since they were set up around him for a debut in the 1999 season.

His close friend, Craig Pollock, was ousted as team boss before the start of this season and Villeneuve has been widely tipped to leave BAR for 2003 as a result.

Craig Pollock stands with Jacques Villeneuve at a team launch
Pollock and Villeneuve remain close

But he said he would not leave the team at the end of this year.

"I have no reason right now to leave the team," the Canadian said.

"When I said 'enough is enough', I was talking about a time when I will have to make a decision about the end of my career. I was not talking about BAR.

"Everyone expects me to leave at the end of the year, but it makes me laugh.

"To leave here would be very complicated, and first I would have to see if there were any interesting offers elsewhere.

"If it is to go to a team and start again, I'm not interested.

"If I had to make a change, it would be to win races or that it was going very badly at BAR.

"But the progress the team will make starting at the Canadian Grand Prix will be important for me.

There is no reason right no to change
Jacques Villeneuve

"After that, it will be easier to think about it, but for now I have no decision to make.

"I am concentrating on my job with BAR and I will be back with the team next year," Villeneuve said.

Villeneuve has a contract with BAR for next year, although he can exercise an option to leave if he wants to. The team has no such option on Villeneuve.

But he is paid a reputed $18m (12.3m) by the team, a figure he would be extremely unlikely to receive elsewhere.

On top of that, there are not expected to be any options open to him at any of the top three teams - Ferrari, Williams and McLaren.

The only potential competitive option might be Renault, who tried to sign him for the 2001 season.

Money matters

But they have effectively said that his salary is far too high.

"His salary is a huge handicap," Renault team boss Flavio Briatore told the Journal de Montreal newspaper.

It was suggested to Villeneuve that he could yet change his mind and decide to leave BAR.

But he said: "For sure, who knows? Maybe the team won't have the money to pay me, and maybe the team won't exist anymore.

"But there is no reason right now to change."

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