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  Friday, 21 June, 2002, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Villeneuve hits back at boss
Dave Richards chats to Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock at the Australian Grand Prix
Richards (left) replaced Pollock (right) as BAR chief
Jacques Villeneuve has aimed an angry salvo at his British American Racing team boss David Richards for criticising his massive wages.

The 1997 world champion claimed on Thursday that Richards was trying to embarrass him over his salary.

Villeneuve's deal will reputedly rise to 15million next season, with only four-time world champion Michael Schumacher earning more.

Richards has revealed that Villeneuve's wages account for a quarter of the team's development budget, intimating that if the Canadian was paid less he could expect a faster car.


If I move it would be to a winning team like Ferrari or Williams but there are no openings
Jacques Villeneuve

But Villeneuve hit back ahead of Sunday's European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in Germany.

"It is getting on my nerves - it is bothering me to read this stuff," Villeneuve said.

"It is easy for Richards to talk like this. He has been at the team for only six months. I have been here four years fighting to try and improve the team.

"I wonder what the team would have been like if I had not signed for BAR in 1999. I think it is unfair that Richards is putting me in this position.

"I've always worked hard and respected my contract. I've never tried to embarrass someone like Richards is trying to do with me now. After all he is getting paid by the team, too.

"If the people from British American Tobacco decided two years ago to give me that fee it is because they thought they would get something out of it.

Jacques Villeneuve trudges off after being forced to retire at the Canadian Grand Prix
Villeneuve was forced to retire again in Canada

"This is not positive for the team. I don't have a bad relationship with Richards but I don't know why he keeps coming back with this story. A contract is a contract."

Villeneuve, who won the title with Williams in 1997, joined BAR when the team was set up by his friend and mentor Craig Pollock.

But the Monaco-based racer has been unable to turn the Brackley-based outfit into a winning team and they are the only team yet to score a point this season .

Villeneuve was upset when Pollock, now his manager again, was replaced by Richards before the launch of the 2002 car last December.

But he insists that he will see out his contract knowing that there are unlikely to be any openings at a top team in 2003.

"I expect to be with the team next year," he added. "There is no use in signing for a team which is finishing sixth.

"If I move it would be to go with a winning team like Ferrari or Williams but there are no openings so there is no decision to take."

Villeneuve again found himself in the middle of the pack as he finished 15th fastest in first practice for Sunday's race.

In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

News and reaction

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
See also:

05 Jun 02 | Formula One
04 Jun 02 | Formula One
22 May 02 | Formula One
28 Apr 02 | Formula One
18 Apr 02 | Formula One
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