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  Friday, 19 July, 2002, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
BAR want to keep hold of Villeneuve
Jacques Villeneuve's salary is a bone of contention with his team boss
Villeneuve sees no reason to leave BAR for 2003
British American Racing team boss David Richards wants to sort out a long-term future for star driver Jacques Villeneuve.

Richards and Villeneuve have argued in public this summer about the driver's high salary for next season.

The Canadian is expected to earn around $20m from the final year of his contract with the Formula One team.


I would like to keep Jacques in the long term and I think he's also quite keen to stay in the long term as well
David Richards
BAR boss

And Richards is upset because that amounts to a quarter of BAR's budget for the season and hampers the team's potential to develop their car.

At the French Grand Prix on Friday, Richards said that Villeneuve's salary was "an ongoing discussion".

But he added: "My immediate priority is to maintain the relationship with Jacques and get his situation resolved fully for the long term.

"Jacques and I have had discussions about this and I think he's also quite keen to stay in the long term as well."

Villeneuve, the 1997 world champion, said on Thursday that he does not "see any reason for not being with BAR next year".

BAR are understood to have made an offer to Briton Jenson Button for 2003, but Richards refused to confirm or deny the rumours.

Jenson Button
Button is in the frame for a drive at BAR next season
"He's been a pal of my son's since they were sort of 12 years old, kart racing together, so I see Jenson quite regularly," said Richards.

"This is quite clearly not the environment where you disclose who you are talking to or who you are not talking to."

Of the team's second driver, Frenchman Olivier Panis, Richards said: "He's part of the whole discussion we're having with Jacques now."

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