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  Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Villeneuve rejects Cart return
Jacques Villeneuve in his BAR-Honda at the Hungarian Grand Prix
Villeneuve's team want to save money on his salary
Jacques Villeneuve has turned down a lucrative offer to return to the Cart series next year before going back to Formula One in 2004.

The 1997 world champion was offered the chance to race for the Player's team in 2003 before returning to F1 with his current team, British American Racing, in 2004-5.

But Cart team owner Gerald Forsythe has told the Journal de Montreal newspaper that the deal has foundered.

He said the financial demands of Villeneuve and his manager Craig Pollock were too high, even though they were offered $19m (12.4m) for next season.


I'm not sure he will receive the same kind of offer from an F1 team at the end of his contract in 2003
Gerald Forsythe
Cart team owner

"We would have loved to have been able to count on the services of someone like Jacques Villeneuve for a year," Player's team owner Gerald Forsythe told Le Journal.

"It would have been very good for Player's and for the Cart series. Unfortunately, Pollock asked for even more money."

Forsythe was not specific about the total value of the deal, but the newspaper said it was worth 30m over three years.

Forsythe said Villeneuve, who was Cart champion in 1995 with a Player's-sponsored car, will earn about $19m next year with BAR.

Under the deal, he would have been paid that plus an unspecified figure for another two years with BAR.

His existing deal with BAR runs out at the end of next season.

Jacques Villeneuve on his way to winning the Cart title in 1995
Villeneuve was Cart champion in 1995

"Their demands were too high," said Forsythe. "I'm not sure he will receive the same kind of offer from an F1 team at the end of his contract in 2003."

The deal has been pushed by BAR boss David Richards, who wants to spend Villeneuve's salary on developing the team's car next year.

Under the deal, BAR would have paid only $5m of Villeneuve's 2003 salary, with the rest picked up by Player's and the Cart organisation.

Cart is trying to increase public interest in its championship, which has slipped in popularity in recent years.

Pollock told BBC Sport Online earlier this month that Villeneuve would risk ruining his career if he returned to Cart, and that it would only be worthwhile for a vast salary.

Villeneuve's rejection of the deal leaves Player's free to re-sign their Canadian drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier for next season.

The team also want to sign up Canadian Paul Tracy for Player's last season in Cart before tobacco advertising restrictions will end their sponsorship.

It also means that Frenchman Olivier Panis is looking for a drive in 2003 - BAR have already signed up Jenson Button for next season.

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F1 2002
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