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  Friday, 30 August, 2002, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Villeneuve denies Cart offer
Jacques Villeneuve in his BAR-Honda at the Hungarian Grand Prix
Villeneuve's team want to save money on his salary
Jacques Villeneuve has denied that he turned down a lucrative offer to return to the Cart series next year before going back to Formula One in 2004.

Cart team owner Gerald Forsythe told the Journal de Montreal newspaper this week that his attempt to attract Villeneuve back to Cart had foundered.

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, Forsythe said.


If you were offered $50m you would take it
Jacques Villeneuve

But at the Belgian Grand Prix Villeneuve said he had never been presented with any deal.

Villeneuve called the report "pure fantasy".

Forsythe had said Villeneuve and his manager Craig Pollock were offered $19m (12.4m) for next season.

"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 $50m (30m) over three years.


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

But Villeneuve said: "I'm not amused by the report. If you were offered $50m you would take it, (but) I have seen no offer."

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 proposed deal, he would have been paid that and committed to another two years at BAR.

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

"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.

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

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.

A source has told BBC Sport Online that the deal broke down because there was a $4m difference between what Pollock and Villeneuve wanted and what was on offer.

This, he said, was because Villeneuve did not want to commit himself to BAR beyond the end of next season.

Villeneuve left Williams to join BAR at the end of 1998, and has experienced nothing but uncompetitiveness and disappointment since.

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.

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