BAR boss backs Zonta for rest of season

BAR boss Craig Pollock has pledged to back Ricardo Zonta for the remaining five races of the 2000 Formula 1 World Championship

BAR boss backs Zonta for rest of season

BAR confirmed today (Wednesday) that Zonta will be replaced by McLaren test driver Olivier Panis next season - as reported on Autosport.com yesterday (see separate story) - but Pollock had previously looked at putting Panis into the car for the remainder of this season as well. That plan fell through when Mclaren confirmed that the Frenchman would be fulfilling his 2000 testing obligations.

Relations between Zonta, who has yet to score a point this year, and BAR team leader Jacques Villeneuve hit a low after the pair clashed on-track in the German Grand Prix, but Pollock has now publicly backed the beleagured Brazilian for the rest of the season.

"I want to thank Ricardo Zonta for his continuing efforts," said Pollock. "There are still five races left this season and he can be assured of our support in his efforts to achieve the best possible results. He is undoubtedly a talented young man and will always have a special place within the team as one of our original drivers. We certainly wish him well for the future."

Zonta is tipped to replace fellow Brazilian Pedro Diniz at Sauber, with a testing berth at McLaren a possibility if negotiations with the Swiss-based team fall through.

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