BAR confirms Button deal

British American Racing has confirmed that Jenson Button will drive for the team in 2003 at a press conference in London this afternoon (Monday)

BAR confirms Button deal

BAR have reached a four-year agreement with Button, which cuts his ties to Williams who had held a long-term contract on his services. The terms are for an initial two years, after which the team will have options for a further two years.

"I'm thrilled to be joining BAR," said Button. "The past few weeks have been very exciting and I've been flattered by the enormous attention I've received. I've had a whole range of opportunities open to me but after careful consideration of what would be best for my future, BAR provided me with an excellent opportunity to progress and ultimately, I hope, to achieve my ambition to be World Champion.

"David Richards has talked me through the long-term strategy for the team in great detail and I have been very impressed with the strength of the partnership with Honda. I have no doubt that, together, we can all look forward to some very exciting times ahead."

Commenting on today's announcement, team principal David Richards said: "I'm delighted to welcome Jenson to BAR. He has an extraordinary talent which now needs to be nurtured in the right environment in order for it to flourish.

"Over the past seven months the management team have set out a long-term plan which is designed to deliver success to BAR and our partners. This won't happen overnight and we have realistic expectations for the next two seasons. In the current Formula 1 climate, we are fortunate to have the stability of long-term funding and a strong, developing relationship with Honda. Our agreement with Jenson will enable us to carry that stability through to our driver line-up and, as we move forward, I have every confidence that he will play a pivotal role in gelling the team together."

The announcement came two days after Renault revealed at the French Grand Prix that its test driver Fernando Alonso will take over the Briton's drive next year, pushing Button out of the team.

Button is expected to partner Jacques Villeneuve next year, with Olivier Panis making way for him, although no announcement has yet been made.

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