BAR Considering Shoot-Out for Second Seat

BAR-Honda team principal David Richards has floated the idea of driver shoot-out for a seat with the team in 2004 after watching race driver Jenson Button's girlfriend Louise Griffiths on the BBC's Fame Academy programme.

BAR Considering Shoot-Out for Second Seat

BAR-Honda team principal David Richards has floated the idea of driver shoot-out for a seat with the team in 2004 after watching race driver Jenson Button's girlfriend Louise Griffiths on the BBC's Fame Academy programme.

Richards, who has Englishman Button contracted for the new season, claimed to be considering plans to take a number of drivers to a circuit at the end of the season to put them through their paces before finalising his 2004 line-up.

The shoot-out idea follows Griffiths' participation in the reality-television show Fame Academy, which sees pop wannabes go head-to-head in various activities for a music recording contract.

"Her involvement certainly intrigued the whole team and it is an interesting way of finding out who can perform," Richards said. "We're talking about something more technical and detailed but it is an intriguing idea.

"My job is to find the fastest and best driver for BAR-Honda. It is not just a gimmick. There are a range of options open to us and it is an exciting idea if we can make it work."

British newspapers speculated that current driver Jacques Villeneuve will face competition from BAR's test driver Takuma Sato, American Townsend Bell and Swede Bjorn Wirdheim.

Villeneuve, who won the title in 1997 with Williams, played down his chances of staying in Formula One at the weekend and Richards said the Canadian needs to change his attitude if he is to be offered a new deal.

"We have all told him it will take significant changes to convince us he is the driver we need," Richards said. "We are not trying to sanitise the guy but he has to face up to the responsibilities of being a lead driver in a top F1 team."

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