BAR: Villeneuve Will Race in Japan

BAR have no plans to replace Canadian Jacques Villeneuve with test driver Takuma Sato at the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix, the Formula One team said on Monday.

BAR: Villeneuve Will Race in Japan

BAR have no plans to replace Canadian Jacques Villeneuve with test driver Takuma Sato at the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix, the Formula One team said on Monday.

"As far as we are concerned, Jacques will be racing in Japan," a team spokeswoman said.

"As for next year, I don't think anything will be announced until the end of the season. David Richards has the benefit of time and he believes the best course of action is to see how the driver market works out for the moment."

Sato was earlier quoted in a British newspaper as saying he expected to replace the former World Champion at Suzuka.

"I know talks are continuing between Jacques and BAR and my understanding is that he won't be racing in the final Grand Prix of the season. If he doesn't, then I'll take his place," he was quoted as saying.

However BAR and Sato himself denied making the comment at a motorsport event in Scotland.

"I don't understand why the press make these things up," said Sato. "I imagine that there is a lot of enthusiasm from people but I have never said that I will be racing there. As far as I am concerned, the team already has two race drivers and nothing has changed that"

Suzuka hosts the final race on October 12 and Sato came fifth there last year for Jordan in front of his home crowd. Villeneuve, the 1997 World Champion with Williams, said last week that Honda were pushing for Sato to replace him at BAR next season.

The son of late Ferrari great Gilles Villeneuve told reporters at the Italian Grand Prix that he was not aware of any plans to replace him at Suzuka however.

"It's not in the plans, at least...not that I'm aware of, but nothing would surprise me," he said at Monza.

The Canadian, one of the best paid drivers in Formula One, has no contract for next year and said last week that so far there was "no inkling of an offer coming from anywhere".

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