David Richards Q&A

One of the many stories to come out of the Japanese GP weekend was the incredible turnaround in fortunes of BAR. The week started amid some controversy after Jacques Villeneuve was dropped in favour of Takuma Sato, and then at the last minute the Canadian opted out to allow the local hero to take his seat ahead of time. If the plan was for Taku's lack of preparation to be exposed, it backfired, for his charge to sixth completed a great day for the team, while Jenson Button's fourth proved more than enough on its own to clinch a crucial fifth place in the constructors' championship for BAR. Adam Cooper spoke to team boss David Richards

David Richards Q&A

"I think more than that, I think it gives everyone the boost they need going into the winter. It's quite a long period with quite a lot of hard work to go before we arrive at Melbourne next year, and we need to tackle that in a positive frame of mind, knowing that we've got all the ingredients there to do the job. Sato particularly has given everyone confidence. We've got a great pair of young drivers who are not afraid of anybody, quite clearly. I know Honda are working extremely hard on the engine front, and Geoff Willis's next design is well on schedule. I think we can feel that if we keep up the progress we're making, well be there."

"Like any other. I think we've never gone to any race doing anything except looking for the best result we can get. I think we were obviously a little nervous after the problems we had in Indianapolis, and again losing an engine here on Friday with Jenson. I can't think of a more satisfying race I've ever been to."

"I don't honestly know the answer to that, but they've obviously been working extremely hard and put a lot of effort in."

"We obviously estimated where everyone else was. We didn't realise we were going the longest. We were out there for a couple of laps in the lead, first and second. The strategy worked well and everything fell into place."

"I don't take satisfaction in those sort of issues. You take your decisions and you stand by them, and it would appear that the decisions we've made recently have all been heading in the right direction. I'm never arrogant enough or presumptuous enough to believe this things before they happen, but it's very rewarding when they do."

"You have to face realities, in the situation you're in. There's no doubt there are other drivers out there who are exceedingly good. You also have to face up to the fact which drivers could I attract to the team, and which drivers could bring value to the team as well. There's no hiding the fact that I had discussions with Giancarlo Fisichella and Alex Wurz, and we looked at Anthony Davidson as well to see if he would match up to it. We came to the conclusion that two British drivers in the team wasn't appropriate anyway. When you look around and you look at where we are today, I think it's a very solid and sensible choice."

"At the end of the day they were very fair about it. They left it very much up to us to make the decision. Clearly it was in their interest to have a Japanese driver, to raise the profile in Japan. No doubt it will help their competitor [Toyota] as well."

"It didn't improve that or change that in the slightest."

"That goes back in the team now, it's part of the overall budget. We've got more money to spend on the engineering side next year, quite clearly. We've got a very clear plan now and Geoff Willis is very happy with he proposals we've put to him and the availability of funds he's got for next year."

"There's a lot of loyalty to Jacques from sponsors, from Lucky Strike, and within the team as well. His commitment to the team was in his favour."

"These things are never straight forward. It's been a fairly fraught time for me over the last few weeks with lots of things going on, but once you've made the decision then you put these things behind you."

"Jacques and Craig knew this was not a forgone conclusion, far from it. We had to be convinced from the test programme that we were going to get someone who could do the job. We waited until after the Mugello test."

"Craig and I exchanged correspondence on an indicative proposal. Clearly when you're discussing these things you go through a series of discussions. It was more a case of this is where I'm coming from, this is what I'm going to put on the table, is that acceptable to you before I go back and sit down and discuss it. It wasn't a frivolous bit of negotiation, it was a sensible discussion back and forwards of what the offers were."

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