Gascoyne clarifies Button remarks

Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne has jumped to the defence of former driver Jenson Button in a bid to clear up confusion over recent comments about the BAR-bound ace

Gascoyne clarifies Button remarks

Gascoyne, speaking exclusively to Autosport.com, claims that his widely reported quotes that Button did not have the makings of one of the sport's greats were taken out of context and do not tell the true story of his feelings.

"Jenson did a good job for us this year, especially in the first half of the year, and he was unlucky not to score our only podium," said Gascoyne.

"We gave him a difficult car in 2001, and he found it hard, but we stuck by him and it was very pleasing for us to see what he did last winter when he really knuckled down and tested well.

"But ultimately for 2003 we had to make a decision on who was the best driver and our decision was Fernando Alonso, because we believe he has a real spark. But there is no doubt Jenson deserves his place in F1, and I, along with everyone at Renault, wish him well."

While Gascoyne admits that he doubts Button has the talent to be one of the sport's true 'greats' - alongside the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher - he claims there is a chance he could be proved wrong.

"If someone asks you if he can be one of the greats then you have to ask if he is a Senna or a Schumacher. I don't think he is that, but he is a star already and he has got a bright future.

"He's got a hard task against Jacques Villeneuve next season, but if he out-performs him then he will have done a great job. But we had to make a decision - and maybe that will proved to be the wrong one."

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