Villeneuve in talks with Jaguar

Jaguar has entered into preliminary talks with 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, according to an exclusive report in this week's Autosport magazine

Villeneuve in talks with Jaguar

The French Canadian is understood to have met Jaguar bosses and told them that he is giving British American Racing one more season to metamorphose into Grand Prix winners next year, or he will turn his back on the team that was set up around him.

Jaguar Racing boss Bobby Rahal confirmed an initial approach had been made to Villeneuve, but insisted that their talks were concerning the 2003 season.

"An approach was made by Niki Lauda because he wanted to know exactly what Jacques' position was," said Rahal. "We had a 'What are you doing, what is your situation' chat, but that is it. Our drivers, Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa, are set for next year, so there's no seat for 2002."

Villeneuve has been tight-lipped on his plans in the long term, but is willing to give his full support to BAR at present, even though he recorded his fifth retirement of the year in the French Grand Prix at the weekend.

"There is not going to be a decision at the moment," said Villeneuve. "BAR have as good a chance as any to be competitive next year. And after all the hard work we have put in, it's probably not the right time to change."

"BAR and I are together for next year unless something happens that will force me to leave. You have to cover your back," he added.

His comments are understood to allude to team boss Craig Pollock's position in the team, which has often been under fire from within the Brackley squad.

For full details, see Autosport magazine (on sale Thursday, July 5).

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