Villeneuve: should he stay or should he go?

The future of 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve lies with British American Racing, according to the team's engine supplier Honda

Villeneuve: should he stay or should he go?

Villeneuve has been tipped to move to recent Renault acquisition, Benetton for the 2001 season in a £23 million pound deal. However, BAR is insisting that the Canadian will stay where he is for the immediate future, according to Honda president Soichiro Tanaka.

"We are not participating in the negotiations," said Tanaka, "but according to what the team tell us, the chance of Jacques Villeneuve staying with BAR-Honda are very good."

It is obviously in Honda's best interest if Villeneuve does stay on with the Brackley outfit, since the number of top-line drivers prepared to move to the still-unproven BAR team to replace Villeneuve would not be high.

Villeneuve remains unsurprisingly non-committal about the subject and while a deal with Renault may already be in place, the Canadian will not want to make waves for friend, manager and team boss Craig Pollock, or the rest of the team.

"It leads the way to a lot of rumours," explained Villeneuve, "and sometimes it can be fun to read a lot of things. It doesn't help your work within the team, though, because everyone is a little bit stressed out. You can't make a decision until you have all the cards in your hand. You want to know what you're choosing from."

Both BAR and Honda will be keen to hold onto their star driver, but ultimately the decision will lie with Villeneuve. He will without doubt consider all his options carefully, for having spent two years in a mostly uncompetitive car with a huge budget behind it, the Canadian will not want to move to another team incapable of winning immediately.

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