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Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report
Villeneuve Ponders Future with Hint to Williams

Sunday May 21st, 2000

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve was surrounded by speculation about his future on Sunday after another frustrating race at the Nuerburgring.

The 29-year-old Canadian, unsettled by a run of poor results with the BAR team since he left Williams at the end of 1998, made it clear that he had not yet decided whether to stay or seek another team for next season.

The driver also contemplated the possibility of an eventual return to Williams, who currently have German Ralf Schumacher and British newcomer Jenson Button.

"That is not likely to happen for a while, but you can never tell," he said.

"I am not sure what will happen yet. It would be great for me if it all worked out at BAR, but if it doesn't then I will have to look at other places."

A British Sunday newspaper fuelled the flames by quoting Villeneuve as saying he would welcome a return to Williams, where Button is under pressure.

"I would love to drive for Williams again -- anyone would. Look at the car they have got this year. It's a superb design. Their chief designer Patrick Head has done a great job there," said Villeneuve.

"I had a great time when I was with Williams. We won races together and we won a championship and that is the reason I go racing -- to win."

Villeneuve dismissed suggestions that his relationship with Head was not good enough for him to contemplate a return. "I have respect for Patrick," he said. "He really knows his stuff."

The Canadian made a great start in Sunday's race and jumped from ninth to fifth on the opening lap. After an early pit-stop to switch to wet tyres in the rain, he fought back to seventh before being called in again.

"I don't know what happened," he said. "I was coming in for my second pit stop and on my in lap I was told to bring the car in and just switch off...I guess there was a problem which showed up on the telemetry."

"It was a really disappointing result because once again we were on course for a points finish."

In BAR's debut season in 1999, Villeneuve went without a point. This year he has finished fourth and fifth but has failed to finish the last two races.

"A driver's career is not that long and you have to make the most of it," he told a news conference here before qualifying. "Money is important, but so is winning."

BAR managing director Craig Pollock said in March that McLaren, Arrows and Renault-owned Benetton were interested in Villeneuve.

His words prompted Mercedes boss Norbert Haug to deny publicly any interest from McLaren.

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