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Villeneuve: a problem Richards must solve 04 Mar 2003

Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) BAR.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2003

David Richards knows that one of the problems he has to solve at BAR Honda this year is lead driver Jacques Villeneuve. Neither makes a secret of the disagreements they have had since Richards took control from Villeneuve's manager, Craig Pollock, in December 2001. Richards is openly concerned about the former champion's $18m fee, arguing that the money could better be invested creating a faster car.

"The problem is not solvable," Richards concedes. "Individuals have to realise their responsibilities to the team and to the people around them. They cannot just be individuals. There are some people with extraordinary talent who are irreplaceable - but there are not many of them." It remains to be seen whether the French-Canadian is one of them.

"I have a lot of time for Jacques," Richards says. "But I won't even waste my time denying there are things that must be resolved. I think he is one of the great iconic figures in F1 today because of the way he is prepared to stand up and have a view. That is laudable. But I disagree completely with his views that he is just one individual. That is where Michael Schumacher stands out above everyone else in the way he works with and motivates the team."