Villeneuve fed up, may leave BAR

Jacques Villeneuve likely wishes his race car had an ejection seat.

Villeneuve, 32, admitted to the London Evening Standard that he regrets remaining with the British American Racing team.

The native of Iberville, Que., who won the 1997 FIA world championship with Williams, was lured to the fledgling BAR team by close friend and mentor Craig Pollock.

But last December, Pollock was replaced as team principal by Dave Richards, who immediately claimed BAR was at least two years away from serious contention.

That, not to mention just two second-place finishes in 54 races, has Villeneuve pining for a return to Williams alongside fellow CART alumnus Juan Carlos Montoya.

"You live with your decisions," Villeneuve said. "Williams like young drivers who are not world champions and don't cost a lot of money.

"As for Montoya, the racing has become so boring that a little bit of excitement is viewed as a lot of excitement."

Certainly, BAR has created little excitement since its inception, despite the presence of Villeneuve, one of the more daring drivers on the Formula One circuit, and a supposedly refined entry in the BAR-Honda 004.

"There was a risk coming to BAR," Villeneuve said. "It didn't pay off and that's fine.

"I could have made different decisions which would have allowed me to fight for the championship ... I've learned a lot and I'm a better driver than I was.

"It wasn't Craig's fault that the car wasn't fast. Someone had to have their head chopped and he was team principal, so it's normal that he got chopped.

"The decision that is more difficult to accept is to have stayed with the team when I re-signed the contract because there had been two years of no result and there was obviously no reason for the team to get better. So that's the decision which is more difficult to cope with."

"BAR has definitely not turned out like I thought it would," Villeneuve continued. "I'm wiser now about how much time, effort and quality it takes to achieve a good result.

"I didn't think we would win in the first year, but I thought it would be good. I thought we would win in 2000.

"I trust people and believe them when they say that stuff. I accepted it until I saw it wasn't true, but I didn't believe anything those people said after that." True to form, BAR has posted less than impressive results this season.

Villeneuve finished a distant seventh in last Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix -- his best result of 2002.

Co-driver Oliver Panis has fared even worse, failing to finish any of his four starts.

"Yes, I hate being uncompetitive," Villeneuve said. "Nobody likes it.

"It is frustrating and it's very tiring. You have to push people to work harder, to make sure it gets better in the long-term.

"But the long-term is getting shorter and shorter. I'll see what happens in the next couple of months.

"I won't stick with it forever. There comes a point when enough is enough."

Villeneuve joined the F1 circuit in 1996 after winning the CART Championship, not to mention the Indianapolis 500, the year before.

Racing for Williams, he won seven of 17 races and the 1997 F1 Drivers Championship before shifting to BAR two years later.

Villeneuve wound up seventh overall the past two seasons and remains winless since September 1997.