Motor racing: Villeneuve brake on future

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The Independent Online
JACQUES VILLENEUVE is ready to keep Frank Williams and the rest of Formula One guessing over whether he will drive for his team next season.

Williams wants a decision earlier than usual - and before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next month - amid continuing speculation over Villeneuve's future.

The 27-year-old has been linked to the British American Racing set-up led by his mentor and former manager Craig Pollock, which will make its official debut next year after buying out the Tyrrell team.

However, Villeneuve insisted yesterday as he began preparations for his home grand prix in Canada on Sunday that he cannot think about the 1999 campaign until he resolves the problems that have frustrated him this season.

"It has not even crossed my mind where I will be driving next year," said the world champion, who has been linked with Ferrari if Michael Schumacher moves to McLaren.

"Everybody is concentrating so hard on getting this season going in the right direction there have not been any discussions on next year."

The Williams team do want a decision quickly, with the technical director, Patrick Head, saying: "We need to know soon whether Jacques is interested in driving for us or someone else next year."

Villeneuve, however, will want assurances that the car will be more competitive next season. He has scored just eight points in the opening six races, 22 fewer than at the same stage last season.