One might think that the verbal jousting between F1 team-mates Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button would disrupt BAR, but team boss David Richards welcomes the intense rivalry.

One might think that the verbal jousting between F1 team-mates Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button would disrupt BAR, but team boss David Richards welcomes the intense rivalry.

The pair of drivers have already been trading jibes during the off season and Richards wants his drivers to push each other just as hard on track. Villeneuve and Button finished the Australian Grand Prix just outside the points in ninth and tenth, which was disappointing for BAR, but Richards was pleased with the pair's performance.

CARtoday.com reported last week that the young Briton criticised his team-mate, the 1997 world champion, after the pair pitted on the same lap during the Australian Grand Prix. Button was forced to queue behind Villeneuve in the pits and lost time.

I was very happy with Jenson's performance in the race," Richards told the . "He drove very sensibly and had the better of Jacques, so he has to be encouraged by that. Jacques is digging deep and he has to. He is now aware of Jenson's capability. But then that's what we want. We need our drivers pushing and getting the best out of each other."

It's been suggested that Villeneuve deliberately pitted on the lap that Button was due to intimidate his team-mate, but Richards insists that the Canadian was having radio problems.

"Jenson was very unhappy and understandably so," he said. "He would have finished much higher than he did had he not lost so much time in the pits. But Jacques did genuinely have a problem with his radio. He lost his earpiece and although we could hear him he couldn't hear us. Then his engineer didn't put out his pit board when he should have done."

"So Jacques came in on Jenson's lap and by then he was down to his very last dregs. It was all very unfortunate but there was nothing Machiavellian about it. We've talked about it within the team but it's often not best to tackle such an issue in detail on the spot when perhaps you don't have all the information and emotions are running high," Richards added.

Original article from Car