Jacques Villeneuve: ‘It’s not even racing’

Former champion Villeneuve speaks out about how DRS has ruined Formula 1 and defends Lewis Hamilton’s recent antics.

Hamilton may have a hot head but that’s exactly what Formula 1 should be about says Villeneuve [GALLO/GETTY]

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve is done with Formula One.

The 40-year-old Canadian who last drove for BMW-Sauber in 2006 but has been linked to several possible comeback drives since then, said on Monday that he now had eyes only for NASCAR.

This weekend, when British fans will flock to Silverstone for their home grand prix and the hope of seeing McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button challenging for victory, Villeneuve will focus on something else.

“I don’t watch the races any more. I’m done, for the first time ever,” he said at the Williams factory, where his former employers trumpeted a new engine deal with Renault – the company that powered the Canadian to his 1997 title triumph.

The big problem with Formula One, the bespectacled Canadian said, was overtaking. Not the lack of it but too much thanks to the DRS (drag reduction system or adjustable rear wing) which has introduced a new element this season.

DRS, no. Lewis, yes

Villeneuve, whose late father Gilles won the enduring affection of Ferrari fans both for his racing passion and his ability to beat faster cars by keeping them at bay for lap after lap, said DRS should never have been allowed.

“I really don’t care to see overtaking with DRS,” he said.

“I prefer to see Lewis going for it and sometimes it ends in tears but at least it’s fun. All the other overtaking with the DRS, I’m just falling asleep…useless, boring, it’s not even racing.”

“I don’t understand why that thing is on an F1 car right now,” said the Canadian.

“People now think ‘Oh, he’s going to overtake me. Why bother?’ And that’s it. No excitement. Nothing”

Villeneuve thinks DRS has ruined the sport

“People now think ‘Oh, he’s going to overtake me. Why bother?’ And that’s it. No excitement. Nothing.”

Villeneuve was defensive of Hamilton, who has repeatedly fallen foul of stewards this season after controversial collisions. 

“Lewis is racing very aggressively and he forgets to use his head once in a while so he ends up crashing into people. But that should not be stopped, it’s racing. That’s what you want to see: battles.”

“If every time someone tries to do that there’s a penalty, what’s the point? You need to let the drivers go for it and if they bang wheels, too bad. It’s fun, it’s a good show, the fans are up in the grandstands and they can scream and shout about it…that’s good, that’s what you want.”

Former Indy 500 winner Villeneuve has been competing most recently in the NASCAR nationwide series with Penske Racing and he enthused about the experience.

“It’s so much fun. It reminds me of why I got into racing in the first place,” he said.

“You get in the car and you are there to do your race and nothing will get in the way of that, not
regulations, nothing.”

“It’s amazing. It’s human against human, beast against beast. It’s great. You can muscle your way through, you can work around problems, I love it.”

Source: Reuters


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