Villeneuve slams unpredictable races and new crop of drivers


Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has admitted his unease with F1 2012 style and some of the current crop of drivers.

The French Canadian, who has been drafted in by Sky Sports F1 as part of its team for this week's race in Montreal is known for saying exactly what he's thinking, a rarity in the sport.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's race, Villeneuve, who won 11 Grands Prix from 164 starts and took the title in one of the most infamous races in the history of the sport, admitted that this year's racing has left him somewhat underwhelmed.

"I am not a huge fan right now," he told reporters at the circuit named in honour of his legendary father. "It is too unpredictable on the tyre front. There is very little the drivers can do, the tyres just suddenly disappear and that doesn't seem to be to the level that F1 should be at. It should be more gradual.

"It depends what you actually want to watch when you watch F1 at home," he continued. "It is always fun to see an underdog beat the establishment but it is something that happens once in a while. Now it seems to be almost a constant. Teams and drivers that may be mediocre or average will end up running at the front because suddenly it turns around and there is nothing that the good teams or drivers can do. It is not logical, the best should win."

The former Williams, BAR, Renault, Sauber and BMW driver then turned his attention to some of the drivers currently populating the F1 grid. While he, despite his famous name, served a proper apprenticeship en route to F1, an apprenticeship that included F3 in Italy and Japan, Toyota Atlantic and Indy Car - he won the title in 1995 a season in which he also won the Indianapolis 500 - Villeneuve feels that many of today's younger drivers have it easy and consequently don't take the sport seriously.

"They all think it's a video game and it's not," he said. "It is very, very dangerous and it's tough.

"When you see Bruno Senna in Barcelona, he is not in the same race," he added, referring to an incident that involved his former nemesis Michael Schumacher, "he is going appallingly slow and he is blocking guys who are fighting for the points. That is just not intelligent driving for starters. But secondly, when you do a little twitch down the straight that is just wrong.

"There is something in the general mentality that has just appeared," he continued. "In the years when F1 was dangerous, 20 or 30 years ago, the risk of dying was very high so the drivers didn't do that to each other. There was that extra respect, there was common sense and also there was a bunch of drivers who worked hard to get into racing.

"They weren't racers at 12 years old being told all their life and the financing there in place for them to race, they had to sweat for it, they weren't little daddy's boys like you have now," added the man who famously referred to his new teammate (Jenson button) as a "boy band". "So they are driving F1 and they are still children, they are still babies and they are kept like that."

Clearly Jacques is as testy as ever, he should be on very good form this weekend.

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Published: 07/06/2012
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