Feb.18 (GMM) Charles Leclerc has the ability to create a “mess” at Ferrari this year.
That is the claim of outspoken 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, referring to young Monaco-born driver Leclerc’s highly anticipated move to be Sebastian Vettel’s teammate.
But in terms of the team hierarchy between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, Villeneuve thinks it will be business as usual in 2019.
“I do not see big changes. The engines are the same. There are some changes to the aerodynamics but I don’t think they are big enough to make a difference,” Villeneuve told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
The “big change”, he said, is the arrival of Leclerc at Ferrari.
“We will have to see what happens,” said Villeneuve. “If he were to start immediately strong, it could create an involuntary mess with Vettel. Just like with Ricciardo a few years ago.”
He is referring to Red Bull in 2014, where despite his four consecutive titles, Vettel was beaten by team newcomer Ricciardo.
“He (Ricciardo) didn’t arrive to make a mess,” Villeneuve said. “In theory, Vettel was the favourite but things can sometimes turn against you on the psychological level and you don’t know why.”
So the Canadian thinks Vettel’s only strategy must be to be “strong all season” this time around.
“A lot will depend on the comparison with Leclerc,” said Villeneuve. “He knows that if things do not go well, the future at Ferrari will no longer be his but Leclerc’s. The pressure is all on him.
“Seb has everything to lose, Charles nothing.”
As for reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, Villeneuve thinks he could win a sixth drivers’ title in 2019 “If he does not fall asleep”.
“Last year, from Germany onwards he was always awake and did nothing wrong, but it’s true that his teammate was not there,” he said, referring to Valtteri Bottas.
10/05/2019 Leclerc admits reputation ‘encouraging’ May 10 (GMM) Jacques Villeneuve says Charles Leclerc is not criticised as much as his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel. 21-year-old Leclerc moved from Sauber to Ferrari for 2019 and so […]
08/05/2015 Ricciardo cool on struggling Kvyat’s contribution May 8 (GMM) In the space of four races, Daniil Kvyat has gone from rising sensation to arguable liability. Outspoken 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks Red Bull is now paying […]
01/04/2019 ‘Same Vettel as last year’ – Rosberg Apr.1 (GMM) Huge pressure is back on the shoulders of Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari granted the German full number 1 status for 2019, but it was new teammate Charles Leclerc setting the pace […]
16/04/2019 Nothing fundamentally wrong with car – Vettel Apr.16 (GMM) Just three races into yet another promising season for Ferrari, the Italian press has declared that the great Maranello team is once again in crisis. In China, most had […]
05/11/2018 Ocon tips Leclerc to be 2019 title charger Nov.5 (GMM) Charles Leclerc could be in the running to be world champion in 2019. That is the view of another highly rated young F1 driver, Esteban Ocon. While Ocon looks set to sit […]
01/07/2018 Ferrari seat ‘too early’ for Leclerc – Villeneuve Jul.1 (GMM) Jacques Villeneuve thinks Ferrari is promoting Charles Leclerc too soon. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that the Maranello team has signed up the 20-year-old Sauber driver […]
23/03/2017 Mercedes ‘interested’ in Vettel – Marko Mar.23 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel will be on Mercedes' list when the great German team comes to thinking about the 2017 driver lineup. That is the view of Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko, who […]
15/04/2019 Ferrari should make Leclerc ‘captain’ – press Apr.15 (GMM) Ferrari failed to put its once-promising 2019 hopes back on track in China. The Italian team looked on track to take on Mercedes this year, but in Australia, Bahrain and now […]
01/09/2016 Vettel not committing whole career to Ferrari Sep.1 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel is relieved Monza looks to be back on track with a new three-year F1 race deal. "I could never imagine F1 without Monza," he told Italy's Corriere della Sera […]