Ex Champion Jacques explains F1’s biggest issues

The 47 year old ex-Formula One driver’s Champion of 1997 thinks that F1 today lacks ‘true grit’ when compared to his era of racing.

The often outspoken son of Ferrari driver Gille Villeneuve who was killed during a Grand Prix at Zolder in 1982, thinks the balance between danger and risk was a good ‘in-between’ when he raced in the 90’s and early 2000’s, whereas it’s simply too safe nowadays.

“My era was better because there was still some grit. It was still human. But it was safe enough that if you got in a car, you didn’t feel like you were going to kill yourself.

“It was a good in-between. And it was less politically correct, not like now when nobody says anything”

“And now most drivers are owned by teams, and the drivers get moved around like chess pieces. It’s more like a franchise, and I find that a little bit strange.

“And because of that, I think there is less talent out there. Established drivers are being moved aside for younger drivers.”

Villeneuve, the ‘rent a quote’ Canadian driver who’s never short of an opinion or two, does indeed have a point when it comes to drivers. How often do we see preferential treatment or placement of manufacturer junior driver, put into mid-field or back marker teams.

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Once myth Villeneuve does dispel is that of racing in the 90’s, indeed it’s not true when fans claim that the racing of the late 90’s and early 2000’s was better than today.

“The racing has never been as good as it is now, based on how close the grid is” confirms Villeneuve, although he concedes that “Overtaking is different”

“There used to be battles, but now it’s more of just a position swap. Drivers rely on opening up the rear wing (DRS), and pass someone like you do on the highway.

“There’s no battle. Fans don’t come back from a race and think, “Oh, that move was amazing.” You just don’t get those moments that you will remember for the rest of your life.”

“The sport is getting bigger and bigger. That’s not an issue. But what is lacking for the fans is that there aren’t as many heroes. It’s not a bunch of gladiators out there anymore.”

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