Former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve has launched a scathing attack on modern F1 drivers, stating that some of them are 'like babies' and are treating the sport like 'it's a video game'.
Villeneuve, who is no stranger to speaking his mind, was commenting ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix
at the circuit that carries the name of his late father, who was killed in the Belgian Grand Prix
at Zolder 30 years ago.
Speaking to the Guardian
, Villeneuve said that drivers who competed at the same time as his father had more respect for their rivals than modern day racers because of the risks involved in the sport, whereas today's drivers didn't have the same respect for each other and for the dangers there are on track.
"There's something in the new product that's a little bit strange with what they think is respectful driving and what isn't and there seems to be very little common sense going on there on the race track," he said. "I think in the years when F1 was dangerous, 20 or 30 years ago, the risk of dying was very high so the drivers just 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, [with] 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 basically. So they are driving F1 and they are still children, they are still babies and they are kept like that."
Villeneuve added that drivers have become too complacent as far as safety is concerned, with the last fatal accident in F1 being the death of Ayrton Senna back in 1994.
"They seem to forget and then one day it will happen and there will be a bunch of new rules and that will be an overreaction," he said. "Everybody has fallen asleep on the fact that F1 is dangerous. They all think it's a video game and it's not It is very, very dangerous and it's tough."