Jacques Villeneuve has lived up to his reputation for being more than a little outspoken on matters F1 by suggesting that backmarker Manor-Marussia would be better off on the supporting bill rather than in the main event.

The Canadian, who won the world championship in 1997 before fading from the sport in a series of disappointing seasons with BAR and Sauber, now works as a television analyst but retains his singular views. Asked in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS what he thought of the country's latest addition to the F1 grid, Villeneuve suggested that Roberto Merhi was wasting his time trying to combine a grand prix career alongside a campaign in the Renault World Series.

"Merhi has little to do with that car that should not be in F1," the Canadian said, pointedly, as he criticised the resurrected Manor-Marussia team's place in the sport.

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"[With] a car that is five seconds off the best, so far, these teams are not worthy of F1. It is better to be in GP2 or World Series - and, there, maybe they could be ahead. This is an expensive sport and [teams] must be competitive."

Having scraped back onto the F1 grid in time for the 2015 season-opener in Australia, Manor has been edging closer to the pack thanks, in part, to the efforts of Merhi and fellow rookie Will Stevens, but Villeneuve feels that the team is being given no help by the current state of F1 - even though he believes that teams should be free to test and spend money freely in the name of development.

"F1 is an aspirational sport, where everyone wants to be, and it is expensive," he claimed, "Therein lies the appeal of F1. If, suddenly, Rolex watches were cheaper, they would not have the same value..."