Villeneuve: 'Vettel would try to eat Leclerc alive!'


Jacques Villeneuve reiterated his view that Ferrari would be making a big mistake by parting with Kimi Raikkonen and promoting the mercurial Charles Leclerc to the Scuderia.

The Italian outfit has yet to reveal the identity of the man that will be racing alongside Sebastian Vettel in 2019.

Reports from Italy earlier this week suggest Raikkonen will remain at Maranello for a sixth consecutive season, but last month it appeared Leclerc would be the chosen one thanks to his impressive performances with Sauber this year.

Regardless of the speculation, Villeneuve believes Ferrari should opt for a status quo, the Canadian explaining the rationale behind his view.

"Of course, look at the work he [Raikkonen] has been doing," Villeneuve told Tom Clarkson in Formula 1's latest 'Beyond the Grid' podcast.

"He's third in the championship, he's often quicker than Vettel, when he's not he's what, a tenth behind? He's paramount in the development of the car.

"The whole team works fantastically well now, put a young cub next to Vettel. What will Vettel do? He'll try to eat him alive.

"And either he will destroy the young cub, or it'll end in tears and the whole team will end up going slower within two years, so that's not constructive."

Villeneuve believes Leclerc needs the appropriate experience and baggage to deal with racing alongside a four-time world champion, something that shouldn't be Ferrari's responsibility but rather the duty of a midfield team.

"Charles is still making a few mistakes, it would be great for Leclerc, it would be amazing for him, but it would be two years of Ferrari preparing him," explains the 1997 world champion.

"Ferrari is like Mercedes, it's not a team to prepare drivers. It's a top team. Top teams, they buy and they pay the drivers as when they're at their best and when they want them.

"That's why you have junior teams to prepare them."

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