Villeneuve's blunt advice to parents of kids who want to race

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Jacques Villeneuve has a clear recommendation for the parents of those aspiring young drivers who dream of embarking on a career in motorsport.

The 1997 world champion launched on Tuesday a young driver programme called "Feed Racing" destined to identify and support burgeoning young talent.

The scheme, promoted by Villeneuve along with friend and associate Patrick Lemarié, seeks to emulate the success of the former famous 'Volant Elf' programme that helped so many French drivers move up the ladder and reach Formula 1 back in the 80s and 90s.

"I have the impression today that the financial contribution is more important than talent," Villeneuve explained, speaking to Canada's Le Journal de Montreal.

"It's a bit unrealistic for a kid to hope for a career as a driver.

"I've been in the paddocks for a number of years now and I see how it's going and I've really taken notice, perhaps because I have kids too."

While Villeneuve is hoping to help young talent along its way, the former F1 driver has a surprising response to parents' questions about how to get their children started.

"Often, parents come to me and ask 'What should I do to help my son?' and my first response now is 'Tell him to do something else'.

"It's an awful answer but I'm not able to lie," said the Canadian.

"Today, enabling a teenager to race is like giving him a Christmas present, with a very big tree. That's not what an education is about, and that aspect started to bother me."

Villeneuve et Lemarié's "Feed Racing" scheme is open to anyone from the age of 14 to 20, regardless of their experience, with a $17,000 sign-up fee.

Ninety-six participants will take part in an initiation at Magny Cours onboard Formula 4 machinery, with a four-stage elimination process leading to a final that will oppose five drivers.

The winner, who will be announced in November, will be awarded a fully funded season in the Italian F4 championship.

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