Villeneuve unleashes on Ricciardo: ‘Why is he still in F1?’


F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve fired off a scathing criticism of Daniel Ricciardo, contesting the Aussie’s merits and his continued presence on the grid.

In a conversation with Sky F1 in the Montreal paddock on Friday, Villeneuve took aim at Ricciardo, whose results so far this season with Visa Cash App RB have left the Canadian, and many others, thoroughly unimpressed.

Since 2019, following his departure from Red Bull, Ricciardo’s successive stints with Renault, McLaren and now RB have been lacklustre at best, save for the 34-year-old’s win with team papaya at the Italian Grand Prix in 2021.

“Why is he still in F1,” Villeneuve questioned.

“We're hearing the same thing now for the last 4-5 years, ‘we have to make the car better for him', ‘poor him'.

“Sorry. It's been 5 years of that. No, you're in F1.

“Maybe you make that effort for a Lewis Hamilton, who's won multiple championships, you don't make that effort for a driver that can't cut it.

“If you can’t cut it, go home, there’s someone else to take your place. That’s how it’s always been in racing, it’s the pinnacle of the sport.

“There’s no reason to keep going and to keep finding excuses.

1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.

“You all talk about that first season or first two seasons, he was beating a Vettel that was burnt out, that was trying to invent things with the car to go win and just making a mess of his weekends.

“Then he was beating for half a season Verstappen when Verstappen was 18 years old, just starting, that was it, he stopped beating anyone after that.”

Villeneuve suggested that Ricciardo’s ‘image’ has been his saving grace, but the former Grand Prix driver says a marketing appeal alone cannot justify a driver’s presence in F1.

“I think his image has kept him in F1 more than his actual results.”

Ricciardo currently sits 14th in the Drivers’ championship, four spots behind his RB teammate Yuki Tsunoda, having scored five points thanks to his fourth-place finish in the sprint event in Miami.

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