Jacques Villeneuve disappointed after Vanwall replacement for Le Mans

Jacques Villeneuve disappointed after Vanwall replacement for Le Mans

Jacques Villeneuve has expressed his “deep disappointment” in the decision to replace him in the Vanwall Racing lineup.

Jacques Villeneuve has stated that he is “deeply disappointed” to be replaced by another driver for the upcoming Le Mans 24 Hours in June. He claims he only found out about the change in lineup through the team’s release to the general public.

The 1997 Formula 1 World Champion joined Vanwall this season to drive their new Hypercar entry in an effort to add a victory in the World Endurance Championship specifically Le Mans to his F1 title and Indy 500 triumph, which he had already won at the Brickyard in 1995.

However, after learning that Tristan Vautier will be taking his Vanwall seat behind the wheel at the Circuit de la Sarthe in June, the Canadian has opted to withdraw from the World Endurance Championship for the entirety of this season. Vanwall has already withdrew from two of the World Endurance Championship’s first three events this year.

Despite the fact that Villeneuve insisted he would have been able to juggle the demands of the race and a significant life event after the birth of his daughter, the team apparently made the choice to replace him at Le Mans due to the lack of mileage in their car this season and welcoming his newborn.

He believes his spot was “unjustly” taken away for the famed 24-hour race’s centennial running and will now concentrate on creating a “professionally fulfilling” schedule for the upcoming season.

“I am deeply disappointed to have learned of my replacement for the upcoming Le Mans 24 Hours, through a public announcement released by the Vanwall Racing Team ByKolles on May 25th, 2023,” Villeneuve expressed his displeasure in a statement.

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“To date, I have not received any official communication from the team, which is even more surprising given that I am still under contract to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

“The timing of the release strangely coincided with my impending arrival at the hospital for the birth of our baby daughter, which had been planned for May 26th.

“ByKolles was well aware of this personal family event, rendering me unable to respond or address this sudden announcement.

“As a racing family, we have always successfully balanced our personal lives with our professional careers, with racing always holding a prominent place,” the 52-year old added. “In fact, my preparation for the Le Mans 24 Hours event was meticulous and well-organised.

“Considerable time and effort were dedicated to achieving peak physical and mental readiness for this extraordinary challenge that I was really looking forward to.

“Following victories in the Indy 500, IndyCar and the F1 Championship, the Le Mans 24 Hours holds special significance for me.

“Consequently, I am deeply disheartened that the opportunity to participate has been unjustly and arbitrarily denied.

“Under these circumstances, I have made the decision to abstain from participating in the remainder of the WEC season with ByKolles.

“Instead, I will redirect my focus and energies towards preparing for a more successful and professionally fulfilling 2024 racing season.”

Villeneuve raced for the team in the first three FIA World Endurance Championship races this year at Sebring, Portimao, and Spa. He was somewhat off the pace at all three, though, and crashed at Portimao and Spa, the latter as a result of a collision with a GTE-Am Ferrari and the former as a result of a brake problem.

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