Jacques Villeneuve slams Daniel Ricciardo questioning his presence in F1

Jacques Villeneuve slams Daniel Ricciardo questioning his presence in F1

Jacques Villeneuve has slammed Daniel Ricciardo, questioning his continued presence in Formula 1.

Daniel Ricciardo’s continued presence on the grid has drawn criticism from 1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, who believes that his “image” has helped him keep his spot as he does not understand his excuses and should hand over his RB seat to someone else and just “go home”.

Ricciardo, who made his F1 return with Red Bull’s junior squad – Visa Cash App RB – last season, expressed his desire to wrap up his career with the senior team, where he won seven Grands Prix between 2014 and 2018.

The 34-year old was hoping to unseat Sergio Perez from the second Red Bull seat alongside Max Verstappen for 2025 F1. However, his poor performance in the first quarter of the season forced the team to snub him and hand Perez a two-year contract extension.

However, Red Bull boss Christian Horner remains firm in supporting Ricciardo, therefore its more likely he will remain at the Faenza-based team.

But Villeneuve has blasted Ricciardo heavily for his unimpressive performances this season and questioned the excuses provided to defend his struggles.

“Why’s he still in F1? Why?” said Villeneuve, who is commentating for Sky Sports at the Canadian Grand Prix. “We are hearing the same thing now for the last four or five years. ‘We have to make the car better for him’. Poor him!

“Sorry, it’s been five years of that. No, you are in F1. Maybe you make that effort for Lewis Hamilton who has 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.”

Despite winning seven races throughout his five seasons with Red Bull, Ricciardo’s  switch to Renault and then McLaren only secured one victory with the latter at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

After being let go by Woking two years into his three-year contract, he joined Red Bull as a reserve driver and was later promoted to take Nyck de Vries’ seat halfway through the 2023 campaign. However, Villeneuve isn’t even impressed with Ricciardo’s earlier Formula 1 performance.

“You all talk about that first season or first two seasons,” said the 53-year-old. “He was beating a [Sebastian] 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 [Max] Verstappen when Verstappen was 18 years old, just starting. Then that was it, he stopped beating anyone after that.”

Villeneuve has maintained that Ricciardo’s popular status being appealing to sponsors has prevented him from losing his spot rather than his on-track performances.

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

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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