Jacques Villeneuve Q&A: The ex-World Champion on the big talking points for 2014
1997 title winner on Alonso vs Raikkonen and double points
By Sky Sports Online. Last Updated: 13/02/14 4:25pm
On the day 11-times grand prix winner Jacques Villeneuve signed up for the new World Rallycross Championship, the famously outspoken Canadian chatted to Sky Sports News about some of the biggest talking points heading into the 2014 F1 season.
Starting with Sebastian Vettel, if his Red Bull car proves to be significantly less competitive in 2014 how do you think he is going to do in the new season?
Jacques Villeneuve: "We don't know how competitive it is, they just can't do laps. So that's worse than not being competitive. They really need to fix it because if not they won't even be able to finish qualifying, for example.
"So they need to work on that car and once they get driving we will really know how competitive they are or not."
What about Ferrari? Can Kimi Raikkonen outscore Fernando Alonso?
JV: "It is possible because last year Alonso wasn't the golden boy of Ferrari anymore, the energy wasn't good anymore. They were all fighting internally and that's why they put Kimi in there.
"But if we remember a few years ago it ended in tears with Kimi as well, so who knows what will happen. It's a very difficult team to be part of. It's very political, there are a lot of demands and when things don't go right they become very difficult to bear.
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"But with the new rules, where basically the drivers won't have to drive on the edge the whole time, it won't be too physical, it could suit Kimi."
Do you think the drivers will radically have to adapt their styles with the new powertrains and fuel limitations?
JV: "They will probably have to adapt their style but the issue with fuel limitation is the fuel economy won't be done by the driver, it will all be done by software, and at some point of the straight the engine will start cutting and giving less power. So the driver has very little to do with it."
A lot of the headlines building up to the season having been about the double points in Abu Dhabi. Do you think this is a good idea?
JV: "I think it's a terrible idea. It's showing that Formula 1 right now there's no way to invent anymore to try and create some interest. It's overly artificial, just the way the rules are in general with the DRS and everything.
"But at least that one with the points is the same for everyone. Everyone knows before the start of the season that at the end of the season there will be a double-point race. I'm not sure what the purpose is apart from keeping the Abu Dhabi organisers, who spend millions to have a race, trying to keep the interest until their own race."
Villeneuve during his title-winning year
What do you think of the sound of the new turbo engines?
JV: "They don't sound as beefy or aggressive. Ultimately all the fans want to see is good racing. Good, exciting, fun racing."
Why have you been attracted to the World Rallycross Championship?
JV: "First of all it's exciting - and challenging. I've seen a few images and it's rough and tough, it's fast and a lot of horsepower. It's become a World Championship with the FIA tag, there's a race in Canada and so there's a lot of things going for it. I was keen to get back in a full championship as well."
Michael Schumacher was your great rival when you won your world title in 1997, how has his accident and situation affected you?
JV: "I was really shocked. The effect is more on his family, that's where it is really, really hard because they are waiting and they have no idea what will happen. That's a terrible position to be in.
"It can happen to any of us, in any situation. We all live on the edge and Michael certainly did. That's how he won his championships. He went motorbike racing. He needed that adrenaline to kick in and he needed to always overcome himself basically."
Schumacher and Villeneuve on Sky F1 in 2012
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