Jacques Villeneuve: It was a real shame I didn’t win the Canadian GP; Lawrence Stroll won’t give up on son Lance but Aston Martin are going backwards; I expect Verstappen reaction in Montreal but the track suits Ferrari

Avatar Gary Stein
June 6, 2024

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend, former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve previews his home race in Montreal. 

Speaking to Best Payout Online Slots Villeneuve opens up on his regret of never winning the Canadian Grand Prix and why it’s one of the great races that should be kept on the F1 calendar. 

The 53-year-old also discusses Aston Martin’s struggles and why part-owner Lawrence Stroll won’t give up on his son, Lance, despite doubts over his seat in the team.

It was a real shame I didn’t win the Canadian GP, it would have been special to have won it

JV: “In 1996, I missed pole by a sniff and that spoiled the race for me. I went for the opposite strategy to Damon and it all depended on getting a better start than Damon. I didn’t and that was it. It was a close call and I came second.

In 1997, I messed up. We were easily quicker than [Michael] Schumacher and on lap 2, I wasn’t even pushing. I was catching him easily and thinking, ‘Oh Wow!’

Somehow at the last chicane he went on the curb, put a bit of dirt on the track just when I got there and I went a little sideways. I wasn’t stressed, my heart rate was low. That was what made it all the more frustrating. I got caught out. We were miles quicker. I really wasn’t proud of that one. I beat myself up. Then you have to do the walk of shame! You keep your helmet on for a while longer!

Not winning in Montreal, it’s not a source of sorrow as much for my family. More the fact it was my home race in front of my home crowd. It would have been special to have won it.”

The Canadian GP is up there with Monaco and should be kept on the F1 calendar

JV: “It is one of the great races that should be kept on the calendar like Monaco. It is a special one. It is exciting, it is fun, there’s a great atmosphere and everyone parties. It is the beginning of summer in Quebec. It is almost downtown. It is really cool and a great track for racing.

It is a magnificent spectacle. When I was racing, I had a lot of friends in IndyCar and if they could go to the Montreal weekend they would just to see how impressive it all was compared with IndyCar.”

DRS should be banned in qualifying in Montreal – the circuit isn’t as complex now

JV: “Since DRS, it has changed. With DRS you don’t run low downforce ever. You don’t need to make a compromise anymore between high and low downforce because you will have DRS to be quick in qualifying. Montreal runs with high downforce now. It is not complex. The amount of grip they have  even in the low speed over the kerbs is high now.

When it wasn’t it got a bit tricky. Maybe DRS should be banned in qualifying. Then they would be obliged to make some sacrifices, weighing up whether to be quick in the corners or quick down the straight. Now they don’t have to.

DRS was a band aid plaster that should never have happened. All new fans are used to maybe 50 overtakes in a race but they are not good ones. It is more like overtaking on the highway. It is not memorable, it’s just easy. We get excited when we see an overtaking maneuver when it is not in the DRS zone like in Bahrain last year when Alonso overtook Lewis. When we see some proper race-craft we get genuinely excited. They can’t get rid of it now but it should never have been there in the first place.”

Lawrence Stroll won’t give up on his son Lance but Aston Martin are going backwards

JV: “A billionaire father can stick with his son for as long as he likes! That was the only reason for getting into F1. Lawrence is not one to admit defeat. He will fight it until he is proven right. He will not give up.

That is not a bad trait. That is what made him so successful, getting hold of brands. Making them valuable and selling them when they were worth a ton more. He is a master of that. Now it is a little more personal because his son is involved.

However, Aston Martin seems to be going backwards. I don’t know why because they are spending money and they have changed the design team.

Alonso is extremely good at getting the most out of what is available. They are having to regroup because it is a great brand.”

I expect to see a reaction from Verstappen in Montreal but the track suits Ferrari more

JV: “It will be interesting. McLaren has an issue with top speed but it is very good in slow speed corners and Montreal is a mixture of both. It might suit Ferrari a bit better.

I will be curious to see the Verstappen reaction. He had to work really hard for the win in Imola when he was on the edge. That was followed by Monaco and that was not a good showing. The tension level will be much different going into Montreal. But once they open the DRS the Red Bull disappears into the distance. But they are not good in the slow speed corners.

Basically, there is not one car that is perfect for that track. The one that seems to have the least issues when you mix everything up is the Ferrari. They are not the best in slow speed and they are not the best in a straight line, but they are good at both.”

Author Gary Stein