Jacques Villeneuve Interview: Lewis Hamilton has gone ‘stale’ at Mercedes and needs the ‘fresh air’ of Ferrari; Where would Max Verstapen go if he left Red Bull? The best teams don’t have a spare seat and he wouldn’t want Mercedes move

Avatar Gary Stein
June 5, 2024

Former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve believes that Lewis Hamilton has gone stale at Mercedes and needs the fresh air of Ferrari.

Speaking to Best Payout Online Slots Villeneuve has also weighed in on Max Verstappen’s future, questioning where the Dutchman would go if he left Red Bull with there being plenty of movements across the driver market. The Canadian also discusses Andretti’s pursuit to join F1 and the prospects of an eleventh team on the grid.

The ‘fresh air’ of Ferrari might help Lewis Hamilton – he’s gone stale at Mercedes

Jacques Villeneuve: “The fresh air of Ferrari might help him. Sometimes you need new ingredients on your plate. You get bored with the same taste over and over again. That taste for Lewis at Mercedes is now stale. Every driver has a preference with their car.

Max will be quick in any car but he will be quicker in a car that suits him. Lewis is in the situation where the car is not doing what he is expecting it to, so he is always second guessing. There is always more thought process going into his driving which can leave you a thousandth of a second behind and that will make you just that little bit slower. It makes it very difficult to set the car up because you cannot pinpoint what the issue is.

That is an issue that has developed over the past few years. In F3 and F2, it’s Dallara cars which are inherently prone to understeer and they suit understeering drivers so you won’t get an F2 driver or champion like Verstappen who likes a car that is quick. They are quick with understeering and that is what we are stuck with.”

George Russell has been better than Lewis since they paired up at Mercedes

JV: “To be honest that started the first season George was there and had the upper hand on Lewis. George has been a better driver than Lewis since he arrived there.
Lewis has won so much and when you’re not winning it can be dull and frustrating. The same thing happened when Ricciardo joined Vettel. It made Ricciardo look amazing that year. Vettel was tied and suddenly not winning and he was trying to reinvent the wheel.

Trying to go and get that extra half a second which wasn’t there and instead ended up going slower. Ricciardo was just minding his own business and ended up getting good results. We keep hearing that Lewis is trying weird setups and goes off on a tangent that doesn’t work because he doesn’t like being three or four tenths of a second behind and so he tries to find what is not in the car.”

Christian Horner has done a good job navigating troubles at Red Bull – they’ll be able to rebuild

JV: “What’s happened over the winter hasn’t helped. There has been a change in power and it takes a while to rebalance itself. Christian has done a good job navigating this, and it is in his hands. He has managed to do it for 20 years and get the team in a winning position. Now that everything is calming down a bit it will give him time to rebuild that.”

Where would Max Verstapen go if he left Red Bull? The best teams don’t have a spare seat

JV: “Max is a racer. It doesn’t matter which team or car he is in. He always seems to be 100%. Where could he go that’s good? The two good teams now seem to be Ferrari and McLaren and there are no seats available there. Mercedes don’t want to give anyone a long-term contract because they want to keep the seat warm for Kimi Antonelli. That is their future plan which they have been working on for years. They’ll make it come to fruition.

There isn’t a top driver who would want to go to Mercedes. They are not winning and there is only one year available. Maybe someone like Bottas could go there for a year.”

McLaren are in a great place with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri – they can now fight for race wins

JV: “They are now in a position where they can win a race and fight for it. Once they make the next step and are in contention at every race then the relationship between Piastri and Norris may change a bit. Right now they get along but it is all part of building the team up. They both have long term contracts so there is no reason for animosity there. They are really going well together.

The team has made much faster progress than anyone expected. Even they are surprised!”

Andretti should buy Haas – they are bringing nothing to F1

JV: “Right now there’s a couple of teams like Haas that bring nothing to F1. It has no image. For everyone in the industry, it is much better to have Haas replaced by another name. Why have an eleventh team when maybe someone could buy Haas and rebrand it with a better name?

If someone buys Haas at a stupid price that gives huge value to everyone. An eleventh team would just dilute the value. You don’t have to look any further from that. It is business. Audi has spent a lot of money to buy Sauber and that has brought value. Haas being replaced by a brand name is a bonus for the whole paddock.

Andretti is a great name but it is not enough on its own. If they’re running last no-one will care who he is. It is a name from the past in the States. Take it out of the industry and the States, nobody knows it. It is part of F1 history, it’s not part of the modern sport. 20-year-old F1 fans probably wouldn’t know who he is and right now the US has three Grand Prixs. An extra American name won’t bring anything.”




Author Gary Stein