Technology has made F1 worse: Villeneuve

Former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve believes modern drivers have no respect for each other and the variety of technology available has ruined the sport.

JacquesVilleneuve - Cropped

1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve

Former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve believes modern drivers have no respect for each other and the variety of technology available has ruined the sport.

Villeneuve claimed the drivers' championship with Williams in 1997, something his father Gilles never managed – second place in 1979 with Ferrari his best result.

The younger Villeneuve, 20 years on from his world title, was scathing in his assessment of what the sport has become, claiming DRS (Drag Reduction System) has spoiled the drama of overtaking.

"I start to feel old because I don't relate to the technology in modern F1," he said at Autosport International. "It's supposed to be too fast, it's supposed to be too expensive, it's supposed to be crazy and that's not what we have.

"[It went wrong] when F1 started listening to the fans – you won't like it, but it's true – because the fans kept complaining there's not enough overtaking, and by listening to that F1 put in DRS because that way 'we'll have 100 overtakes in a race'.

"But name me one overtake you remember since DRS. You don't see the driver working it. Next straight line, press button, overtake, that's it.

"All these rule changes to create a better show have actually created a worse show. You don't see proper racing, you see tons of overtaking, but they're boring so it defeats the purpose.

"Now you see a video game, drivers think they're in a video game and there's no respect, it's not even a word in their dictionary.

"You get penalised for trying something and making a mistake and hardly ever get penalised for dirty driving.

"A lot of the dirty, nasty driving doesn't even get penalised because of these new rules and they don't actually make sense. In the last few years I've never seen so much dangerous driving, they start way too young without any concept of what responsibility is and having a price to pay for being naughty."

In November, Williams announced that 18-year-old Lance Stroll would be the man to join Valtteri Bottas as the team's new driver following Felipe Massa's retirement.

Stroll, the son of a billionaire investor, won last year's European Formula Three Championship and Villeneuve believes the early signs are good for Williams.

"It's hard to say [how he will perform], he's been super quick in all his different formulas. Some will say he had the best car but so did his team-mate. He's made the most of a good situation which is great," Villeneuve said of his fellow Canadian.

"Money doesn't buy talent and he seems to have the right head for it. He's very educated and that's a big help and he wants to prove that he'll be good through his talent and not just because of his money.

"He seems to be very, very in love and passionate about racing and not about the jet set of it. He could be a very good surprise."

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