MARCH 18, 2016
Afraid drivers should quit F1 says Villeneuve
Jacques Villeneuve has slammed F1 drivers who are calling loudly for the introduction of the 'halo' cockpit protection system.
The story has split the driver camp, with Daniel Ricciardo telling Nico Hulkenberg recently to stop being a "hero" by arguing against the radical safety concept.
"I read that and it made me smile," Hulkenberg hit back in Melbourne. "He has his opinion and I have mine and he should respect that."
Indeed, Hulkenberg said his opinion is so strong that he would gladly give up many of today's safety advances in order to drive the F1 monsters of the past.
"Yes," he told Germany's Auto Bild. "Despite the much greater risk of injury that the drivers had back then."
Hulkenberg is not alone.
Former Manor racer Roberto Merhi told El Mundo newspaper that "drivers know from the beginning that this is a risky sport".
And 1997 world champion Villeneuve, an avowed 'purist', scolded those who are balking at one of the last remaining risks of being a grand prix driver.
"If they are afraid, they should go and race touring cars," he told Le Figaro.
"Yes, we must strive for safety, but there are limits we should not exceed. Risk-taking is inherent in F1. It's part of the beauty of the sport.
"For me, halo is too much. I see it that these drivers earn millions and yet they do not want to take any chances. Too bad.
"Do the moto riders ask to ride inside a bubble? This is why they are increasingly respected and admired compared to formula one drivers," Villeneuve, now an outspoken F1 pundit, added.