‘Apart from Leclerc, Everyone Had Money’ – Villeneuve Takes a Dig at Ferrari’s Young Driver Program

Published 01/11/2021, 2:23 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace


F1 teams operating academies that house and coach racing aspirants has become a commonality these days. Naturally, Ferrari with its long-standing reputation has one as well. It possesses a good talent pool and has produced drivers that are ready for F1.

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The likes of Charles Leclerc and now Mick Schumacher have come through the Ferrari Drivers’ Academy (FDA). In the former’s case, one can very well see his growth and increase in stature since joining the sport.

However, former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve feels differently about the FDA. He also believes that even without the stamp of the huge brand that is Ferrari, the same young drivers could still have followed their racing career path.

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Charles Leclerc from the Ferrari Drivers’ Academy is an exception, says Villeneuve

Speaking to Sky Italia, and quoted by RacingNews365, Villeneuve stated, “Except for Leclerc, everyone had money in their pocket when they entered the academy. He was the only one who did not have the financial affairs in order when he arrived at the academy.”(translated via Google Translate)

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc wearing a protective face mask arrives at the circuit ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“The others all already had a considerable budget and that helps you on your way. Of course you still have to do it yourself, but also without Ferrari, these guys could have followed the career path they are currently taking.”

Mick Schumacher, alongside Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman, had been linked to possible vacancies at Haas and Alfa Romeo. Ultimately, the former got chosen by Haas, owing to his title success in F2.

Both Leclerc and Schumacher Junior could have glorious futures in F1

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“Mick has of course already been under considerable pressure due to his surname in recent years. He certainly felt that and that is why he has it. can learn. That is a big difference with the other guys who are in the academy,” concluded the former Canadian driver.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – AUGUST 01: Formula 2 driver Mick Schumacher of Germany walks in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Regardless of Villeneuve’s views, Ferrari have had some capable talents graduate through their academy system. Although Mick Schumacher is only just entering the world of Formula 1, the signs regarding his future look quite promising.

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As for Leclerc, he has proven to be an inspiration for many young drivers with his own progression from Sauber to Ferrari. Therefore, the academy certainly has a few positives to offer. The team’s fans will then hope that such talents continue to emerge from within the ranks.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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