Villeneuve Doubts Vandoorne’s F1 Ambitions

Published 07/02/2018, 9:49 AM EDT


Jacques Villeneuve has always been outspoken about his opinions as evidenced by his criticism of Max Verstappen earlier this year. Now it is the turn of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne to be questioned on his F1 ambitions.

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His performances this season for the team have left a lot to be desired and when asked about it by Belgian broadcaster RTBF, Villeneuve said, “It is complicated. His first grand prix was interesting but there wasn’t the next step.”

“I don’t know if it is because there are political complications with Alonso or perhaps he is just happy to have reached F1 and that is enough for him”, the Canadian scathingly commented.

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But his own team boss, Eric Boullier was more positive about the Belgian. “Stoffel is doing a good job, working hard, developing and having results that are comparable to Fernando [Alonso]”, stated Boullier.

“We want him to continue to work hard as he has”, added the Frenchman. Asked about the possibility of academy driver, Lando Norris graduating to a race seat for the 2019 F1 season, he chose not to answer it.

“I do not answer questions that contain the word ‘if’”, he said sheepishly.

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Vandoorne had a terrific record in the junior categories, with him winning both the now scrapped GP2 and GP3 series. He made his F1 debut with McLaren in 2016 as a substitute for regular driver, Alonso.

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He was promoted to a permanent seat last year and showed early signs of promise but that has somehow fizzled out this year. His older teammate has been consistently the better driver for the team, out-qualifying him in almost every race.

In the latest race in Austria, Vandoorne failed to finish after an incident at Turn 3 while teammate Alonso finished 8 in the grid, despite starting from the pitlane due to a front-wing and MGU-K unit change.

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Rahul Venkat

354 articles

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