Coulthard: Show Villeneuve More Respect

Jacques Villeneuve's critics should get off the struggling former champion's back and show him more respect, says friend and rival David Coulthard

Coulthard: Show Villeneuve More Respect

The Briton said he had been 'personally disgusted' by some of the media comments after Villeneuve's first three races with Sauber.

"Irrespective of what difficulties he is having now, this is race four," said the Red Bull driver at the San Marino Grand Prix.

"There are other people who don't have any points on the board and it's just diminishing the respect I think he should be given for his achievements," he said.

"Everyone's entitled to their opinion about whether they like someone or not but you can't take away what he's achieved and you don't know how to drive a racing car and then forget how to drive it if you are still motivated."

Villeneuve, the 1997 World Champion with Williams, has yet to score a point this season after spending most of last year on the sidelines following an acrimonious departure from BAR in 2003.

The Canadian might have scored a point at the last race in Bahrain but he and Coulthard collided. The Scot went on to finish eighth, maintaining his record of scoring in every round so far this season.

They then shared Villeneuve's plane back to Monaco.

Villeneuve Calm

Coulthard nonetheless said again that he would not be surprised if Villeneuve walked away from Sauber or was encouraged to do so unless his form improved.

"The fact is he's in the car, he's contracted to Sauber for two years and until that changes those are the facts," he said.

"If he doesn't do a better job, whether it's him or something else within the team then it's only natural that there will be a parting of the ways within that two year period."

While some Swiss papers have already said that parting is inevitable, the 34-year-old appeared remarkably unconcerned at Imola.

"There's never been a bad moment, we've always got along well," Villeneuve said of relations with team boss Peter Sauber.

"Surprisingly, in the past in this situation I would have been quite unhappy and life would have been very difficult," added the Canadian, who spent a fraught last year at BAR. "But it doesn't seem to be affecting me too much.

"You need a step back to take a breather and look at your surroundings.

"Anything that happens now will not change what I've achieved in the past and it will have a minimal effect on my life outside of racing," added the son of Ferrari great Gilles.

"It won't destroy what I've achieved in the past or make my life in any way negative," said Villeneuve, a former CART champion and winner of the Indianapolis 500 who made a sensational Formula One debut in 1996.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Jacques Villeneuve
Author Alan Baldwin
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