Interview: Villeneuve Makes No Excuses

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve compared himself to a carefree driver soaking up the sunshine after a slow qualifying run at the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday

Interview: Villeneuve Makes No Excuses

"I just drove slowly, didn't take enough risks. I was on a Sunday drive, you know, with the sunshine and taking it easy, I guess," said the 1997 Formula One World Champion.

The Sauber driver, classified fourth at the last San Marino Grand Prix after his future at the team was called into question, could manage only the 14th best time on the provisional grid.

Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa was a more impressive 11th, his time of one minute 15.863 seconds comparing to Villeneuve's 1:16.794.

"After the significant improvement we made in Imola, we expected more here," said team boss Peter Sauber.

Villeneuve, who missed most of last year after being dropped by BAR in 2003, has struggled to get up to speed with Swiss-based Sauber.

"I've had problems all year warming up the tyres and getting the first lap out of them, more than my team mate and more than other teams apparently," he said.

"Once we get in the race after two or three laps our pace is good and we are okay, but here on this track with this asphalt it was even more extreme."

The Circuit de Catalunya has been resurfaced since last season and Villeneuve has done little testing on it, struggling so much in a session last month that Sauber replaced him with Massa after one day.

"I thought I was pushing it and I wanted to make sure I didn't make mistakes but obviously it made me not push," said Villeneuve of his qualifying run.

"That was just a very poor lap.

"I thought I was driving fast but the lap time just kept getting worse and worse and I had no idea why," he added.

"We had such a poor test here a month ago that we didn't really know where to start from and we were quite far away and we had many problems to fix at the same time," said the 34-year-old.

"We're still left with a little bit of the understeer and the car's on the limit of being nervous and it's a little bit difficult to drive.

"The asphalt on this track is different to any other asphalt we use and we're probably the only team that hasn't been testing that much.

"I think we just started a little bit too lost, we need one more day."

Reminded jokingly that he had at least fared better than former BAR team mate Jenson Button, whose team are suspended for two races after falling foul of the rules of weight and fuel, Villeneuve grinned wryly.

"With the lap I did today, not driving would be very similar," he said.

shares
comments
Michael Praises 'Robot' Heidfeld
Previous article

Michael Praises 'Robot' Heidfeld

Next article

Montoya Dashed de la Rosa's Hopes

Montoya Dashed de la Rosa's Hopes
Load comments
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021