Villeneuve Upset by Suzuka Penalty

Former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has refused to accept that he was in the wrong after being blamed for driving Juan Pablo Montoya off the track on the opening lap of the Japanese Grand Prix

Villeneuve Upset by Suzuka Penalty

The race stewards handed Villeneuve a 25-second penalty after they felt he had failed to give Montoya enough room as they raced side-by-side out of the chicane.

That resulted in Montoya being forced onto the grass and crashing into the tyre barriers - bringing out the Safety Car.

But despite the Stewards saying they had no doubts Villeneuve caused an avoidable accident, the Sauber driver insists he did nothing wrong.

"I was a bit surprised when I saw Juan Pablo in the wall," said Villeneuve, sitting with Montoya in a pre Chinese Grand Prix press conference. "When you're racing and you go through a corner, you only leave room if the guy's next to you.

"If the person is still behind you just take your line and you expect the other person to lift, because he hasn't won the corner. That's all.

"I was concentrating on the straight line and once I got on the straight, I looked in the mirrors to see where he was and I saw him in the wall so I was a bit surprised. I guess Juan Pablo judged that he would be next to me by the time we got to the exit..."

When Montoya claimed that he was alongside him, Villeneuve responded: "No you weren't. If you had been next to me, it would have been front wheel against front wheel.

"Being next to one means that your front wheel is next to his front wheel. If you're behind the front wheel, then you're not next to the person, you're not in the line of sight."

He added: "I spent all my career always accepting blame when I've done something wrong, and this time I won't accept blame and I find it very, very disappointing because the next step is when someone tries to overtake you, you just lift in the middle of the straight line and let him by.

"I find that a little bit dangerous, mostly when you see that some drivers will put another one on the grass in the middle of a straight-line and there's no punishment for that.  So I find that a little bit difficult to accept."

Montoya still believes Villeneuve was to blame for the crash, however, and claims he went off the track in a bid to avoid a bigger collision.

"The rules are so inconsistent with everybody that it's very hard to judge," said the McLaren driver. "In a way he got a penalty, but in a way he didn't.

"He got a 25 second penalty when he finished 12th. What does that matter? It doesn't change anything. It's kind of ridiculous that you give a penalty to someone who finished 12th which is probably going to drop him a place. Wow, 13th."

He added: "I think I was side-by-side with Jacques. When I came out of the chicane, he came across the track to block me. I went the other way... on the video, when I came down the circuit I was beside him. It doesn't matter. It happens.

"He said he didn't see me and when he looked it was too late but... I tried not to hit wheels. If you touch wheels you would probably end up in the grandstand or something and I would just rather finish one car in the wall than one in the grandstand."

shares
comments
New Williams Set for February Debut
Previous article

New Williams Set for February Debut

Next article

Webber: My Stock has Gone Down

Webber: My Stock has Gone Down
Load comments
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022