Villeneuve critical of Ferrari actions

Jacques Villeneuve has labeled Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello as 'stupid' because of what happened at the Austrian and US Grands Prix and said Ferrari's actions were embarrassing. Barrichello gifted Schumacher the win in Austria and the move was greeted with disgust and derisive boos by the fans. At Indianapolis the pair made a hash of trying for a close finish and again the crowds were dismayed.

Jacques Villeneuve.
Photo by Jeff Pappone.
"The antics in Austria and at Indianapolis this year involving Michael, Rubens and everyone behind the scenes at Ferrari were embarrassing," Villeneuve told Autosport. "Rubens was stupid to wait until the last 10 meters to gift Michael the win in Austria. Then Michael was really stupid when he pushed Rubens on to the top step of the podium because he was embarrassed and worried about the booing. That just turned the sport into a joke. It was an insult to all of us who work really hard."

The Canadian went on to add that any respect he may have had for Schumacher disappeared after Indianapolis: "You would think someone would have the guts to tell Michael: 'Don't do that kind of stuff any more'. But he goes to Indianapolis and he thinks he's capable of doing something he thinks is very clever and tries to engineer a dead heat. It turned into a real mess."

"F1 needs America, so Indianapolis was really bad and the whole of Europe was really mad anyway, so single-handedly he hurt F1 a lot. Ever since that moment, I've never respected him in the slightest. He has an attitude and approach to life which I despise and don't care for."

Many people agree with Villeneuve's sentiments and although Ferrari was initially unapologetic about the situations at the time, it eventually admitted that things could have been handled better. Worried by accusations that Ferrari's actions were damaging to the sport and the subsequent decline in audiences, one of the FIA's new rulings was to ban team orders that influence the outcome of a race.