Teenagers debuting in F1 gives off "the wrong image" - Villeneuve

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve has warned that the trend for drivers to be pushed into F1 as teenagers is giving off the "wrong image" about the sport.

Teenagers debuting in F1 gives off "the wrong image" - Villeneuve
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Lance Stroll, Williams
Jacques Villeneuve
Davide Valsecchi, Sky F1 Italia Presenter with Federica Masolin, Sky F1 Italia Presenter and Jacques Villeneuve
Lance Stroll, Williams F1 Team

While Max Verstappen made his F1 debut at age 17 last year, Canadian Lance Stroll will be racing with Williams in 2017 at the age of 18.

Both drivers jumped to F1 straight from Formula 3.

Villeneuve reckons it is wrong for Formula 1 to have teenagers making their debut in grand prix racing, as he suggests it makes it look too easy.

"Basically their luggage is not full yet. Normally you would get to F1 with luggage that was half full, and you just have to do the other half," Villeneuve told Motorsport.com.

"Now they come in and the luggage still has the new tag from the shop, and it hasn't been opened yet! That's wrong. It doesn't matter how talented you are, this is F1, it's the pinnacle.

"So there is something missing. You can have a lot of talent, you can be super fast, but it's also the wrong image to give. It has to be hard to achieve to get there, but it's not."

The Canadian believes that Williams rookie Stroll will find the jump from F3 to F1 tough in 2017, but concedes that his fellow Canadian could rise to the challenge.

Stroll will be racing for Williams some 21 years after Villeneuve made his debut with the same team.

"He's super quick, but we don't know what he's made of mentally or psychologically, because F1 is a different beast," Villeneuve told Motorsport.com.

"And for the first time in his career he cannot be in the best car and the best team, where everything is in place for him to win, and where the going will be tough.

"We don't know how he will react to that. He's well-educated, well-spoken, so he could just grow and become amazing – or he could just collapse. We don't know."

However, Villeneuve understands why Stroll has the made the jump so early in his career: "It doesn't matter, he has the money to come in, so why wait? It's just the way it is. Why bother wasting a season in GP2 where you risk not winning, or [your image] getting hurt."

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