Unsurprisingly, Peter Sauber was not terribly impressed by the move that Jacques Villenueve tried on teammate Felipe Massa in the Monaco Grand Prix, which resulted in Massa being forced off the track and Villeneuve hitting the barrier. The...
Unsurprisingly, Peter Sauber was not terribly impressed by the move that Jacques Villenueve tried on teammate Felipe Massa in the Monaco Grand Prix, which resulted in Massa being forced off the track and Villeneuve hitting the barrier. The Canadian dived up the inside at Ste Devote but rather misjudged it and wasted the chance of both cars being in the points.
Massa was running eighth at the time and Villeneuve ninth; a few laps later the Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella and the Toyota of Jarno Trulli both had problems that dropped them to 10th and 12th. Therefore, if not for the altercation at Ste Devote, Massa and Villeneuve could have been comfortably in the points. They finished ninth and 11th respecitvely.
Sauber said it was a "very serious situation" and has summoned both drivers to team headquarters in Hinwil to explain what happened. However it would seem that Sauber already knows who was at fault, as after the race he referred to "the incident caused by Jacques". Villeneuve himself admitted it was not a great move.
"15 laps from the finish, I tried to pass Felipe, my team-mate, as he was struggling with a pair of damaged rear tyres," he told his website. "Unfortunately, my manoeuvre was misjudged and it resulted in forcing Felipe to run wide to avoid my car. I also damaged my front wing and I had to stop for a second time to change the nose of my car."
"This is something I could have avoided of course, but at this point I thought that I had to take that risk as we were in good shape to bring some valuable points to the team. I did not want to let Fisichella to get away but I tried something that unfortunately didn't work."
Massa kept his cool and said he was not angry with Villeneuve, only angry about the tyre wear. Jacques spoke to the Brazilian afterwards: "I went to see Felipe after the race and explained what happened," he added. "He completely understood and confirmed to me that his tyres could not hold the same pace as mine at this point."
Whether Sauber will hand out any kind of punishment depends on what the drivers have to say to him. However, the situation has once again put the spotlight on Villeneuve and his position within the team. After a rocky start to the season things improved at Imola, where the Canadian scored points, but now he's back in a tricky spot again.