No one would describe 1997 F1 Champion Jacques Villeneuve as reserved. His reputation for being outspoken on both issues within the sport and pop culture realm remains a strong part of his image, and his recent controversy with Williams F1 driver Lance Stroll has kept that up. Just last month, the motorsport veteran called out the newcomer, saying he could possibly be the worst rookie that Formula One has ever seen. Now, Villeneuve is disputing Stroll's use of his father's riches to cheat the system, giving him extra practice time outside of normal regulations.
The former champ noted that Stroll had improved greatly from scoring his first points at the Canadian Grand Prix to gaining a podium at Baku, thanks to a little bit of extra help. Stroll had been testing with a retired 2014 Williams car at Austin's Circuit of the Americas, and Villeneuve made his discontent with the situation clear.
"They are circumventing the rules. It's not fair to the other drivers because he is the only one to have this privilege thanks to his money. But there should be limits to what money can buy, and I'm not alone in thinking that," Villeneuve said, according to Le Journal de Montreal.
Lance's father, Lawrence Stroll, is a billionaire investor who reportedly spent $80 million to get his son a seat with Williams.
Despite the assistance from his father, Stroll feels that he got where he was thanks to winning at every level prior to F1. He was able to train extensively, helping him to gain a spot in the sport at just 18 years old. Williams' Pat Symonds even once compared Stroll to the French Canadian F1 star, saying "The last rookie with that many kilometers of testing for his debut was Jacques Villeneuve."
Jacques went on to criticize Stroll's interaction with the press. "You told me that Williams had refused to arrange a telephone interview after his (Stroll's) podium in Baku," he said. "I find that inconceivable, as I never refused such requests, even when everything went wrong and I was being criticized from every side. Stroll's entourage should be aware of that."
Villeneuve's feelings toward Stroll may or may not be justified, but regardless of that, he remains one of the rookie's most consistent reactors.