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Formula One Insights - Jacques Villeneuve

Former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve talks exclusively to Genting Casino ahead of the start of the 2024 season.

Speaking to Genting Casino, Jacques Villeneuve said:

- Next champion Charles Leclerc ‘can’t be happy’ with Hamilton’s move - there are now two camps within Ferrari

- Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari move has already been paid for after stock exchange boom - he was never going to win eighth title with Mercedes

- Of course Hamilton can win eighth title with ‘different beast’ Ferrari but the move is about building his image

- If Hamilton wins the Championship with Ferrari he will become the GOAT

- F1 ‘is a bunch of sharks’ - Hamilton owes Mercedes nothing

- Hamilton’s Mercedes departure means people stop working hard - I’m curious to see if Jock Clear will link up with Lewis again at ‘chaotic’ Ferrari


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Next champion Charles Leclerc ‘can’t be happy’ with Hamilton’s move - there are now two camps within Ferrari

JV: “It was curious how quickly they resigned Leclerc, how quickly they pushed that through. It will give a kick to Leclerc as well. He’s been promoted as a champion but he hasn’t shown it yet. Now we will see his mettle and what he is really made of.” 

“It looks like there are two camps in Ferrari now. One that has been protecting Leclerc and said we have to re-sign him before Lewis arrives. Leclerc can’t be happy having a seven-time world champion, the biggest name in F1 in racing history next to him, when he himself has been promoted as the next ‘champion.’

“If he starts beating Lewis, his profile will go up big time. Lewis has nothing to lose. He has his seven titles and his move was a big boost to his image. There is nothing else he could have done.

“We also might go back to seeing the amazing Lewis. You could see the Lewis of the last two years has been so upset about not having won the championship. It was dragging him down. It was tiring, a weight. Sometimes you just need fresh water.”

Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari move has already been paid for after stock exchange boom - he was never going to win eighth title with Mercedes.

JV: “It’s amazing. The impact we have already seen with the share value in Ferrari bouncing up in 24 hours.

“That shows the effect. Ferrari’s value went up by US$7 billion on the New York Stock Exchange with the Hamilton announcement.

“When you look at it like that, it was super cheap for Ferrari to get Lewis. Lewis already has made money for Ferrari even after they have paid him. So that’s great. Lewis is really keen on his eighth championship and he could see he wouldn’t get it with Mercedes.

“The chances of getting an eighth are remote anyway even though he can still drive to that level. There’s no issues there.

“But as you have seen with Alonso, you still need to be in the right place at the right time. Lewis made an amazing move from McLaren to Mercedes, everyone thought he was crazy and look what happened. Six championships in that relationship.”

Of course Hamilton can win eighth title with ‘different beast’ Ferrari but the move is about building his image

JV: “Yes of course he can, as could Alonso. He is not racing just because he gets a salary. He still puts it all out there. He still has the same talent. It just depends how hungry he is. And maybe being at Ferrari will make him feel like he really has to prove something.”

“Ferrari is a different beast. There is a different type of pressure, the attention. It is as if the team is called ‘Italy.’ It is not just a racing team but a way of life here.

“So, you can be amazing and awful in the space of two seconds. They can turn on you so quickly. That is how it should be when you are operating at that level.

“For Lewis now this is the next stage in building his image even if he doesn’t get his eighth championship. This is the biggest move he could have made. It is great for Ferrari’s image as well.


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Hamilton can become the GOAT with Ferrari


If Hamilton wins the Championship with Ferrari he will become the GOAT

JV: “If he manages to win the championship with Ferrari then yes, definitely. After so many years after having had a tough moment when he won his seventh and narrowly lost out on his eighth, changing to a team that has been in chaos for a number of years , where other former champions didn’t manage to win it, then if he did that would put him at the very top.”

F1 ‘is a bunch of sharks’ - Hamilton owes Mercedes nothing

JV: “I guess that’s why the clause was there in the first place. I’m not saying he has done anything bad though!

He has spent his career making sure that what he did was the best for him. Not giving any quarter. Not being friendly or nice to anyone else.

“It is a business. F1 is a bunch of sharks. He doesn’t owe Mercedes anything. Mercedes gave him a lot but they gave them a lot in return.”

Hamilton’s Mercedes departure means people will stop working hard - I’m curious to see if Jock Clear will link up with Lewis again at ‘chaotic’ Ferrari  

JV: “The Lewis leaving bombshell will not help Mercedes.  A lot of people inside will be upset and sometimes people just won’t work as hard.

“Ferrari will be exciting to see. I am also curious to see what happens with Jock Clear at Ferrari. He was Lewis’s engineer at Mercedes and that worked quite well. Will he stay as Leclerc’s engineer, or will he go back to Lewis? That would be amazing for both.

“I can see good energy at Ferrari. Chaotic yes, but a lot of people will want to really push.

“It would be interesting to see what happens with Sainz. He won’t give the Ferrari team any favours now. He wasn’t treated very well. What’s been happening at Red Bull will create a lot of issues early in the season.

“Williams are also on a roll. It will be interesting to see where they end up.

“McLaren go up and down. It’s the second year with Piastri, will he settle for second as he did last year when he was keeping quiet and paying his dues? With Mark Webber behind him I am sure that won’t be the case.

“Piastri was too quiet last year. You could see the anger was missing. Some drivers are just happy to make it to F1 and that is enough.  We haven’t seen yet whether Oscar is willing to take the next step like Norris has done. If he does, then the future is very promising.”


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V: 1.37.0 All rights reserved. August 2021
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