Villeneuve family give all-clear to Charles Leclerc after tribute helmet drama

Oliver Harden
Charles Leclerc's Gilles Villeneuve tribute helmet causes issues with Villeneuve family. June 2023

Charles Leclerc's Gilles Villeneuve tribute helmet causes issues with Villeneuve family. June 2023

Charles Leclerc has now been given the all-clear to wear a Gilles Villenueve tribute helmet at the Canadian Grand Prix after initial drama was resolved.

Leclerc reverted to his normal helmet design after a Gilles Villeneuve tribute livery initially upset the Ferrari legend’s family, it had emerged.

Ahead of the race weekend in Montreal, Leclerc unveiled a one-off helmet design in tribute to Quebec-born Villeneuve, the six-time grand prix winner regarded as one of the fastest drivers in F1 history, who died in a tragic 1982 accident.

However, Leclerc was spotted competing with his standard helmet in Friday practice in Canada, with the Monegasque also sporting his usual headwear during FP3 on Saturday.

Speaking during Sky Sports F1’s television coverage of the final practice session in Montreal, reporter Ted Kravitz has revealed that Ferrari and Leclerc dropped the tribute design after receiving a complaint from the family, led by Villeneuve’s son and 1997 World Champion Jacques.

Kravitz explained: “At the beginning of the weekend, Ferrari put out a social media post about how Gilles Villeneuve will be honoured by Charles Leclerc, wearing a sort of hybrid design in Leclerc’s helmet. recommends

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“We understand that the Villeneuve family and Jacques Villeneuve were unhappy, I think, with the appearance of the Ferrari logos on there – the sponsor logos – and felt that there could have been a bit more consultation.

“Ferrari’s response and Charles Leclerc’s response? They said: ‘Look, this is absolutely meant to be a good-faith tribute. The intention was never to be any kind of thing where we are using Gilles Villeneuve’s helmet and the design to advertise our sponsors.

“They were very apologetic if the Villeneuve family was upset and, so the situation isn’t exacerbated, Charles Leclerc’s gone back to his original helmet.”

But, after now meeting with the family ahead of Canadian Grand Prix qualifying, Leclerc can now go back to wearing the tribute helmet.

However, Jacques Villeneuve did express surprise that the family were not consulted before the touching tribute was put on public display.

“It was just a big surprise to see the helmet yesterday because nobody had called the family,” he told “It’s mainly my mother and my sister involved in that. So that was just a big shock.

“And when Lewis [Hamilton] wore Ayrton Senna’s helmet the family was involved, obviously, because it’s not just something you do like this.

“But then I chat with Charles and he said, ‘Oh, sorry, I didn’t think about it.’ And then I think he talked with my sister and everything seems to be clean there.

“So it was just the way of doing things, you just check with the people involved first. That’s all. So it’s not a huge issue. But it was done without any of us knowing, which was a big surprise.

“People don’t realise you have to think about the trademark,” he continued. “If you take a brand and you just link to anything you’ll have their lawyers on your back.

“This is a bit different, obviously. But now you have a picture with my dad’s helmet with sponsors that are linked to that helmet now, which shouldn’t be there. So that’s a little bit of the grey area.

“That’s why you should always check first and discuss it and do it the right way. And I think it’s all been made clear.”