Jacques Villeneuve believes Carlos Sainz is currently the stronger driver at Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc letting frustration get the better of him.
Leclerc currently lies sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, six points behind Sainz, having fallen behind the Spaniard after an error-filled Dutch Grand Prix that he was forced to retire from.
Leclerc then came out second-best in an epic duel with Sainz for the final podium spot at Ferrari’s home race, the Italian Grand Prix, with Villeneuve believe consistency is the current key to success at the Scuderia.
Jacques Villeneuve: Chaos at Ferrari not giving Charles Leclerc confidence
Speaking to PlanetF1.com in an exclusive interview at Monza, 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve said he doesn’t believe Ferrari will be the team to topple Red Bull from their perch at the top of F1.
Asked why he feels the Scuderia aren’t his pick, Villeneuve said there is a clear lack of direction currently within the Italian squad.
“It’s chaos,” he said.
“The car is difficult to drive and, right now, Charles Leclerc is not driving with confidence, and he’s making too many mistakes.
“That’s not helping the team moving forward. But Carlos Sainz is the better driver right now at Ferrari.
So there isn’t the driving force coming from the drivers the same way that Max [Verstappen] is doing, that [Fernando] Alonso is doing that, that Lewis [Hamilton] is doing. Drivers need to push the team and, right now, the Ferrari drivers aren’t really doing it.”
Jacques Villeneuve: Frustration is showing in Charles Leclerc’s driving
With Ferrari on a rebuilding path as Fred Vasseur assumed the role of team boss at the start of 2023 in place of the departing Mattia Binotto, Villeneuve believes calm heads are needed of the drivers – perhaps why Sainz is faring better this season.
“The way Ferrari is now, you need a driver that is consistent and just works at it slowly but gradually, without getting frustrated,” he said.
With Leclerc having to watch his contemporary Verstappen hoover up wins and titles in his Red Bull, the years slipping by without success are likely getting to him, believes Villeneuve.
“Charles signed his big contract at Ferrari to be a World Champion,” he said.
“Now he can see that probably won’t happen in the way the team has evolved and the car is going and that frustration is showing in his driving.
“So he’s not driving as well as he’s driven in the past. He’s better than what he’s doing now.”