Jacques Villeneuve slams penalty system after Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda crash

Sam Cooper
McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2022.

Jacques Villeneuve has questioned the logic of Daniel Ricciardo’s penalty in Mexico after he sent Yuki Tsunoda out of the race.

On his charge up the field, Ricciardo crashed into Tsunoda and while the McLaren was able to continue, the AlphaTauri was not.

Ricciardo would go on to finish P7, his highest position since Singapore, and was widely praised for his performance, going on to receive the Driver of the Day award from the fans.

One man who was not so complimentary was Tsunoda who saw his chance of just his fifth points score of the season disappear through no fault of his own.

Someone on Tsunoda’s side is Villeneuve who said the decision to hand Ricciardo a 10-second penalty made him question the entire system.

“I found the race fascinating because of Ricciardo’s comeback after an otherwise incomprehensible attempt to overtake Tsunoda,” the 1997 World Champion wrote in his column.

“I don’t understand those actions where drivers put their front wheel next to the rear wheel and then think they have the corner. That’s not overtaking.

“And Tsunoda closed the door, rightly so. But then I don’t understand the penalty system either, sometimes it’s five seconds and sometimes it’s 10. There should be no consideration of the consequences of the action, but there is.”

Villeneuve also brought up the example of Lewis Hamilton’s famous crash at Silverstone last year which sent title rival Max Verstappen out of the race and on the way to the hospital.

“Lewis Hamilton got 10 seconds last year at Silverstone, he had understeer and a big accident followed. There is no consistency, it is always either five or 10 seconds and not alternately. And maybe time penalties are not good penalties either.

“In theory, sometimes you could swallow a penalty because it’s better for your race, even though 10 seconds is normally a pretty heavy penalty. For Ricciardo, it worked out well. He had to work hard for it though, because of his tyres he was even faster than Hamilton at one point.”

The Ricciardo penalty was not the only one from the weekend that Villeneuve discussed after he gave his opinion on Red Bull’s fine for exceeding the cost cap.

“It was of course also about Cashgate in Mexico, although it will not damage the sport. When McLaren got that mega fine of 100 million, that didn’t happen either.

“The ruling and the penalty for Red Bull have not yet made it clear to me what is and what is not allowed and what punishment you will receive for it. And then there was also the tax setback, otherwise the overrun would have been less than a million. So I find it difficult to say whether the punishment is severe enough.

In any case, it’s not cheating. Lying about traction control is cheating. Whether it would have made a difference in the outcome this year, I doubt. Red Bull is so strong that they would have won anyway.

“What I have trouble with is that the FIA ​​is now cashing out $7 million. So it has hardly any effect for Red Bull and the other teams who don’t get a cent from it.

“The 10 per cent less time in the wind tunnel does hurt, it will slow them down. But it does not give the others a lap time, part of the fine would help. Just divide that among the teams.”