Jacques Villeneuve, who won the F1 drivers title in 1997, says that the sports latest emerging talent is being protected by the FIA. Villeneuve made hi comments in an interview after the Belgian Grand Prix where Verstappen was involved in a number of incidents.
Verstappen was involved in a first corner, first lap tangle when he tried to overtake the Ferrari of Kim Raikkonen into what is a tight right-hand chicane.
Turn 1 is often refereed to as ‘La Soure’ it’s a notorious blackspot and more often than not attracts minor collisions. Conventional wisdom is that you do not try to overtake on the inside kerb because there is no room for error.
Verstappen did just so, spotting an opportunity to retake position from the Ferrari of Raikkonen after making a bad start.
Raikkonen was aware of Verstappen and left enough room however his teammate, Vettel, was on the outside and swiped in to take position. The two Ferrari’s touched and Verstappen had no where else to go.
Verstappen lost his front wing and limped back into the pits while Vettel spun across the track and had to wait for the rest of the field to filter past.
But it was later in the race where Verstappen caused the most concern, while defending his position from Raikkonen.
Verstappen weaved twice in front of the Ferrari in the hihg speed Kemmel Straight that follows on fro Eau Rouge. Naturally Raikkonen was not too pleased to say the least. Verstappen was not given a warning or penalty for what appeared to be dangerous driving verging on the suicidal.
Jacques Villeneuve believes the FIA want to protect it’s most marketable asset, “The issue is the FIA, because it looks like he’s got protection. They want him to be a star.”
Villeneuve blamed Verstappen for the first corner incident saying “It’s way too much… you know that if you go to inside (La Source) there will be an incident, because there is not enough room. You know it.”“Look in Germany. He weaved on the straight, so Nico [Rosberg] missed his braking [point]. They go a bit wide – Nico gets a penalty. For something even less than… and it wasn’t even his fault.“So there is something that is wrong. I don’t know. It’s something that makes me angry, but that’s just the way it is. Twenty years ago someone would have put him in a tree.”
However Villeneuve also found fault with Verstappen’s attitude “Mostly if you had a bad start, just accept it. But that is not what’s bad. It’s after that, he complains about other drivers: ‘They destroyed my race’.”
Villeneuve continued “What he did to Kimi twice on the straight, and to Vettel as well. Just calm down. You’re going to kill someone.”