May 26 (GMM) Jacques Villeneuve is not joining those who are criticising Ferrari for taking a risk so that Charles Leclerc could keep pole position last Sunday.
Some believe not changing the star driver’s gearbox after his post-pole position crash on Saturday was an excessive gamble to avoid a five-place grid penalty.
Indeed, ultimately, Leclerc’s Ferrari broke down prior to the start of the race.
But 1997 world champion Villeneuve said the 23-year-old driver “can only blame himself” for the retirement, because Ferrari confirmed that while it was actually a crack in the driveshaft hub, it was still the result of the crash damage.
The French Canadian told Belgium’s RTBF broadcaster that Ferrari was right to gamble in a bid to keep pole.
“At Monaco, it was worth taking the risk and hoping that everything is more or less in order with the car at Monaco,” Villeneuve said.
“Charles would have started from pole with an excellent chance of winning. It’s Monaco, you have to take risks.
“If they had changed the gearbox, or gone over the car completely, he would have had a penalty or started from the pitlane, so the risk was justified.
“I am surprised that it was not the transmission itself that broke, but one of the elements on the left side of the car – where there was no damage from the crash.
“But it was still the consequence of the accident, and Charles can only blame himself for that,” said Villeneuve.