Villeneuve backtracks over Leclerc helmet

Sun, 18 June 2023, 12:00

Jun.18 (GMM) 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has backtracked after throwing a spanner in the works of Charles Leclerc’s helmet tribute in Montreal.

Leclerc turned up at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to honour Jacques’ fabled late father with an almost identical helmet livery.

But at one stage during the Canadian GP weekend, the Monegasque Ferrari driver actually reverted to his usual helmet design – because Jacques was upset.

“It was just a big surprise to see the helmet yesterday because nobody had called the family,” said the 52-year-old in an update on his Instagram stories.

“Now you have a picture with my dad’s helmet with sponsors that are linked to that helmet now, which shouldn’t be there,” Villeneuve added.

“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.”

But by qualifying, the dispute was settled – and Leclerc even posed with Villeneuve’s mother and sister with the helmet.

“I am very moved,” said Jacques sister Melanie in an interview with the Journal de Montreal newspaper. “This is another beautiful tribute to my father.

“It warms our hearts to see that a driver from the Ferrari team thinks of him.”

As for the controversy, Melanie added: “Charles was very kind in this regard. We have no objections, this is a good tribute.”

Jacques Villeneuve’s mother Joann also said she was “very touched by the gesture”.

Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper said the issue was settled when Leclerc apologised personally to Melanie, who reportedly handles the issues of her father’s image rights.

Ferrari also apologised to the Villeneuve family.

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