Not one to shy away from the media, quite contrary in fact, 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has spoken out during the Canadian Grand Prix last weekend, which he attended in usual flamboyant style, by donning a complete bald head.
Agreeing that the black and gold Lotus looks ‘amazing’, he also said that Kimi Raikkonen could be dropped very soon, because of his lack of performance compared to teammate Romain Grosjean.
“That he is usually behind Grosjean in pure performance makes me think he (Raikkonen) could be dropped,” said Villeneuve, when speaking to France´s Auto Hebdo.
One of Kimi´s countrymen, Mika Salo, agrees that the season is proving a lot harder than expected, especially after two podiums for the 2007 world champion, but it is much too early to talk about replacements, says Salo.
“Kimi has retained his natural ability to drive a car, but he and the team definitely haven’t come to terms about what he needs. But as for Jacques Villeneuve, I doubt he has even spoken a single word to Kimi about what the problem really is. He is a complete outsider,” Salo insisted.
“We can all have opinions, but the truth is very different to what Villeneuve said. I still think Kimi will win a race this season when the weekend is spot on. You can see that the relationship between Kimi and the team is really good. Although there are problems, there is still a good atmosphere.
“Some in the media allege that they are breaking up, but the real situation is quite the opposite. The team has full respect for Kimi, and Kimi respects the team,” Salo said.
One of the key issues for Kimi, has been the steering of the Lotus, and one un-named team member has commented that there have been six different types of steering for Kimi, basically laid for him to choose from, but “there won’t be a seventh version of the steering for him,” said the team member.
Frankly I am a bit surprised about Villeneuve´s comments. They clearly shows that ever since he was dropped by the BMW midway during the 2006 season, at least three season´s too much in my book, he has become out of touch with the F1 community and really hasn´t a clear idea about what the issue is, nor does he acknowledge that you don´t simply drop someone like Kimi Raikkonen.