Former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve believes that Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is getting protection from the FIA due to the lack of response to his aggressive driving style.
Verstappen has faced criticism in the past for his driving style, and is under fire again for his defensive moves during the Belgian Grand Prix, with other drivers claiming that he will cause an accident in the future if he continues to drive in the same manner.
Villeneuve believes that the FIA are the key reason why the Dutchman has not received any punishment, as they want to protect the large attraction and box office that he brings to the sport.
“The issue is the FIA, because it looks like he’s got protection,” Villeneuve spoke.
“They want him to be a star.
“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.”
Unlike many fans, Villeneuve has not been won over by Verstappen, and claims that the way he drove in Belgium was “unacceptable”.
“It’s way too much. The start is racing. It’s too much, but it’s racing,” Villeneuve added.
“Because every expert driver, that’s like GP2, you know that if you go to inside there will be an incident, because there is not enough room. You know it.
“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’.
“Relax, relax. You know you took a big risk and it did not pay off. You destroyed their race and you destroyed your own race. That’s fine. That’s life.
“But what he did afterwards that’s not acceptable. What he did to Kimi twice on the straight, and to Vettel as well. Just calm down. You’re going to kill someone.“