Pushing Charles Leclerc to Ferrari would be a big mistake, says former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.
Although the Maranello squad is yet to officially announce its second driver for 2019, there is a lot of news in the Italian and Spanish media about Kimi Raikkonen getting a new two-year deal with the Italian outfit.
Last month, there was a lot of speculation on Leclerc getting promoted to the Ferrari squad after the rookie showed a great form in the last few races.
Irrespective of the speculation and Leclerc’s performance, Villeneuve says Ferrari should continue its tried and trusted tradition of hiring only proven drivers.
Explaining his opinion, Villeneuve said: “Of course, look at the work he [Raikkonen] has been doing,”
“He’s third in the championship, he’s often quicker than Vettel, when he’s not he’s what, a tenth behind? He’s paramount in the development of the car.
“The whole team works fantastically well now, put a young cub next to Vettel. What will Vettel do? He’ll try to eat him alive.
“And either he will destroy the young cub, or it’ll end in tears and the whole team will end up going slower within two years, so that’s not constructive.”
Leclerc still needs to master his craft and develop some experience to drive alongside a four-time world champion, he added.
“Charles is still making a few mistakes, it would be great for Leclerc, it would be amazing for him, but it would be two years of Ferrari preparing him,” the 1997 world champion explained.
“Ferrari is like Mercedes, it’s not a team to prepare drivers. It’s a top team. Top teams, they buy and they pay the drivers as when they’re at their best and when they want them.
“That’s why you have junior teams to prepare them.”