Villeneuve bizarrely blames Leclerc after Ferrari 'fell apart' in 2019

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1997 Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve claims Charles Leclerc's desire to make an impact at Ferrari led to the team falling apart in 2019

The Monegasque's promotion from Sauber was one of the big stories heading into this season with many predicting he would take the fight to teammate Sebastian Vettel.

And that is exactly how it went with Leclerc claiming two wins and seven poles to finish ahead of the four-time world champion in the Drivers' standings, yet somehow the controversial Canadian equates that to being Ferrari's biggest problem this year.

“Ferrari fell apart this year,” he told Dutch publication Formule 1. 

“A lot depends on your two drivers, and the chemistry within the team just was not in balance.

“Ferrari never said to Leclerc: ‘It’s your first year with us, your second year in F1. Relax, learn from Vettel'. [If they had,] then the team would have moved further forward than now.

“Instead, from the first race, Leclerc has had the attitude of ‘I’m going to show that I’m the boss and that Vettel is the past. I am the future.’

“There was a wave among the fans of ‘Leclerc is coming to save us’ and the media went along with it.

“I think that hurt Vettel, so this whole situation has damaged Ferrari and I don’t know what [team boss] Mattia Binotto could do about that."

Of course, in blaming Leclerc for not wanting to be subservient to Vettel, Villeneuve is completely ignoring that when Ferrari had a car capable of fighting at the front in the early races, notably Bahrain and Baku, it was Charles leading the charge, not Vettel.

And most of the time, the Italian team was simply inferior to their rivals, particularly Mercedes, as Binotto himself has admitted.

“I think we lost this last year when designing that car because at the end we were not competitive at the start of the season and there are reasons for it,” he told RaceFans.

“Our design was not as good as our main competitors, so I think that’s it.

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“It has been an intense season, a lot to do. We restructured, reorganised the team,” Binotto added.

“But I think in the meantime we always tried to address and improve the car and we simply did it through the season at least on some level.

“And now the season’s over we are going on to the next one.”