Charles Leclerc's attitude hurt Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel claims Jacques Villeneuve
Jacques Villeneuve has questioned Charles Leclerc's attitude during his first season at Ferrari, claiming it hurt the team and Sebastian Vettel's performance during the 2019 Formula 1 season.
The 1997 F1 champion, writing in his column for Dutch website Formule1.nl, believes the 22-year-old should have accepted a second driver role within the team for his first year, which would have allowed him to learn from Vettel without upsetting the balance.
However Leclerc made it clear from the second race of the season that he was unwilling to do so by ignoring team orders to stay behind Vettel during the early stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix – a race Leclerc would have gone on to win had it not been for an engine problem.
But Villeneuve reckons that and other moments during the season upset the driver chemistry as Leclerc tried to prove he "is the future".
"Ferrari fell apart this year," wrote the Canadian racer. "A lot depends on your two drivers and the chemistry in the team was just not in balance.
"Ferrari never said to Leclerc 'look it's your first year with us, your second year in F1. Relax, learn from Vettel.' Then the team would have moved further ahead than now.
"Instead, from the first race, Leclerc has had the charisma of 'I'm going to show that I'm the boss and that Vettel is the past. I am the future.' And there was a wave among the fans that Leclerc is coming to save us and the media went along with it.
"I think that hurt Vettel. A similar situation with Ricciardo at the time at Red Bull. That didn't help Vettel.
"But Leclerc simply wasn't ready for that role. This year he drove for pole positions and sometimes for victories but not for the championship. So this whole situation has damaged Ferrari.
"I don't know what Mattia Binotto could do about that. I do not know the agreements, in the days of [Eddie] Irvine and [Rubens] Barrichello this was simply established from the start."
Leclerc finished fourth in the standings with nine pole positions and two race wins, 24 points more than Vettel.