Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula 1 champion, pulled no punches in taking a shot at Lance Stroll for sitting out this past weekend’s F1 Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
Fellow Canadian Stroll skipped Saturday morning practice, with Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer telling the media in Germany that Stroll was ill ahead of practice.
That wasn’t good enough for Villeneuve.
“Even with a stomach ache, you just go racing,” Villeneuve, a former Williams and Honda as well as IndyCar driver, told Sky Italia.
Stroll is the son of Racing Point owner and Lawrence Stroll. Though Stroll and Villeneuve are fellow Canadians, they have sparred in the past.
“If you really want to make it in Formula 1, you don’t just drop out of a race,” Villeneuve said. “Either Lance is really in a lot of pain, which would mean he has something serious, or he just doesn’t have the will to make it at the highest level.”
Team principal Szafnauer said Stroll, who was replaced by Nico Hulkenberg, has not felt right for about the past two weeks and has repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19.
“He hasn’t been feeling great since Russia,” Szafnauer said. “I think he had a bit of a cold. At first we thought, ‘Well you had better get tested for the virus.’ We’ve tested him multiple times, including the pre-event test for this race. And he’s come back negative three or four times. He doesn’t have the classic COVID-19 symptoms, he just doesn’t feel well in himself.
“And last night he had a bit of an upset stomach. So he was on the toilet the whole time. And he said, ‘I’ve got rid of a lot of fluid, and I can’t get off the toilet for long enough to get in the race car.’ I don’t know if it’s something he ate, or if it’s a tummy bug. He just said, ‘I’m just not feeling up to it. We’re going to have a double header coming up soon. And I’d rather rest and get ready for that.’ “
The 2020 year of COVID-19 might not be a year to take shots at someone for calling in sick, even in Formula 1. What do you think? Lose some respect for Villeneuve on this one? Tells us what you think in the comments section below.
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