Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has weighed in on the Carlos Sainz-Ferrari-Lewis Hamilton saga, suggesting that Sainz may not play nice after Ferrari opted to replace him with Hamilton for the 2025 season.
Sainz appeared to have found a comfortable home at Ferrari after replacing Sebastian Vettel in 2021, expressing his desire for a long-term stay.
However, the shocking announcement of Hamilton’s multi-year deal with Ferrari for 2025 shattered those hopes, leaving Sainz as collateral damage.
With Charles Leclerc’s recent contract extension, Sainz, a two-time Grand Prix winner, is now in search of a new team, despite securing the only non-Red Bull victory in the 2023 season.
Villeneuve commented on Sainz’s situation, stating, “He is the big loser in this situation because his bargaining power, with Audi or anyone else, is much less. Sainz will have no interest in playing the team’s games.
Ferrari’s results for now count for zero; the only thing that will matter will be his results. He has to deliver them for his 2025 contract, possibly trying to beat Leclerc.
We’ll see how Mercedes handles the confrontation between Russell and Hamilton. And how it will work between Leclerc and Sainz, who now has nothing left to lose.”
Villeneuve, echoing Martin Brundle’s sentiments, believes that the combination of F1’s most decorated team with the sport’s most successful driver will create a formidable force that benefits Formula 1 as a whole.
He described it as “good news for all of us,” unexpected and exciting. The pairing of the greatest team of all time with the most successful driver is seen as a positive image operation for Ferrari and a great move for Hamilton.