Villeneuve hits out at Verstappen signing
23 August 2014 – 1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villenuve has hit out at Red Bull's decision to promote Max Verstappen to a Toro Rosso seat for 2015, claiming it is the 'worst thing ever' for the sport.
Verstappen, 16, will race for Toro Rosso next season despite spending just a single season in car racing, having only stepped up from karting at the start of 2014.
Whereas the majority of current Formula 1 drivers were positive about Verstappen's chances, Villeneuve was less enthusiastic.
"It is the worst thing ever for Formula 1 because it will have two effects," Villeneuve told Autosport.
"It will either destroy him [Verstappen] or, even if he is successful right away, then F1 will be meaningless. What will F1 be? It will be nothing. It doesn't do any good for anyone.
"It does a good splash of publicity now for Red Bull but putting a Red Bull helmet on his head for four years probably would have been better."
Villeneuve believes that Verstappen's rapid ascension devalues the purpose of a Formula 1 Super Licence.
"Getting a Super License should be meaningful, not just doing three hundred kilometres and it being fine," he added.
"There is something that is flawed there. Basically, it's like getting all the presents without deserving anything. But there is this thing of 'the younger, the better'. What's the next step? A team who will sign someone at 15 just to get the image out of it?
"He is still a boy so it is very risky. You don't take a 16-year-old, who hasn't even been to university, in the best hospital as a doctor even if he is very good and very intelligent. You need to pay dues; you need to deserve it because that is only how you will become a man."