Jacques Villeneuve Lowers the Boom on Daniel Ricciardo: 'Why is he still in F1? Why?'

f1 grand prix of canada practice
Jacques Villeneuve: Why Is Ricciardo Still in F1?Bryn Lennon - Formula 1 - Getty Images

Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula 1 World Champion, wonders why Daniel Ricciardo is still racing in the series, pointing to the Australian’s recent lack of results.

Ricciardo departed McLaren in 2022, two years into a three-year deal, after struggling alongside Lando Norris, and did not seal a full-time seat in 2023. Ricciardo returned to the grid mid-2023 with AlphaTauri—now RB—but has scored only one top-10 finish in a Grand Prix in that period, and none in 2024.

Ricciardo picked up five points—his only five points of the season—by finishing fourth in Miami’s Sprint Race. Meanwhile, teammate Yuki Tsunoda has amassed 19 points courtesy of five top-10 results.


The possible pathway to a Red Bull return for 33-year-old Ricciardo was closed off this week when the squad retained Sergio Perez on a two-year deal.

auto prix f1 can practice1
Daniel Ricciardo is still seeking his first top-10 finish of the 2024 season.CHARLY TRIBALLEAU - Getty Images

Tsunoda is favored for an RB stay into 2025 but Ricciardo is under pressure amid the presence of reserve driver Liam Lawson, who impressed during his five-race stint when he subbed for an injured Ricciardo in 2023.

Villeneuve, appearing as a pundit on Sky Sports F1 at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, said: “Why is he still in F1? Why? We’re hearing the same thing now for the last four or five years, ‘we have to make the car better for him, poor him’. Sorry, it’s been five years of that, no, you’re in F1.

f1 emilia romagna grand prix 2024 qualifying
Jacques VilleneuveNurPhoto - Getty Images

“Maybe you make that effort for a Lewis Hamilton, who’s won multiple championships, you don’t make that effort for a driver that can’t cut it, if you can’t cut it go home, there’s someone else to take your place, that’s how it’s always been in racing, it’s the pinnacle of the sport, there’s no reason to keep going and to keep finding excuses.”

Ricciardo has been a popular figure in Formula 1 courtesy of his ebullient personality and has been a key pillar in Netflix’s Drive to Survive docuseries, with episodes frequently focused on Ricciardo.

According to Villeneuve, that has facilitated Ricciardo’s position on the grid.

“You all talk about that first season [at Red Bull in 2014], he was beating a [Sebastian] Vettel that was burnt out, that was trying to invent things with the car to go win and just making a mess of his weekends,” Villeneuve said.

“Then he was beating for half a season [Max] Verstappen, when Verstappen was 18 years old, just starting, that was it, he stopped beating anyone after that.

“I think his image has kept him in F1 more than his actual results.”