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Jacques Villeneuve

Villeneuve issues statement following Leclerc tribute helmet issue

Jacques Villeneuve believes that the family's reaction to Charles Leclerc's tribute helmet has been "blown out of proportion".

Leclerc Villeneuve helmet Canada 2023
To news overview © Ferrari

Jacques Villeneuve has sought to clarify the issues surrounding Charles Leclerc's helmet design, which is a tribute to his Formula 1 racing driver father, Gilles.

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, Leclerc unveiled a helmet design which replicated the one used by legendary Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve, whom the Montreal circuit is named after.

Gilles Villeneuve claimed his first victory for Ferrari at the Montreal track in 1978, and the venue was named in his honour following his death at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder.

Having used the red-and-black helmet design early in the weekend, Leclerc reverted to a predominantly red design for Free Practice 2 and 3 before switching to the Villeneuve tribute design for Qualifying.

According to Jacques, the Villeneuve family were not asked prior to the helmet design being used, but confirmed that Leclerc had apologised and followed his recommendation to invite the family to the circuit to discuss the matter.

In a statement issued on social media, Jacques said that he and his family have since been the subject of insults after the incident, and he believed the situation had turned into an "unnecessary controversy".

Villeneuve statement in full:

"To clarify the situation regarding the recent incident where some individuals felt the need to insult me and my family over Charles Leclerc using my dad's helmet, I want to provide some context:

"As I was arriving at the track, my sister called me in a state of anger. She had seen Charles using our dad's helmet without any prior knowledge or communication about it. The entire family was taken by surprise, as we had not been informed beforehand.

"I Immediately conveyed the message to Charles, who was kind enough to give me a call. We had a heartfelt conversation where he sincerely apologized for the situation. I reassured him that I considered it a touching tribute and that I personally had no issues with it.

"However, I stressed the importance of him reaching out to my sister, as she is the one responsible for managing everything related to our dad. I also suggested that he invite both my sister and mother to the track to address any remaining concerns.

"Fortunately, everything eventually worked out, but it would have been preferable for these discussions and arrangements to take place before the weekend in a respectful and professional manner.

"Unfortunately, the incident was blown out of proportion, turning it into an unnecessary controversy..."

F1 2023 Canadian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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