Jacques Villeneuve has questioned the timing of the announcement that he would not be driving in the Le Mans 24 Hours after being dropped by the Vanwall squad.
It was announced last week that 1997 Formula 1 champion Villeneuve would be dropped for the upcoming 24 Hours race owing to underperformance and the impending arrival of his daughter.
However, Villeneuve, who could have completed the Triple Crown if the #4 ByKolles machine had won the event overall, has raised doubts about the timing of the announcement, as his daughter was born a day later on May 26th.
Villeneuve also explained that he will sit out the remainder of the 2023 WEC season as a result of the announcement, with which he is "deeply disheartened."
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Villeneuve questions Le Mans decision
"I am deeply disappointed to have learned of my replacement for the upcoming Le Mans 24 Hours, through a public announcement released by the Vanwall Racing Team ByKolles on May 25th, 2023," explained Villeneuve who also won the Indianapolis 500 in 1995.
"To date, I have not received any official communication from the team, which is even more surprising given that I am still under contract to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
"The timing of the release strangely coincided with my impending arrival at the hospital for the birth of our baby daughter, which had been planned for May 26th.
"ByKolles was well aware of this personal family event, rendering me unable to respond or address this sudden announcement.
"As a racing family, we have always successfully balanced our personal lives with our professional careers, with racing always holding a prominent place.
"In fact, my preparation for the Le Mans 24 Hours event was meticulous and well-organised.
"Considerable time and effort were dedicated to achieving peak physical and mental readiness for this extraordinary challenge that I was really looking forward to.
"Following victories in the Indy 500, IndyCar and the F1 Championship, the Le Mans 24 Hours holds special significance for me.
"Consequently, I am deeply disheartened that the opportunity to participate has been unjustly and arbitrarily denied.
"Under these circumstances, I have made the decision to abstain from participating in the remainder of the WEC season with ByKolles.
"Instead, I will redirect my focus and energies towards preparing for a more successful and professionally fulfilling 2024 racing season."
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