Jacques Villeneuve believes that Sebastian Vettel won't step aside any time soon, even if his form has dipped, saying that the German driver could be viewing his new role simply as a job.
Vettel has moved to Aston Martin for 2021, having found refuge at the team after being ousted from Ferrari. His form in 2020 was dreadful, while the first five races of 2021 have yielded little until a marked improvement in Monaco.
"This weekend was good, before that it was just a continuation of the last two Ferrari years. That was sad to see," Villeneuve told Motorsport-Magazin.
"This weekend, he made the difference. The car is not what they expected. The old Mercedes doesn't work with the new rules. As a team, you can't develop that."
Asked about whether he thinks Vettel should have stepped aside from Formula 1 after such a bad year in 2020, Villeneuve scoffed at the idea and said "Why? He drives in Formula 1 and he makes a lot of money.
"People always say, 'Oh, he's not winning, he should step down.' It's like everything in life: it's a job too. It's fun to race, but it's also a job. With this you pay for your children's education. You pay for everything with it.
"If you can still drive in Formula 1, something competitive, having fun driving a car and making millions in the process, why should you step down? Unless you're scared of dying or something. It's always the craziest question I'm asked."
Villeneuve has been a vocal critic of Vettel in the past, but defended the German after his particularly strong weekend in Monaco where the Aston Martin driver finished fifth after a good strategy call from the team: "You will not do a good qualifying in Monaco if you no longer have the fire or the passion."