Jacques Villeneuve has slammed the abuse he has received over the controversy surrounding Charles Leclerc using his father’s helmet design at the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix.
On Friday, Leclerc unveiled the tribute helmet sporting the iconic red and black used by former Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve, after whom the Canadian Grand Prix venue is named.
But Leclerc’s announcement surprised the Villeneuve family as neither the Ferrari driver nor his management asked the family for permission.
After talks between Leclerc and Villeneuve’s sister, Melanie, who controls the rights to her late father’s image, the issue was settled, and Leclerc was allowed to use the design from Saturday onwards.
But before the true nature of the case was made public, 1997 world champion Villeneuve received a barrage of abuse on social media after he was seen denying Leclerc the right to honor his father, who died in qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix.
On his social media channels, the former Williams and Honda driver posted a message to “clarify the situation regarding a recent incident where some individuals felt the need to insult me and my family due to Charles Leclerc using my father’s helmet”.
Villeneuve lamented that the incident appeared to be worse than it was reported by some commentators on the media and social media, as the feud was settled amicably.
“Unfortunately, the incident was blown out of proportion, turning it into unnecessary controversy,” he added.
Helmet honoring Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
Photo by: Ferrari
Leclerc invited Villeneuve’s family to the ring and posed for pictures with them and the helmet of honor on Saturday after the matter was settled.
“We had a heartfelt conversation where he sincerely apologized for the situation,” Villeneuve explained.
“I reassured him that I considered it a touching tribute and that I personally had no problem with it.
“However, I stressed the importance of communicating with my sister, as she is the one in charge of managing everything related to our dad. I also suggested he invite my sister and mom to the track to address any remaining concerns.”
“Charles was very nice about that,” his sister Melanie told Motorsport.com on Saturday. “We have no objections. It’s a nice tribute.”
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