The 1997 Formula One World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve, has never been short of candor, even as his active racing career has dwindled over the last few years.
He’s got the racing part back, announcing Thursday he will compete for the Scottish Albatec Racing team in the new World Rallycross Championship. This WRC is a different rally series from the FIA World Rally Championship (also WRC), and is also different than Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC), which despite its name is a primarily U.S.-based series.
Villeneuve will race a 600 bhp Peugeot 208 in the championship that competes, like both the other WRC and GRC, on gravel and asphalt surfaces with a series of jumps.
Now that that confusing bit is out of the way, here’s the less confusing bit: Villeneuve doesn’t like the direction F1 is going.
“I don’t understand what they are trying to do. I don’t understand the concept,” he told Autosport at the time of his rally program reveal.
“Formula 1 is not epic anymore, the drivers are not heroes. The problem is that the changes are being made in an artificial way and that doesn’t work.”
He also said that when it gets “boring,” the rules tend to get, in his words, more “artificial.”
Villeneuve went through several iterations of F1 in his own career from 1996 through 2006.
His first two years saw some cockpit design changes, the elimination of V12 engines and the shift to car numbers based on the previous year’s Constructor’s Championship. In 1998, grooved tires were introduced, which added another element to the show.
The V10s omnipresent through 2005 before they took a final bow, as the then-new V8 powerplants were introduced that year.
We’re all waiting to see how the 2014 season shakes out before making any harsh judgments, but Villeneuve’s coming at it from a soundbite-worthy, “hope it doesn’t take a turn for the worse” mentality.