Former F1 World Champion Praises Fernando Alonso, Bashes Nico Rosberg

Most Formula One fans would lump Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso into the same category: great racers. One former F1 world champion, however, doesn’t quite see it that way.

Jacques Villeneuve, who won the world title for Williams in 1997, recently told Spanish publication AS, via FOX Sports, that Fernando Alonso is “a real driver” for choosing to compete in the Indianapolis 500. As someone who’s tried his hand at each event in racing’s triple crown, it’s not surprising for Villeneuve to praise Alonso for branching outside of the F1 paddock.

But the Canadian driver’s criticism, albeit underhanded, of fellow-F1 world champion Rosberg, is a little unexpected.

“I heard (F1 drivers) Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean giving their opinion about what Alonso is doing — Hulkenberg said it’s dangerous, that he wouldn’t do it, that he did Le Mans because it was different,” Villeneuve told AS, via FOX Sports.

“It sounds like excuses. … I think there are two classes of drivers. You’re either an Alonso or you’re a Rosberg. And Hulkenberg is a Rosberg.”

After winning last season’s championship, the 31-year-old Rosberg surprised many by deciding to retire. This apparently doesn’t align with the beliefs of Villeneuve who, despite seeing virtually no success in NASCAR, IndyCar or F1 since his 1997 title, is very much a racing junkie.

Personally, we love Alonso’s decision to compete in the Indy 500 and hope other professional drivers follow his lead. But we also believe all drivers, regardless of their success or circuit of choice, have the right to end their careers on their own terms.

Thumbnail photo via Flickr/Smudge 9000

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