Villeneuve blames insufficient testing after brake failure ends Vanwall’s second race

World Endurance Championship

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Vanwall WEC driver Jacques Villeneuve says the team’s lack of testing with their hypercar is to blame for the technical problems they have endured over the first two rounds.

Their Vandervell 680 – one of only two non-hybrid hypercars competing in this year’s championship, alongside Glickenhaus – suffered multiple trips to the garage during the opening round of the season at Sebring. Villeneuve then suffered brake failure with more than an hour remaining at last weekend’s Six Hours of Portimao, leading to the car’s retirement after he spun out and hit the tyre barriers.

The 1997 Formula 1 world champion blamed the team’s limited testing of their all-new machine for the many problems they have experienced in the early phase of the championship.

“Compared to most of our competitors, we have not been able to sufficiently test our car ahead of the season,” Villeneuve said. “We therefore suffer from technical issues which we have to fix during the race weekends.

“In Sebring, we had to deal with suspension failure which ended our race prematurely, and in Portimao, I lost the front right brake entering turn 10 with one hour and 20 minutes to go until the chequered flag.

“I was feeling the brake pedal going longer a few laps before the failure and I had to slow my lap times in order to manage as best as I could. Unfortunately, we could not finish the race.”

Villeneueve, who shares the car with team mates Tom Dillmaan and Esteban Guerrieri, said a number of interruptions during practice sessions leading up to the race further disrupted his preparation for the race.

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“On the track, it was hard to find some rhythm as my Friday free practice sessions were disturbed by red and yellow flags,” he explained. “These sessions are actually crucial for us to compensate our lack of testing mileage.

Vanwall are yet to finish a race this season
“The start of my race stint also proved challenging as I was requested by the pit wall to stop the car in order to reset the electronic system before I could rejoin the race.”

Making matters worse, Villeneuve also revealed he “suffered from a stomach bug” during last weekend’s WEC round at the Autodromo do Algarve.

Vanwall have one further race weekend at Spa-Francorchamps to try to gain more mileage before the ultimate test of the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

“I think the circuit will suit our car better and I personally love this track,” Villeneuve said of Spa. “I am usually pretty quick there so I hope that we will come out of the weekend with more positive feelings.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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3 comments on “Villeneuve blames insufficient testing after brake failure ends Vanwall’s second race”

  1. As someone who hasn’t really been following WEC I was legitimately convinced I was reading an article from the past.

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      18th April 2023, 11:51

      And a rather confusing one to boot

  2. A glance at the different driver’s lap times from the first two races of the year indicates that Jacques has been around 4 to 5 seconds per lap slower than the lead drivers Tom Dilmann and Esteban Guerrieri, which is shockingly slow. As a result his race stints have been much much shorter.

    While JV showed sheer brilliance in his career from 1993 to 2001 or so, his pace dropped off there after at a very sharp rate to the point that in 2005 he was regularly amongst the slowest drivers on the grid along with the Minardis and Jordans, and he’s never really recovered that pace even in other series like Formula E. It seems age doesn’t act the same for everyone unfortunately. I can’t imagine him staying in this seat for much longer.

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