1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has released a statement clarifying the situation regarding Charles Leclerc’s tribute helmet in Canada.

At last weekend’s event, Leclerc sported a helmet livery in honour of Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques’ father.

Villeneuve senior, who passed away in 1982, won six grand prix with Ferrari prior to his death at the Belgian Grand Prix.

During the race weekend in Montreal weekend, it emerged that the Villeneuve family was reportedly unhappy with Leclerc’s use of the helmet.

Leclerc used his traditional race helmet during Friday practice after he had unveiled the special design, before switching to the tribute scheme on Saturday.

Taking to social media on Sunday, Villeneuve stated that his family was “taken by surprise” over Leclerc’s decision but asserted that all parties resolved the situation.

“To clarify the situation regarding the recent incident where some individuals felt the need to insult me and my family over Charles Leclerc using my dad’s helmet, I want to provide some context,” Villeneuve said.

“As I was arriving at the track, my sister called me in a state of anger. She had seen Charles using our dad’s helmet without any prior knowledge or communication about it. 

“The entire family was taken by surprise, as we had not been informed beforehand.  I immediately conveyed the message to Charles, who was kind enough to give me a call. 

“We had a heartfelt conversation where he sincerely apologised for the situation. I reassured him that I considered it a touching tribute and that I personally had no issues with it.  

“However, I stressed the importance of him reaching out to my sister, as she is the one responsible for managing everything related to our dad. 

“I also suggested that he invite both our sister and mother to the track to address any remaining concerns.  

“Fortunately, everything eventually worked out, but it would have been preferable for these discussions and arrangements to take place before the weekend in a respectful and professional manner.  

“Unfortunately, the incident was blown out of proportion, turning it into an unnecessary controversy.”

Leclerc ended the Canadian Grand Prix in fourth place, having started the race from 10th on the grid.

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