After fellow French Canadian Stroll made his 2017 debut, 1997 world champion Villeneuve said he was the worst rookie in Williams’ great history.
Now, Villeneuve has told Sky Italia that Williams reserve Robert Kubica may deliberately sabotage the development of the team’s car, so as to take Stroll’s race seat.
“I’m not aware of this story. I have not read his comments, so I cannot comment on them,” Stroll told reporters in Bahrain.
But when pressed again, Stroll lashed out at Villeneuve.
“Last year he said I was the worst rookie in F1. But the last time I checked, I managed a podium.
“I started from the first row, I collected 40 points — three less than my teammate who had 16 years of experience.
“So I do not listen to what Jacques has to say. I have many other priorities on my list before I get to him,” he said in French.
However, Stroll acknowledges that he and rookie teammate Sergey Sirotkin are facing a tough challenge with Williams’ 2018 car.
“I feel good because there are new things on the car this weekend,” he said in Bahrain.
“But it’s true that Melbourne was frustrating. With the car we had, we were not even close to going into Q3.”
Asked what is wrong with the Williams, the 19-year-old answered: “I do not want to go into details. It’s between us and the engineers in the technical meetings, but we know what we need to improve.”