Jacques Villeneuve has praised Juan Pablo Montoya for having the courage to defect to NASCAR - and taken a swipe at team bosses for draining the personality out of Formula One.
Villeneuve saluted a "ballsy and gutsy" decision from Montoya, who ditched Formula One for the United States-based stock car racing series after struggling to find a 2007 seat.
But Villeneuve, aged 35, also hit out at Formula One's obsession with youth, claiming young drivers are not as exciting as the likes of Montoya.
Asked whether the fiery Colombian will be missed by Formula One, he said: "Depends with whom he is replaced, which means probably.
"If it is a 20-year-old just out of Formula Ford, it won't be exciting because he will be groomed so correctly."
Villeneuve is fighting to find a driving contract for 2007, with his BMW-Sauber seat under pressure from rookie test driver Robert Kubica, who has become a protege of team boss Mario Theissen.
Montoya was facing a similar scenario at McLaren, where rookies Lewis Hamilton and German Touring Car Series driver Gary Paffett wait in the wings and Villeneuve lashed out at teams for hiring drivers on the cheap.
He said: "I think the teams have decided they can find a rare diamond who will be the next Fernando Alonso and will stay with them and will cost them no money.
"What they fail to realise is that when he becomes quick, another team will come in for him - they groomed him and it served no purpose to the team.
"The driver is the one who gains, not the team. It's worked with one person, but what they don't realise is it hasn't worked with 20 others."
As well as taking tips from how NASCAR recruit drivers, Villeneuve also urged Formula One to consider taking inspiration from their calendar.
A hectic schedule includes 40 races, more than twice the number of grands prix, but Villeneuve believes that represents better value for money than the intensive testing periods favoured in Formula One.
He said: "I'd like 30 races and no testing, that would be bliss, fantastic. When we go testing, we do two race distances in a day for no reason, we just go round and round the circuit with no fans there. We probably take more risks than when we are racing and there are not the medical facilities, it's ridiculous.
"We spend more money testing than racing. What's the point? It's just boring."
Villeneuve himself could yet join Montoya in NASCAR after confirming he would consider the switch when his Formula One days do finally come to an end.
He has already raced in the US-based CART series, winning on the famous oval at the Indianapolis Speedway in 1995.
He said: "I have raced in a lot of categories so I can adapt to anything, I've raced on ovals. NASCAR has always looked very exciting.
"It's great racing so it is something I would look at if there's no Formula One available."
But Villeneuve has no intention of leaving Formula One at the end of the year, claiming he is a bargain for any team willing to offer him one last drive.