Jacques Villeneuve has hit out at McLaren for effectively telling David Coulthard that he will be leaving the team at the end of next season.
Next season will be Coulthard's ninth at McLaren
Juan Pablo Montoya looks certain to team up with Kimi Raikkonen when he joins McLaren from Williams in 2005.
And Villeneuve believes it will be hard for Coulthard to shine next year knowing he is set for the exit door.
"How can David perform next season? How can he feel wanted now?" said Villeneuve.
Villeneuve and Coulthard are close friends and have placed their motorhomes next door to each other at European races.
"They have announced Montoya so early," said Villeneuve.
"I think they wanted to cheese Williams off so much that they would tell Montoya 'we don't want you for next year so go and drive for McLaren'."
Montoya, however, insisted earlier this week that he will be at Williams next season.
Villeneuve has admitted he is struggling to land a drive for 2004 after losing his place at BAR to Japan's Takuma Sato.
And the 32-year-old Canadian, who won the title with Williams in 1997, knows he is unlikely to figure in his former team's plans when they look for a replacement for Montoya.
"They won't go for me. I must have cheesed them off somehow," said Villeneuve. "That was obvious with comments that [Williams technical director] Patrick Head made recently."
Head claimed towards the end of last season that Villeneuve's determination to go his own way on car set-up in 1997 had almost cost him the championship.
Villeneuve took the title in the final race after surviving Ferrari rival Michael Schumacher's attempt to force him off the track.
"If I had done everything they had wanted then I wouldn't have won the championship," said Villeneuve.