Gilles Villeneuve: A pilot beyond the numbers | Fans

Sports car Gilles Villeneuve: A driver beyond the numbers

In motorsport, as in many other fields, talent cannot always be measured by statistics. Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve, born in 1950, in Canada. He began racing a snowmobile (a type of snowmobile), in 1976 he was Canadian and American Formula Atlantic champion and impressed James Hunt by beating him and other Formula 1 drivers in a three-way race. Rivers.

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This performance earned him an invitation to participate, as McLaren’s third driver, in the 1977 British GP where he started 9th but only finished 11th, due to mechanical problems. Despite the praise he received, McLaren did not sign him, but in 1977 Ferrari asked him to become Carlos Reutemann’s teammate.

His first victory was at the 1978 Canadian GP (to date, he was the only Canadian to win on home soil). He had some excellent races, but I think the fight with René Arnoux for second place, in the final laps of the 1979 French GP, is the one we remember most. Arnoux even declared: “He surpassed me, yes, and in France… But that doesn’t worry me. I know I was beaten by the best driver in the world.

Villeneuve worked at Ferrari from 1977 to 1982. Besides Reutemann, his teammates were Jody Scheckter and Didier Pironi. He competed in 67 GPs, with 6 victories, 13 podiums and a second place in 1979. This year, his teammate Jody Schecket was champion, but despite his second place, Gilles took 3 victories – the same number as his teammate – and was placed behind only because he was less consistent (which is justified by his aggressiveness, because he was a driver who took a lot of risks and this certainly hurt his score).

Gilles died in 1982, in a terrible accident during qualifying practice for the Belgian GP, ​​on the Zolder circuit. He was taking a fast lap when, on a bend, he encountered Jochen Mass at a slower speed. Mass tried to give in by moving to the right, but Gilles did the same. The Ferrari collided with the March, which triggered a series of rollovers… The images are strong.

He was only 32 years old and had a future that everyone thought was very promising. After his death, other serious accidents occurred in 1982, which encouraged the use of carbon fiber in the chassis (McLaren had already been using it since the previous year). Attention has focused on driver safety, including encouraging radio communication for safety alerts and discussions about seat belts and tires used for classification races. As for the belts, changes have been made in terms of quality. The Zolder circuit had its safety questioned and was only used again for a Formula 1 race.

Gilles Villeneuve leaves behind a wife and two children, including Jacques Villeneuve, champion of Formula Indy, the Indianapolis 500 (both in 1995) and Formula 1 in 1997.

Gilles Villeneuve’s career in Formula 1 was short but impressive. Even without a world title, he won a large number of fans around the world, not only during his time, but also afterward. The reason for this? Your passion, your skill, your audacity. Considered by many as an incomparable driver, Gilles is an icon who is still remembered today. If you haven’t seen Gilles race, it’s important to watch the races he competed in to understand (and feel) the reason for all the fan fascination. Without a doubt, he was one of the greatest drivers world motorsport has ever known.


Benjamin Allen

"Evil pop culture fanatic. Extreme bacon geek. Food junkie. Thinker. Hipster-friendly travel nerd. Coffee buff."

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