Confidence of the Villeneuves | The Journal of Montreal

Gilles Villeneuve was Canada’s greatest ambassador on the planet in his day, all disciplines combined. But his career came to an abrupt end on May 8, 1982 in a horrific accident at Circuit Zolder, Belgium.

• Also read: Gilles Villeneuve, already 40 years old: always present

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• Also read: Gilles Villeneuve, already 40 years old: The drama in Zolder

Forty years later, the legend of the Little Prince, as he was affectionately known, is still alive, as his family recalled in an interview with the protocol.

His wife Joann, his son Jacques and his brother Jacques gave vivid testimonies about this driver who is revered not only by the public but also by his toughest opponents and the most seasoned journalists.

None of our stakeholders refused to answer our questions. It’s like four decades later they still have stories to tell and Villeneuve’s memory will never be forgotten.


flat out

That cataclysmic day will forever be etched in the memory of members of his family and the people conquered in advance. The spectacular run of this racing acrobat was anything but ordinary. They all regret that this terrible slip-up happened when safety was not a priority in Formula 1.

Even when the driver from Quebec, who went bankrupt at the age of 32, had been betrayed in Italy two weeks earlier by his teammate Didier Pironi and had presented himself in Belgium with a knife between his teeth.

Although he never became world champion, as he craved, Villeneuve was distinguished by his skill at the wheel, his will to win and a determination that sometimes exceeded understanding.







He had only one motto: go all out.

Our columnist Réjean Tremblay evokes fond memories of his former colleague The pressRichard Chartier, who then parachuted into the world of Formula 1, says he couldn’t tell the difference between a spark plug and a…piston.

Following Villeneuve’s adventures around the world, Chartier also had the great privilege of meeting Enzo Ferrari, founder of the eponymous manufacturer and the man who, against all odds, entrusted the Quebecer at the wheel of one of his single-seaters at the end of the 1977 season.

On Sunday, drivers who knew him, including his former Formula Atlantic team-mate Richard Spénard, and other younger people also agreed to speak about Gilles Villeneuve, who they see as a true inspiration.

Everyone who took part in our report agrees. Gilles Villeneuve was an extraordinary character and a man of incomparable charisma.

Gilles Villeneuve in numbers


COURTESY, Formula1.com May 8th marks the 40th anniversary

It is the number of departure for life by Gilles Villeneuve in Formula 1 from 1977 to 1982. Only one was not driven aboard a Ferrari, it was at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone during its Formula 1 naming ceremony on 16 July 1977 with a McLaren.


COURTESY, Formula1.com May 8th marks the 40th anniversary

Gilles Villeneuve won six F1 wins its first, more memorable, on October 8, 1978 (photo). The following year followed three successes in South Africa (Kyalami Circuit) and two in the United States, in Long Beach (California) and in Watkins Glen, New York State. His last two were used successively in Monaco and Jarama, Spain, in 1981.


COURTESY, Formula1.com May 8th marks the 40th anniversary

Aside from his six wins, he reached the podium on seven other occasions, most recently at Imola (2and) 1982 (photo). He climbed the grandstand of the circuit that now bears his name on Île Notre-Dame (2nd floor) in 1979and place) and 1981 (3rd place)and).


COURTESY, Formula1.com May 8th marks the 40th anniversary

He was the first and only competitor at the 1979 United States Grand Prix, held on the streets of Long Beach, California Grand Slam of his Formula 1 career, which consists of taking the lead, setting the fastest lap of the race and leading all laps until the curtain falls.


COURTESY, Formula1.com May 8th marks the 40th anniversary

It is that number he wore in the last two years of his F1 career, 1981 and 1982.


COURTESY, Formula1.com May 8th marks the 40th anniversary

It is the number of tricks he performed during his F1 career. He twice led the field at the Canadian Grand Prix, in 1978 (21 laps) en route to his first win and the following year (50) where he finished second, barely a second behind the winner, Australian Alan Jones. Overall, between 1978 and 1982, Villeneuve finished first in 18 Grands Prix.

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