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Gilles Villeneuve
1982
Already thirty-five years have gone by since that tragic May 8, 1982. We have been growing up, we have studied and worked, we have loved and hated, we have gone through happy and sad times, riding the History, without even realize it. Everything has been so awfully ordinary for some of us and maybe terribly fantastic for some others, but we are all aware we have totally lived and we have been the main characters of our lives and this means something, doesn't it?
It has not been the same for all of us, there are people who cannot read these pages because they let us be witnesses of their existence, whether they are famous or unknown people. Our families and friends have been our companions in our lives but in our hearts they still lend us their hands, wherever they are. I like thinking this is the right way; maybe Somebody has decided to take our beloved away from us to give them the opportunity to help us in their blessed position. No problems, no troubles, no obstacles: up there they can do what they could not have done if they were here with us.
Gilles has left us his ventures, his career, his life. His pictures are now fading in the pages of old papers, but he has left indelible memories and traces of his personality inside of us; we have changed thinking about him and in our attempts to be like him we have maybe become better people. These past years have been of deep changes for all of us, but one aim is clear: never surrender!
 
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
January 18, 1950
Lovanio
May 8, 1982
 
1982
1982
1982
Without even knowing that, drivers are in the forefront of the proceeding of life and, it would stop, it would die.
Without even knowing that, they are colleagues of them who on different fronts are involved in the most difficult battles.
They share the same irresistible incentive which make them look ahead: scientists, doctors, artists, builders, explorers, Everest and K2 conquerors, technicians, aviators and why not, racing champions.
Of course some of these pioneers make the world better than some others, it's clear: put them all at the same level would be incorrect and absurd. But the driving vital energy is the same in the end.
This is the real way, the justification, the nobility of a sport would be seen, otherwise, such a sport with just a nonsense, a silly competition of wheels and nerve.

Dino Buzzati (writer)

Write to Gilles
writegilles@ventisetterosso.it
gilles@ventisetterosso.it

- 2001 -

  • You could have realized still a lot, you could have conquered many victories and reach many goals. We will do all this... for you.
    Fabrizio

- 2003 -

  • You left us... but even today you are the greatest driver of all times. We won't forget you.
    Emanuel

- 2004 -

  • Thanks for the good memories and the incredible races... we miss you a lot... wish you we're here.
    Ethan
  • I am very sad because you died before I was born, so I couldn't see you race...
    Damir
  • You are the best forever.
    Seppe, Jorg and Rudy

- 2006 -

  • Every night I pray for you, and I think of you as my father that guides my steps everytime I'm driving. You will always be my father from heaven. I wish I could tell you this personally: I love you daddy!
    Raluca
  • I'm Hungarian and I don't forget Gilles Villeneuve!
    Viktoria

- 2007 -

  • Saudades imensas do seu estilo de guiar... Hoje vc é uma estrela! Saudades...
    Cleiton
  • Nunca te olvidaremos, el 27 en nuestro corazon. Que grande eras!
    Gumer
  • E dia 8 de maio de 2007 está aí... O dia que marca os 25 anos da partida de Gilles Villeneuve. E como estamos com saudades... Ver a Fórmula 1 de hoje e lembrar dos tempos da década de '70 e meados da de '80 até nos dá mais tristeza ainda... Como sentimos falta do arrojo, da coragem, da irresponsabilidade e do desejo imenso de chegar ao final da corrida, não importando se faltando partes do carro, apenas pelo simples fato de terminar. Para Gilles, o importante era vencer a corrida, o título era consequência. E esse título tinha tudo pra vir em 1982, quando tinha o melhor carro. Mas o sonho parou em Zolder, naquele sombrio 08/05/1982. Gilles, que passou por inúmeros desafios, não conseguiu desviar da morte e ficamos órfãos da seu desejo de vencer, ainda que às vezes inconsequente. Lá se vai um quarto de século e a saudade continua... Mas temos certeza que hoje uma das inúmeras estrelas brilhantes do céu leva seu brilho. Não duvido que às vezes ele encarna numa estrela cadente, só pra correr um pouquinho... Saudades Gilles!
    Cleiton
  • Thank you for the most fantastic races we ever saw.. pure magic! We will never forget Gilles!
    Zeca and Tonya
  • Siempre te recordare, me crie viendo todas tus asañas, no puedo olvidarte, fuiste un ejemplo de persona y el hombre mas valeroso que tripulo maquina alguna, el 27 seguira grabado a fuego en mi vida...
    Fernando
  • You were the greatest! Thank you for showing that passion and courage lead to greatness.
    Gilles and Kathleen
  • Hoy cuando todo los tiffosi celebramos el titulo mundial de Kimi y también el de constructores no puede sino acordarme de Gilles, 25 años después de tu muerte tu memoria sigue viva en todos aquellos que amamos este deporte y a Ferrari. Nunca te olvidaremos Gilles.
    Gumer

- 2008 -

  • Gilles still lives!!!
    Lutje

- 2009 -

  • Gilles, cuanto te axtraño, nunca voy a olvidar al mas valiente de todos los pilotos. Te voy allevar siempre en mi corazon.
    Fernando
  • He raced only to demonstrate that he was the fastest, the best, the most loved... 27 years have passed since the man with his red 27 Ferrari died and he is still missed.
    Anastasia
  • Born in 1969, I picked my Formula 1 heroes carefully... First Ronnie, and I watched him die in 1978... Then Patrick, and I watched him die in 1980... Then Gilles. God, I would never pick a hero ever since and I shouldn't, because Formula 1 as it should be died ages ago...
    Marc

- 2010 -

  • There is not one race I can watch without thinking how much better it would be with Gilles at the wheel of a Ferrari! We miss you. Racing has not been the same without you. Gilles and Ferrari will always be synonymous. The others just drive for Ferrari, but Gilles is Ferrari!
    Markus

- 2012 -

  • You passed before I had even entered this world, and yet I find myself captured by your life. How a man can continue to inspire people after his death is beyond me, but your magic continues to do just that. I wish only that you have found the peace you deserve with God.
    James

- 2013 -

  • Thank you Gilles for your incredible talent, unbreakable spirit and unyielding attitude at all times. You are still a great inspiration to Formula 1 fans around the world. Your name will never be forgotten. You passed away approximately nine months before I was born and we share the same Zodiac sign. I wish I could say I was you in my past life, but that would be blasphemy. Rest in peace my dear Gilles.
    Klementina
Imola 1982 - The previous history
Imola 1982Imola 1982Imola 1982
It's a sad podium, that of San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, on April 25, 1982. The victory of Pironi is greeted with a roar of displeasure by the 180.000 fans attending the Santerno circuit. Everybody knew that this should have been Gilles's race because, in the previous years, he had gained this right. The right to be respected by a team to whom he gave a lot in terms of fame, results and, why not, myth.
However, as we all know, the result of that race, the last one for Gilles, would have proven to be the trigger for an explosive situation, culminated with the events of Zolder, fifteen days later. In the middle there was an unclarified situation, a surge of pride and, above all, an Italian press who added fuel to the fire of revenge and grudge in the offended soul of the Canadian driver.
The team orders were clear: who had been first after the probable quit of the two Renaults, would have been the designated winner and, when that happened, Gilles was in the lead, before his team-mate Didier Pironi. From Ferrari box was immediately displayed a pit board ordering "Slow" and, as previously established, the positions should have been "frozen" at that precise moment, in order to guarantee the certain success of Ferrari at its home circuit.
It is true that Gilles immediately after made a small mistake at the Rivazza bend and Pironi couldn't help but overtake him and however, due to fair play, friendship and loyalty, after Villeneuve overtook him again, the French driver should have given up the battle and allow Gilles to gain the highest step of the podium he deserved as vested right, for the same gallantry he showed for the team three years before, at Monza Grand Prix, when he granted his team-mate Jody Scheckter to conquer the World Championship without many uncertainties and worries.
Nevertheless the facts tell quite another story, that of a man deeply wounded in his soul by a friend and a team he believed loyal. The little-known part of the "flying Canadian" are those long days between Imola and the next race in Belgium, where Gilles could not ease his despair, as he arrived at Zolder still visibly shocked and saddened.
Then the tragedy and a general sense of discouragement for the still unsettled score of an unacceptable slight and tears... many tears.
Zolder 1982 - The last images of Gilles
Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982Zolder 1982
Gilles Villeneuve was not a simple season that passes, but a time that encloses the spirit of eternity, a happy time we spent together with him. Gil made us dream, he made our hearts beat and tremble and it is for this reason, dear friend, that we will never forget you.
the others
Joanna Barthe

1974
He came to me and said: "I sold our home to buy a car." I thinked maybe he's going mad.




Joanna Barthe
Gilles' wife
Seville Villeneuve

1976
Gilles is really not scared. He always drives fast, at his best. Whatever he drives, he makes it go the maximum supreme possible.



Seville Villeneuve
Gilles' father
Ray Wardell

1976
Gilles is aware of his limits. These limits are different than the ones of an ordinary driver and he's ready to reach them more and more frequently.



Ray Wardell
Écurie Canada technician
Gaston Parent

1977
I observe him, I notice he is a very smart guy. And when he speaks about races I see him shiver.




Gaston Parent
Gilles' agent
Chris Amon

1977
He has an extraordinary natural talent and a great enthusiasm. He still makes many spins but he will soon find his own limits. He has a remarkable control on his car and I think he is an awfully brave driver.

Chris Amon
Former Formula 1 driver
James Hunt

1977
I've been very impressed by his evident talent and by his way to deal with races in such a professional manner: you either have the skill to drive a Formula 1 car or don't.


James Hunt
1976 Formula 1 world champion
Ronnie Peterson

1977
That guy is a public danger.






Ronnie Peterson
Former Formula 1 driver
Antonio Tomaini

1978
He is diligent pupil. The more the time goes by, the more I like him.





Antonio Tomaini
Former Ferrari's sports manager
Clay Regazzoni

1978
He tried an impossible overtaking, I guess it's a matter of inexperience. I repeat it, it's humanly impossible to overtake in that place.



Clay Regazzoni
Former Formula 1 driver
Mauro Forghieri

1979
Gilles is furious to win more than any other driver.





Mauro Forghieri
Former Ferrari's technical manager
Carlos Reutemann

1979
I soon realized he could have a great career. One year in Formula 1 was enough for him to become one of the fastest drivers in the world.



Carlos Reutemann
Former Formula 1 driver
Jackie Stewart

1979
I think Villeneuve is really, really good. He still makes some mistakes, he still gets some curves wrong, he drives over the curbs. But I really think he is superb and believe he will get better and better.


Jackie Stewart
Three times Formula 1 world champion
René Arnoux

1979
I know I've been beaten by the best driver in the world.








René Arnoux
Former Formula 1 driver
Jody Scheckter

1979
It's a pity Gilles is so great. The fastest Formula 1 driver nowadays. He was a bit naive at the beginning of the championship and this probably denied him the chance to fight for the title but I owe much to him, being a fast driver he very much helped in making the Ferrari the most competitive car and put me in a position to win the world championship.

Jody Scheckter
1979 Formula 1 world champion
Riccardo Patrese

1980
Gilles matured a lot. We joined the Formula 1 together and I could follow his progresses.




Riccardo Patrese
Former Formula 1 driver
Bruno Giacomelli

1981
He is always better and better. Year after year. Now he doesn't even make the smallest mistake.




Bruno Giacomelli
Former Formula 1 driver
John Watson

1981
He is a champion, there's no doubt about it. He showed this in so many occasions, in my opinion he deserves to win the world title.



John Watson
Former Formula 1 driver
Nelson Piquet

1981
He is a bit strange but he surely is a phenomenon.





Nelson Piquet
Three times Formua 1 world champion
Alan Jones

1981
This is typical of Gilles. We are to recognize that he never surrenders.





Alan Jones
1980 Formula 1 world champion
Emerson Fittipaldi

1981
I would like to have a driver such as Gilles in my team. I am sure that every teams would be happy to have one like him. His skill and care make him a sort of guarantee.


Emerson Fittipaldi
Two times Formula 1 world champion
Elio De Angelis

1982
His value is not to be discussed, everybody is aware of it. He is looking forward to the title for his class and calculated impetuosity, as well as for his eagerness to win.


Elio De Angelis
Former Formula 1 driver
Siegfried Stohr

1982
There is only one Gilles, but we can admire his qualities in other people as well, people that are maybe close to us. Let's look for these qualities, this could be a way to put in practice, to live what Gilles might have taught us.

Siegfried Stohr
Former Formula 1 driver
Jacques Laffite

1982
I know no human being can do miracles, but Gilles could really surprise us sometimes.




Jacques Laffite
Former Formula 1 driver
Eddie Cheever

1982
Everybody agrees in stating that Gilles was the driver who risked the most. This also helped him making a great career.




Eddie Cheever
Former Formula 1 driver
Niki Lauda

1982
I've always liked Gilles Villeneuve. I liked everything in him, even if I did not agree with the risks he used to take. He was the craziest guy I ever met in Formula 1.




Niki Lauda
Three times Formula 1 world champion
Keke Rosberg

1982
There's no doubt, Gilles was extraordinarily brave. He was the greatest bastard I could race against and that I ever met, but he was absolutely fair. A great driver.



Keke Rosberg
1982 Formula 1 world champion
Enzo Ferrari

1982
He left us for still unknown reasons. Destiny deprived us of a great champion, who I loved very much. My past is full of sad memories: my father, my mother, my brother, my son. I now look back on myself and see all the people I loved. Among them there is also this great man, Gilles Villeneuve.

Enzo Ferrari
Founder of the Ferrari
Juan Manuel Fangio

1982
He will remain as a member of the family of the truly great drivers in racing car history. He did not race to finish. He did not race for points. He raced to win. He was small in stature, but he was a giant.




Juan Manuel Fangio
Five times Formula 1 world champion
Alain Prost

1982
Gilles was the last great driver. The rest of us are just a bunch of good professionals.




Alain Prost
Four times Formula 1 world champion
Patrick Tambay

1983
We will not forget him, as we are talking about a wound that will never heal completely. Nobody can fill the void he left.



Patrick Tambay
Former Formula 1 driver
Beppe Gabbiani

1984
I sometimes met him by car in Monte-Carlo, he smiled and said hello to me. Some other times he didn't recognize me, even though he looked at my face. Strange as he was, but Gilles was a good boy.






Beppe Gabbiani
Former Formula 1 driver
Ayrton Senna

1985
I literally adored Gilles Villeneuve. Perhaps he wasn't the best or the most productive for the championship, but on his period he showed us something beautiful and thrilling. I admired him a lot and, when I first drove, I felt like him. Then I realized I should be more moderate and learn first before pushed strongly. Gilles was a myth, people loved him everywhere. It must be nice feeling so close to the people.

Ayrton Senna
Three times Formula 1 world champion
Jacques Villeneuve

1997
Most people believe my father was crazy and I am very happy about it.





Jacques Villeneuve
1997 Formula 1 world champion
Bernie Ecclestone

2007
Gilles Villeneuve was a great driver, a charismatic personality. I believe that the modern Formula 1 would still need people like him.



Bernie Ecclestone
Former F.O.C.A. manager
Jochen Mass

2009
Gilles was gifted with an incredible talent. He was spectacular and very fast from beginning; he was immediately the fastest than all of us.






Jochen Mass
Former Formula 1 driver
Mario Andretti

2012
Gilles was incredibly good to be around; relax and fun, down-to-earth in a very candid way. Simply stepping into a room was enough for him to earn everyone's respect, so unpretentious he was. That's not why he was most loved, though. He was driven. Therefore everyone around him inside Ferrari was bound to be seduced, like under a spell.

Mario Andretti
1978 Formula 1 world champion
Gilles Villeneuve


He had reached the top of his mountain and for sure,  up there,  he could see everything from a
different point of view of us all, we humble ants, which have chosen to see them from the bottom.


(Jeff Hutchinson from "Grand Prix International magazine" of May 13, 1982)