Sunday, 9 June 2013

Gilles Villeneuve Remembered

Former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve marked the 30th anniversary of his father Gilles' death by taking his famous Ferrari 312 T4 for a spin at Fiorano, near Modena.

The younger Villeneuve, who won the 1997 F1 championship before driving in the United States, was helping to mark the opening of an exhibition in his father's memory.

The elder Villeneuve drove the 312 T4 in 1979 when he achieved his best result, finishing second in the championship behind team-mate Jody Scheckter.

He won three Grand Prix races that season out of six in total during his five years as a racer. He died in 1982 after crashing during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder while still racing for Ferrari.

The Canadian's wife Joanne and daughter Melanie joined Jacques for the ceremony, which was also attended by current Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa as well as Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

Di Montezemolo had fond memories of Jacques' father.

"I remember when (the founder of Ferrari) Enzo Ferrari told me he had found a youngster with a great temperament and talent who was racing snow mobiles in Canada," he added.

"He had a pre-contract with McLaren but The Drake (Ferrari) wanted to bring some new blood into the team. He was an amazing driver and man."

Ferrari also paid tribute to their former driver on their official website.

"His memory is still vivid and alive in the minds of many at Maranello (Ferrari's home); his talent, his speed, his bravery which bordered on recklessness, all go to make his name still hugely popular with our fans, even among younger ones who have only been able to see him on replays of his races or read about him in stories written by journalists."

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