Dear Gilles, you live inside Maranello

Enzo Ferrari Drake e Gilles Aviatore
Enzo Ferrari ‘Drake’ and Gilles ‘Aviatore’

Today I was just thinking about how to describe a driver who won everything even without ever being able to win a world title. A true paradox? Instead, it is. I am talking about Gilles Villeneuve, with his reckless driving and way of living intensely what is more than just a sport or competition.

Gilles after an unsuccessful half season in McLaren found himself in the summer of ’77 to be without a team because he was discarded by team manager Mayer, who preferred Patrick Tambay in his place. It was from this ‘rejection’ that began an incredible career made of many mistakes but many emotions.

Precisely because of this, his reckless and, according to some, ‘crazy’ driving was immediately noticed by the Drake, who precisely in 1977 decided to put him at the wheel of one of his reds. Gilles’ path in Ferrari was one of highs and lows. Many ‘silent’ clashes even inside in the pit, many retirements and disqualifications, but also many fast laps. Gilles was always a driver who put his all into ‘tackling a simple curve, he was stubborn, but with a genius head. Of him we remember the immense wheel-to-wheel battles he made us experience and unfortunately also the many accidents due to lack of rationality.

The ugliest defeat that fate has dealt us was during the 1982 practice session at the Zolder circuit in Holland, in which Gilles, caught up in the internal pit fight he was having with his teammate Didier Pironi, collided before a corner with his former teammate in McLaren. The ‘car flew 25 meters and then collided and destroyed itself causing his death. An ugly day, for Formula One and for all fans.

Gilles Villeneuve Jarama 1981 126CK
Race winner Gilles Villeneuve, Ferrari 126CK.
Spanish Grand Prix, Rd7, Jarama, Spain, June 21, 1981.

We recall the famous phrases of two iconic people in the Ferrari world of the ‘era and the present day :

<<My past is full of bad and sad memories: my father, mother, brother and son. Now when I look back I see everyone I loved. And among them is this great man, Gilles Villeneuve. I loved him.>> (Enzo Ferrari)

<<I will miss Gilles for two reasons. First, he was the fastest driver in motor racing history. Second, he was the ‘most genuine man I have ever known. But he did not leave. The memory of what he did will always be here.>> (Jodi Scheckter, at the funeral).

Storica battaglia Gilles Rene%CC%80
Historic Gilles-René Battle France GP 1979

It is said that when a great man leaves us, his soul never dies. For me, and for us fans Gilles you never left.

You managed to show not only Formula One, but sports and life in general, that it’s not just the end result that matters, it’s the heart you put into experiencing things. We are used in this era to seeing and highlighting only the end results, but there is so much more behind it. Talent is crazy, but it is synonymous with genius and will always receive many opposite feelings from each other, but never a middle ground. I really think this is one of the many reasons why we still remember him as great.

Thank you for giving everything to Maranello and Ferrari, because you are always here for us.

Hi Gilles

salut gilles
Canada thus dedicates its love

 

 

L.P.

 

Autore

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