Gilles Villeneuve

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve (January 18, 1950May 8, 1982) was a Canadian Formula 1 racing driver.


  • "I will drive flat out all the time … I love racing."
    • Henry, pg. 25
  • "The sport is more important than anything. More important than any of the people in it. Of course I say what I think. I always have, even if it upsets people like Ecclestone and Balestre. Why should I be afraid of them? The fans aren't here to see politicians and manipulators. They're here to see me. I am very secure in my feelings about racing. I make a lot of money from it, but one thing I can tell you for sure: if the money disappeared overnight, I would still be in racing, because I love it. The entrepreneurs would be gone."

Interview with Gilles Villeneuve post-Imola 1982[edit]

Interviewer: Gilles Villeneuve, ninety hours after Imola you’ve got over the anger, but the fever is still there right?

Gilles Villeneuve: Yes, the fever is still there, as I said at the end of the race, he robbed me of a win and I still think that way.

Interviewer: So you haven’t changed your mind?

Gilles Villeneuve: No I haven’t...changed my mind. That’s how it should be. If you look back at the lap times for the race you’ll see I’m right.

Interviewer: Gilles, wasn’t there some sort of agreement, beforehand?

Gilles Villeneuve: There was an agreement. I’ve been with Ferrari now for three years; the order has always been not to get involved with a battle. For instance, if the car’s in the lead and there’s no one close behind, it’s better to go slower and not run the risk of breaking down. In other words, to be sure of finishing.

Interviewer: People are saying that Gilles Villeneuve has never had this sort of problem with other drivers but this time, he wanted to be respected. At least, that’s what some people are saying.

Gilles Villeneuve: Er…I don’t understand.

Interviewer: People are saying, Villeneuve has always fought hard and has always raced for the sake of racing. This time though, he wanted to be respected as the almost certain winner.

Gilles Villeneuve: Er…I still don’t quite understand. When I was behind Jody, in South Africa, I overtook him only when he went into the pits. When I was in Monza, which was the last possibility for me, my last chance of becoming world champion, I stayed behind Jody without even trying to overtake him. When I was er…erm…in Monte Carlo, when I was in Monte Carlo, my gearbox failed but, before that happened, Jody was driving slowly because he had the advantage but I never tried to overtake him. Here, instead it was different. When the slow down sign is out, I slow down, making the other drivers slow down too. And then, Didier overtook me, and if you look at the lap times for Imola, every time that I’m in front I lap at 37.5 to 37.8 to save petrol and the engine also because I have a 45 second lead over Alboreto. When Pironi is leading, we lap at 35.5. Gilles Villeneuve Interview post Imola 1982.

About Gilles Villeneuve[edit]

  • "Gilles was a totally uncomplicated non-political guy with no hangups whatsoever. He was totally and completely honest. If we were testing .. and the car was rubbish, he'd come in and say 'Look, the car's rubbish … I don't mind driving the car, don't get me wrong, I'll drive it all day .. and I love every minute of it, but I thought that you ought to know the car's rubbish.' … The Old Man (Enzo Ferrari) loved him for this."
  • "He also never drove anywhere at anything less than an absolutely flat-out pace, be it on the road or the track..."
    • Harvey Postlethwaite - Henry, pg. 25
  • "I think Gilles was the perfect racing driver … He had the best talent of all of us."
    • Niki Lauda, triple Formula One World Champion - Donaldson, pg. 318
  • "His car control was extraordinary, even compared with the many talented drivers I have had the opportunity to drive against over the years. … [He drove a] Grand Prix car to the absolute limit of its ability."
    • Jackie Stewart, triple Formula One World Champion - de la Plante, pg. 122
  • I know no human being can do miracles but Gilles could really surprise us sometimes.
  • "Behind the wheel of a racing car he was fearfully quick, never stopped trying, and could extricate himself from the most precarious situations with deft brilliance."
  • "In a situation like that I know I would have been scared stiff. But I am sure that when Gilles felt his Ferrari take off, his last thought was anger, plain and simple, because he knew that he had spoiled that one perfect lap."
  • "His death has deprived us of a great champion - one that I loved very much. My past is scarred with grief; parents, brother, son. My life is full of sad memories. I look back and see the faces of my loved ones, and among them I see him."
  • "His death signified the passing of a certain approach. He was the last person who had the totally un-inhibited joy of driving a racing car."
    • Alan Henry, motorsport journalist and friend of Villeneuve - Donaldson, pp. 316-317
  • "Quite seriously, I've never felt anything like the same about racing ever since. I nearly packed it up."
    • Nigel Roebuck, motorsport journalist and friend of Villeneuve - Donaldson, pg. 316
  • "I was at home in Monaco that Sunday. A friend of mine called from Zolder and said 'Gilles has had a big accident, and it doesn't look good at all.' So I phoned Joann, and shot up to her place very quickly. From then on it was chaos and disaster. You don't want to think about it."
    • Jody Scheckter, 1979 Formula One World Champion and Villeneuve's teammate in 1979 and 1980 - Donaldson, pg. 319
  • "It was terrible when Gilles died. I cried that day and the next one too, even though I had to race... ...and I remember the feeling that we were all starting equal, from now. Villeneuve was gone. We all knew he had talent beyond our reach."
  • "The kids were just 8 and 10 years old and seemed to be doing much better than I expected. That first night they both went upstairs to bed, and later I went up to check on them. They were asleep. When I saw Melanie I started crying. She had a picture of her dad with her. She was holding it in her arms."
    • John Lane, long-time companion of the Villeneuves - Donaldson, pg. 319
  • "[Gilles] was the fastest driver in the history of motor racing. .. But more important for me is that he was the most genuine person I have ever known."
    • Jody Scheckter - Donaldson, pg. 322; de la Plante, pg. 3


  • de la Plante, Allan; Lecours, Pierre (1982). Villeneuve. Macmillan. ISBN 0-7715-9851-3. 
  • Donaldson, Gerald (1989). Gilles Villeneuve: The Life of the Legendary Racing Driver. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2846-6. 
  • Henry, Alan. Villeneuve (Kimberley's Racing Driver Profile No. 3). London: Kimberley's. ISBN 0-946132-224. 

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about: