F1: Gilles Villeneuve, the memory 40 years later – Sport

Courage to sell, altruism and a mixture of anger and pride to explode on the track, in a word Gilles Villeneuve. ” The last great driver ”, as a ‘certain’ Alain Prost liked to call him, able to sell himself a house to catapult himself into the world of Formula 1 becoming a legend and fly away from that cursed Saturday of Zolder to land in the legend of the world of the engines. Moving on to that Circus that had immediately baptized him with the nickname of ‘Aviator’ for his reckless way of driving, so much so that Ferrari fans and fans, those of the time and those who learned to know him later, fall in love with him. Fans who, forty years after the shocking death (the anniversary is Sunday), keep in mind the deeds of an authentic steering wheel acrobat always on the edge of chance as in the duel in Dijon at the last overtaking with Rene ‘Arnoux or on a three-wheel ride in Zandvoort.

A born talent, enough to convince Enzo Ferrari to take him to Maranello by snatching him from McLaren who launched the Canadian in Formula 1 but then preferred the Frenchman Patrick Tambay on the very best. Cases of fate that triggered the green light to one of the most beautiful red Ferrari stories that the film of the racing queen remembers, a rare Oscar-winning film cut short by an ending as anticipated as it is dramatic. When, at the end of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, Villeneuve wanted at all costs to stay on track to do better than his companion and friend Didier Pironi. The same one who in the previous Imola GP betrayed him by ignoring the clear indication (” slow ”) of the pits, blowing the Canadian the deserved victory, in a race dominated by the Reds in the absence of the English cars (Lotus, Brabham and McLaren did not take the way forward for a regulation issue related to the minimum weight). So it was that at 13:52 on May 8, 1982 the very fast life of Gilles Villeneuve suddenly stopped against the slower March with the number 17, driven by Jochen Mass. A tremendous impact at 225 km / h, which proved fatal to the Ferrari driver. whose car out of control took off and crashed on an embankment.

A blow to the red heart of all the Prancing Horse fans who were lucky enough to enjoy the years of the ‘Aviator’ in Maranello (from 1977 to 1982) and which will be able to relive thanks to the television specials scheduled for the fortieth anniversary of its disappearance. A first evening signed by Rai Documentari on 10 May on Rai Due with “Gilles Villeneuve – The Aviator”: the pilot who revived the legend of Nuvolari, still remembered today as one of the most courageous and loved ever. His wife Joann speaks on Sky on the occasion in the preview clip taken from Villeneuve Pironi, the documentary, soon also on NOW, which explores the exciting story of the two F1 legends. “Gilles – remembers the wife of the Canadian ace – believed that one had to live on the edge. For him the best thing was to kiss the guardrail”. A legend that will remain forever in the memory of those who love Formula 1 despite the ‘Aviator’ not winning the Drivers’ World Championship, the most coveted goal crossed, however, with full merit by his son Jacques who thus managed to do better than his father by winning the Formula 1 Championship with Williams in 1997. An undertaking that brought the whole Circus back in time to that title, unfortunately only imaginary, that “the biggest bastard you could race against (as Keke Rosberg defined Gilles)” would have could and should have won with the Ferrari of the ‘Drake’.

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