Gilles Villeneuve [ ʒil vilnœv ] ( born January 18, 1950 in Saint -Jean -sur -Richelieu, † 8 May 1982 in Leuven, Belgium) was a Canadian race car driver. He started from 1977 until his accidental death in 1982 in the Formula 1 and was there in 1979 Vice World Champion.
Villeneuve drove 66 of his 67 Grand Prix races for Team Ferrari tradition and is worshiped by the Tifosi because of its bold nature and his wild driving style until today as a legend. He is the father of Jacques Villeneuve, who later raced in the Formula 1 and there 1997 World Champion.
After Villeneuve had won the North American Formula Atlantic, he went in 1977 his first Formula 1 race in Silverstone. He started only in this one race for McLaren before he sat for the first time in 1977 at the Canadian Grand Prix in a Ferrari.
Even in his second race for Ferrari in the Japanese Fuji Speedway Villeneuve was involved in a serious accident with Ronnie Peterson when his Ferrari flew over the Tyrrell of Sweden, killing two photographers who were staying within the safety zone. Shortly before this race Villeneuve had signed a new contract with Ferrari. For Ferrari Villeneuve also denied all other Formula 1 race of his career.
As examples of his ambitious drive, the Grand Prix of France may 1979 to serve in Dijon, where Villeneuve, some long wheel-to - wheel duels with René Arnoux delivered, or the Grand Prix of Holland in 1979 in Zandvoort, where, after a puncture - already actually retired - again drove out of the catch-fence and gravel out back on the track and devoid of reason tried to continue the race as a " tricycle ".
Villeneuve died on May 8, 1982 after a training accident at Zolder. Shortly before the end of the final training session he ran a fast lap on the car in front of him Jochen Mass, who was in a victory lap. As Villeneuve ansetzte to overtake tried Mass to change lanes to make the racing line free. With about 270 km / h left front tire of the Ferrari touched the right rear tire of March. Villeneuve's car was blown up and burst during multiple impact. The Canadian was thrown to the seat, including seat belt anchor from the cockpit and crashed into a catch fence. While Mass was uninjured, was beyond saving despite immediate assistance Villeneuve's life. He was transferred to the University Hospital of Leuven, where on the evening of the death of 32 -year-old Formula 1 driver was announced. He was buried in the Cimetière de Berthierville in Berthierville ( D' Autray ).
Gilles Villeneuve won in his career six Grand Prix: 1978 Canada, South Africa in 1979 and twice USA (Long Beach and Watkins Glen ) and 1981 Monaco and Spain. Pole positions he reached at the U.S. Grand Prix in 1979 and the Grand Prix of San Marino 1981.
From closed on June 17, 1970 marriage to his son Jacques Villeneuve Johanne Barthe originate (born 1971 ) and daughter Melanie ( b. 1973 ).
The race in Montreal was named after him.
On 8 March 2012, 30 years after his death, drove his son Jacques Villeneuve in the Ferrari 312T4 demonstration laps at Fiorano in honor of his father.