Jacques Villeneuve to drive Gilles' car at Fiorano
9 April 2012 – Tuesday 8 May 2012 will mark three decades since the crash which took the life of Gilles Villeneuve. To mark the anniversary of the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying crash, son and 1997 Champion Jacques will drive his father’s Ferrari at Fiorano.
Although Gilles never won a world title, the Canadian is remembered as one of Formula 1’s greats, not least for moments such as at Zandvoort when he recovered to the pits with a completely destroyed rear tyre. Pushing in a fierce battle with team-mate Didier Pironi, he lost his life at Zolder when hitting the back of Jochen Mass exiting a blind corner; the 32-year-old was launched into the air and out of his car.
‘His memory is still vivid and alive in the minds of many at Maranello,’ reads a statement from Ferrari. ‘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. We have decided to commemorate this date in a special way, bringing together the names of Ferrari and Villeneuve in their natural environment - the race track.’
Villeneuve junior, whose title came with Williams, will be driving the 1979 Ferrari 312 T4 which won South Africa’s Jody Scheckter the championship. It is also the car model which Villeneuve drove for his memorable, wheel-to-wheel scrap with René Arnoux in the 1979 French Grand Prix. Monday marks Villeneuve's 41st birthday.
See Villeneuve and Arnoux go wheel-to-wheel at Dijon in 1979:
Commentary from the BBC's Murray Walker