Gilles Villeneuve in the Ferrarri 312 T4, drifting. Villenevue was recognized as having an amazing capability to control the car as if it was an extension of his own body. The cars at that time however would not come close to the minimum safety standards required of todays F1 cars
Photo Credit: via Raadio-Canada

History: May 8, 1982, Canadian F1 star, Gilles Villeneuve killed

Share

It happened in a split second, Gilles Villeneuve, a superstar F1 driver was trying to create a good qualifying time for the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder.

In the final moments of qualifying, Jochen Mass was touring his way back toward the pits when Villeneuve who was qualifying came fast around the corner at over 200kmph. Mass, driving a March, moved to the right to give way, but Villeneuve made the same move to pass on the outside. Villenueves car was thrown into the air, carwheeled down the track tossing the star driver into the catch fencing where he was killed instantly.

null
Gilles Villeneuve, hailed among the most spectacular and well-liked F1 drivers © RDS- (Radio Canada)

Canada’s Gilles Villeneuve was flamboyant on the track, daring, amazing, and some, such as British sports writer Rob Burnett, called him the “last great driver”.  Other great drivers however also lost their lives like Scottish star Jim Clark 14 years before, and  Brazilian hero Ayrton Senna 14 years later.

Respected and liked by other drivers, Villeneuve was always an uncontested crowd favourite.

Surely one of F1’s greatest duels ever was Villeneuve against Rene Arnoux as they diced for position back and forth with wheels touching in an incredible battle in 1979

Some suspect the fatal crash was due in part to a bitter argument with Ferrari teammate Didier Pironi who passed him to take the win at Imola two weeks before. The Ferraris were leading comfortably with Villeneuve in front when the team ordered them to slow down. Villenueve presumed that meant they were to stay 1-2 with him in the lead.  Not racing full out, Villeneuve went a little wide on the last corner and Pironi slipped past a furious Villeneuve to take the win.

It was suspected that Villeneuve was racing hard at Zolder to make sure he had a better position than Pironi, and that may have led to him not letting up in the fatal corner with Mass in his way.

null
Gilles Villeneuve, Imola 1979 © wikimedia

The 1982 crash and death shocked the F1 world, and eventually led to the retirement of Mass himself. Although Mass was not blamed, he said he saw the effect of the young Canadian star’s death on his family, and when he himself was involved in a very similar, though fortunately non-deadly crash he said the writing was on the wall and he didn’t want to put his family through the same agony.

Deaths like this and Senna’s forced the cars to become much safer. In Villeneuve’s accident, the seatbelts ripped from their mounts and his helmet also came off.

Share
Categories: Arts and Entertainment, International, Society
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette
When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*