Jac­ques Vil­leneuve goes down mem­ory lane in dad’s Fer­rari at Cana­dian Grand Prix

StarMetro Halifax - - DAILY LIFE - Bill Bea­con­the CANA­DIAN PRESS

MON­TREAL—FANS in the packed grand­stands at the Cana­dian Grand Prix stood and cheered as Jac­ques Vil­leneuve toured the track in the car his fa­ther Gilles used to win the race 40 years ago.

Vil­leneuve rode his fa­ther’s No. 12 Fer­rari from 1978 in the pa­rade lap Sun­day be­fore the race.

The 47-year-old went around slowly, lead­ing the cur­rent driv­ers who were in clas­sic sports cars, wav­ing to the crowd as he passed each grand­stand.

“It wasn’t driv­ing, it was al­most like walk­ing,” said Vil­leneuve of the slow pace. “But to sit in that car in front of this crowd — some of it from when I was rac­ing, some from when my dad was rac­ing — it was very spe­cial.”

His fa­ther won the Cana­dian Grand Prix the first year it was held on the track that was re­named Cir­cuit Gilles Vil­leneuve after his death in a crash at the 1982 Bel­gian Grand Prix. His son Jac­ques fol­lowed him into F1 and won the 1997 cham­pi­onship with the Wil­liams teams.

He said it would have been a “nice touch” if he had been able to drive for Fer­rari in his ca­reer, but that he wouldn’t trade his cham­pi­onship for any­thing.

Cur­rent Fer­rari driver Se­bas­tian Vet­tel paid trib­ute to Gilles Vil­leneuve and the team’s en­dur­ing pop­u­lar­ity at the Cana­dian GP after earn­ing pole po­si­tion on Satur­day, which im­pressed Jac­ques.

“It came as a shock be­cause it was re­ally heart­felt,” he said. “He pas­sion­ate. He’s also very aware of the his­tory of For­mula One. It was very touch­ing.”

He was less happy with a quote this week from F1 leg­end Niki Lauda, who said Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen re­minded him most of Gilles Vil­leneuve among cur­rent driv­ers. The younger Vil­leneuve is clearly not a fan of the ag­gres­sive Dutch driver.

Hav­ing the 1978 car on the track was the idea of Joann Vil­leneuve, Gilles’ widow and Jac­ques’ mother. He got the OK from the car’s owner in Toronto and from race or­ga­niz­ers to have Jac­ques drive it on the track.

Jac­ques Vil­leneuve in his dad’s Fer­rari. RYAN REMIORZ/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.