Canada’s Gilles Villeneuve (1950-1982) was a driver so passionately single-minded that when watching him race one sensed that he would either win a World Championship or die trying. Sadly, the latter was his fate.
Graduating from snowmobile racing to the Formula Atlantic series Villeneuve’s victory at Trois Rivieres in 1976 so impressed fellow competitor James Hunt that he persuaded McLaren to offer the young Canadian a third car for the British GP the following year. It was, however, Niki Lauda’s abrupt departure from the Ferrari team with two races remaining in the 1977 season that inextricably linked Villeneuve with Enzo’s Scuderia, where he would remain for the rest of his F1 career.
He may have only accumulated six Grand Prix victories in his brief F1 sojourn, but that flat-out, take-no-prisoners driving style endeared him to Signor Ferrari and racing enthusiasts worldwide.
This painting, commissioned by a Canadian enthusiast, depicts Gilles Villeneuve’s first drive for Ferrari at the Canadian GP, Mosport, 1977.
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