1982: GILLES VILLENEUVE

Model produced by: Paul’s Model Art (Minichamps)

Year: 1982
Driver: Gilles Villeneuve (Canada)
Team: Scuderia Ferrari

Gilles Villeneuve, one of the most popular F1 drivers, known for his aggresive driving style, died on May 8, 1982, after crashing with the March of Jochen Mass at 225 km/h during the final qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder. The accident came less than two weeks after an intense argument with his team-mate, Didier Pironi, over Pironi’s move to pass Villeneuve at the preceding San Marino Grand Prix. At the time of the crash, Pironi had set a time 0.1s faster than Villeneuve for sixth place. Villeneuve was using his final set of qualifying tyres, which were probably already past their best, and many writers say that he was attempting to improve his time on his final lap.

At the time of his death, Villeneuve was extremely popular with fans and has since become an iconic figure in the history of the sport. The number 27, the number of his Ferrari in 1981 and 1982, is still closely associated with him by fans. Villeneuve is still remembered at Grand Prix races, especially those in Italy. At the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, the venue of the a corner was named after him and a Canadian flag is painted on the third slot on the starting grid, from which he started his last race. There is also a bronze bust of him at the entrance to the Ferrari test track at Fiorano. At Zolder the corner where Villeneuve died has been turned into a chicane and named after him. The racetrack on Ile Notre-Dame, Montreal, host to the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix was named Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in his honour.

See BBC’s report on his fatal crash

See more, but in French …

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