by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 152
Gilles showed his frustration in a furious, mind- blowing drive back to the pits with his car falling apart around him. The flailing rubber tore the rear suspension apart. The right-front wheel waved in the airstream. Gilles arrived in the Ferrari pits leaving sparks and dropped jaws behind him. Crazy, they said. Senseless, they cried. In that bizarre lap of Zandvoort, though, Gilles said everything that needed to be said about the 1979 Championship and its points divisions. The racers had been beaten by the system. After wards, there was much rumination about the cause of the blowout. Michelin were sure that Gilles had been suffering a slow puncture for a while – from the time of his spin – and that he should have stopped for new tyres. Gilles said that he just felt decreasing grip all round and that, in those conditions, with the race lead and The Championship in the balance, nothing short of a blown engine was going to bring him into the pits. I think Gilles was correct: there was no puncture. And, back then, Michelins had a history of blowing violently when blisters appeared on the tread surface. I also wondered at the time whether Gilles could have won that race had he started on the 212s. He wouldn’t have run at the Williams pace but Jones, late in the race, lost third gear. We’ll never know, but I’m sure it crossed Gilles’ mind, too. And so they went to Monza, Jody (on 44pts) and Gilles (on 32). Ferrari looked to be in good shape, despite the qualifying pace of the fragile Renault turbos. “Listen,” said Carlos Reutemann to his friend Villeneuve on Sunday morning. “Don’t play with the Championship. You may only get one chance. Don’t give it to Jody if you can race him. Fight for it.” “Nah,” said Gilles. “I’ll help Jody win it now. It’s best for the team. He’s said he’s going to help me win it next year.” A racer, in the truest sense of the word, but also a selfless, very special man. 1980 was a disaster for Gilles and Ferrari, of course – and Gilles never did win that championship. He won much more than a mere title could have given him, however; he won some races – and some laps – and some corners – far more precious than a mathematical victory via a limited number of points. He won them with his heart and with his soul; and, in so doing, he won them for millions of adoring fans at the time and for the essence of racers ever more. F1 >>> FEATURE Zandvoort, 1979: After earlier passing Alan Jones around the outside at Tarzan, Gilles' Ferrari blew a tyre. His drive back to the pits is part of the Villeneuve legend! ... 27 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: