Villeneuve: The drive of his life
Gilles Villeneuve was one of the greatest natural drivers in Formula One. Thirty years on, Top Gear celebrates his genius...
Posted: 09 Jul 2012
Is he finally embracing his father’s legacy, something he pointedly refused to acknowledge during his own F1 career? “People often said to me, ‘So, you’re continuing what your father did.’ ‘No, I’m racing for myself because I love it,’ I’d reply. And that became, ‘Oh, you hate your father…’ so I thought, ‘You know what – let’s just forget it and move on to something else.’ They weren’t seeing me as a driver; they already had their romantic idea of why I was racing.
“Am I sad that my father didn’t live to see my career? Honestly, I wouldn’t have had a career if he’d been alive. I think he would have controlled it and I wouldn’t have been allowed to be myself. In a way, it helped that he passed away. As a kid, it was the saddest moment in my life. But as a racer, as a man, as a human being, it was helpful. Whatever happens in life, never change the past. Because everything good that has happened to you would have changed as well. My father was honourable, and he expected people to behave in a certain way. Other people were opportunistic, and he simply wasn’t like that. He had respect.”