Gallery: The career of Gilles Villeneuve

Ferrari Formula 1 star Gilles Villeneuve lost his life on this day in 1982. We recall his grand prix racing career, which promised so much but was cut short by an accident in Belgium.

Gallery: The career of Gilles Villeneuve

Enzo Ferrari and Gilles Villeneuve

Enzo Ferrari and Gilles Villeneuve
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Photo by: Actualfoto

Enzo Ferrari, who founded the eponymous F1 team and sportscar manufacturer, called Villeneuve his "spiritual son".

Racing with snowmobiles

Racing with snowmobiles
2/19

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Villeneuve unusually started his racing career in snowmobiles, which reach a top speed of 100km/hr.

Formula Atlantic

Formula Atlantic
3/19

Photo by: Guy Bellerive

Villeneuve won back to back Formula Atlantic titles in 1976 and '77. Here he can be seen sitting in a March 75B at the Mont-Tremblant circuit.

Niki Lauda's replacement

Niki Lauda's replacement
4/19

Photo by: Guy Bellerive

Villeneuve made his F1 debut with McLaren in 1977. His Ferrari chance came when Niki Lauda left the team, two races before the end of the season.

Ferrari 312 T3 test

Ferrari 312 T3 test
5/19

Photo by: Ferrari

Villeneuve was given the opportunity to shake down the 312 T3 at Ferrari's fest track in Fiorano in 1978. Later that year he won in front of his home crowd in Canada.

Gilles Villeneuve's1979 Ferrari 312T4 van

Gilles Villeneuve's1979 Ferrari 312T4 van
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A technical illustration of Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari 312 T4 by our technical correspondent Giorgio Piola.

1979 French Grand Prix

1979 French Grand Prix
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Photo by: Jean-Claude Loustau

Photo: Villeneuve - sitting in his Ferrari 312 T4 - speaks to his race engineer Antonio Tomaini during the 1979 French Grand Prix.

Always available

Always available
8/19

Photo by: Jean-Claude Loustau

Villeneuve developed the repuation of a driver who always had time for fans and other members of the motorsport community. Here he's seen at the Dijon-Prenois circuit in France.

Epic battle

Epic battle
9/19

Photo by: Renault

Villeneuve was involved in an epic scrap with Renault's Rene Arnoux during the 1979 French GP. In this photo, he can be seen driving behind Jean-Pierre Jabouille.

Villeneuve vs. Jones

Villeneuve vs. Jones
10/19

Photo by: David Phipps

Another interesting battle ensued at Zandvoort the same year, where Villeneuve made a brilliant pass over Alan Jones on the outside of the Tarzan corner.

Tyre explosion

Tyre explosion
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Photo by: David Phipps

However, he was forced to reitre from the race after his car's left-rear tyre deflated.

Villeneuve vs. Jones. Part 2

Villeneuve vs. Jones. Part 2
12/19

Photo by: Williams

Villeneuve and Jones were involved in another fiesty battle at the former's home race, but it was Jones who came on top this time.

The slow 312 T5

The slow 312 T5
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Photo by: LBGPA

The Ferrari 312 T5 of 1980 was well off the pace of the frontrunners. Villeneuve could best manage a pair of fifth places in his most difficult season to date.

Monaco win

Monaco win
14/19

Photo by: Forix

In 1981, Villeneuve became the first driver to win the Monaco GP in a turbo-powered F1 car.

Spanish defence

Spanish defence
15/19

Photo by: International Press Agency

Villeneuve repeated his Monaco win in Spain, although this time he had to keep a trail of cars - including Jacques Lafitte, John Watson, Carlos Reutemann and Elio de Angelis - behind.

Villeneuve brothers

Villeneuve brothers
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Photo by: Guy Bellerive

This is a rare photo of Villeneuve and brother Jacques Villeneuve Sr (not to be confused with the 1997 F1 champion). Jacques attempted to qualify for the 1981 Canadian GP in an Arrows A3, but failed to do so.

Ferrari 126 C2 test

Ferrari 126 C2 test
17/19

Photo by: Ferrari

Villeneuve can be seen testing the Ferrari 126 C2 at Fiorano in 1982. Mauro Forghieri, Enzo Ferrari, Tommaso Carletti (background) and Harvey Postlethwaite are all present in the photo.

The fatal crash

The fatal crash
18/19

Photo by: Rainer Nyberg

Villeneuve started the 1982 F1 season on a difficult note with retirements in South Africa and Brazil. During the Belgian GP qualifying at Zolder, he suffered a crash with Jochen Mass that eventually led to his tragic death.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
19/19

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

In the memory of Villeneuve, Canada's F1 circuit is named after him.
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Gilles Villeneuve
Author Tim Biesbrouck
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