“Villeneuve was amazing in terms of momentum. But then, his temperament would cost him points and that would affect his standing at the end of the season.” said Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo on the day dedicated to the thirtieth anniversary of the death of the Canadian driver. “Gilles gave the public what they wanted. And he did not care about the championship, he drove each race as it came. Maybe I was less close to him than I was to my other drivers such as Lauda, Regazzoni or Reutemann.”
For Ferrari and millions of fans all over the world, May 8th 2012 was Villeneuve day, as Jacques drove his father Gilles’ 312 T4 at the Fiorano track where he spent so much time playing as a little boy. Ferrari wanted to mark the thirtieth anniversary of Gilles’ death in a special way, by bringing the names of Ferrari and Villeneuve back on track together again, and by assembling in Maranello a lot of the people who were in the Squadra Corse at the time, from the Engineer, Mauro Forghieri to the mechanics who knew Gilles well.
“I recall when Enzo Ferrari told me he’d spotted a youngster with great temperament and talent who raced snowmobiles in Canada. He had a pre-contract with McLaren, but Ferrari wanted to bring a breath of fresh air into the team. He was an extraordinary driver and human being.” continued Montezemolo. “We must not be prisoners to the past, but if one looks at football, F1, politics, Italy back then, one can see that human relations were different and better. But we look ahead and to have Gilles’ old mechanics here alongside Alonso and Massa shows that Ferrari thinks of the future while looking to the past, which is unique in the world.”
Asked about the chances of hiring drivers who maybe lack discipline but have plenty of heart, Montezemolo replied, “With F1 the way it is today, there would be no place at Ferrari for an undisciplined driver”.
Amen to that.