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Didier Pironi - hero or villain?


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#1 Michael Mc

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 18:42

I have been a Pironi fan since I saw him drive the Ligier in 1980,on tv of course. I have read as much as I can find on him but there never seems to be many nice things written about him.Is there anyone out there who might have known the guy & could offer an insight in to the real pironi ?? Alot of what people seem to have formed their opinions from the Imola 82 disagreement with Villeneuve.

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#2 Hieronymus

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 19:14

Simple answer...a brilliant driver! But also read here:

http://forums.autosp...ighlight=pironi

#3 Michael Mc

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 22:42

Thank You for your response, wow it was great to see so many positive thoughts from people.
Personall speaking,I got interested in F1 in or around 78 and took a year or two for me to decide who I liked as a driver. I clearly remember the 1980 British GP where Pironi led in the Ligier only to have wheel rim failures,I loved the colours & lines of the ligier. Also I looked at Didier & in him I saw everything I wanted to be, a cool dude,blonde,good looking,formula 1 winner, to me he had it all.

I went to my first gp in Brands in 82 a few weeks after Villeneuve's accident. The 82 Ferrari was a fabulous looking car & they finished 2nd & 3rd. His accident in Germany was terrible, what a waste,but that's motor racing.
Still in all,it was lovely to read some nice thoughts from his fans who you tend not to come across to often

If anyone has any good Didier photos please post them.
And if anyone knew the guy please let me know.

#4 Keir

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 22:47

Before Imola, hero. After, ??

#5 tom58long

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 23:23

i met (?) pironi in zolder 82. he parked his car on friday morning practice due to technical probs nearly hundreds of meters before the pit lane entry. he came out of the car, did the usual things on it, put the helmet off and turned his head towars us. we were on the other side of the fence (of course) and we had an eye contact but no conversation. i was too shy to say a word - but he smiled at us. not cool. a little bit shy perhaps, too. a real nice guy - as they all were these days :)

#6 philippe7

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 23:26

Originally posted by Michael Mc
And if anyone knew the guy please let me know.


You may want to read T54's post below....

http://forums.autosp...oni#post1548753

#7 Roger39

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 06:17

I remember reading that Prof Sid Watkins had no time for the guy. I will have to try and find the article but it was relating to how Didier thought he was treated by the Prof after his accident at Hockenheim. Didier claimed that the Prof. didn't do enough to save his legs and wanted to amputate, which the Prof. claimed was utter rubbish, he was doing everything in his power to save Didier's legs.

#8 Bruno

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 06:27

Originally posted by Keir
Before Imola, hero. After, ??


yes is just.

#9 Chezrome

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 07:07

Pironi - quite unfairly - was seen by many fans and most of the motorpress as the anti-Villeneuve. There were just two good drivers, with a different mentality. One was villefied, one was deified, before and after his death.

The incident at Imola - and consequent death at Zolder of Villeneuve - only enhanced an already excisting trend. Journalists want to tell a simple story, and this was it:

Pironi: New, rational, corporate F1
Villeneuve: Old, emotional, uncorporate F1

#10 fines

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 09:25

At the time, I had little doubt in my mind that Pironi would beat Villeneuve in the championship - he had the same pace, and was much, much smarter. People look at 1981, when Didier was new to the team, and driving that monster of a car, which btw was Villenueve's "child", developed by him during 1980. With Pironi's input, they built a much better car for '82, and I think Didier realised it was a waste of time to risk his neck in the '81 car. Mind you, he was still on the pace with it in many races, even if not that spectacular as Gilles.

Villeneuve was driving for the grandstand, and for that he is still revered today, while Pironi drove for results. It was much like 1979 with Jody again, and I'm sure the results would've been the same: Pironi World Champion, and Gilles runner-up. Just my tuppence worth.

#11 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 10:25

Pironi was a veru good driver, he was not a villain and had he not been in that accdident would have been WDC by a huge margin.

Villeneuve was a driver, who great to watch and having the proper behaviour was somewhat of a throwback, was also a driver overrated then and now.

Fast but not anything special.

:cool:

#12 B Squared

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 11:11

"Villeneuve - was also a driver overrated then and now."

"Fast but not anything special." KWSN - DSM

Numerous drivers of the era would wholeheartedly disagree with that view. I saw him in the rain at Watkins Glen in 1979. If that was not something special, I don't know what would be. Just my view, I'm sure.

Brian

#13 Greatest

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 11:38

My opinion was (and always has been) that Didier was a professional driver, fast but surprisingly "faceless" as a driver; just like many of the current F1 drivers. Didier was a driver who earned and earns respect, but not made of the stuff the real legends are made of (Gilles was a legend even before his death...).

Still, his death was an unnecessary thing to have happened. It would've been great to see Didier & Gilles to make up their differences (an impossible task, though as many of you would say).

#14 brabhamBT19

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:20

For me neither hero neither villain. None of them were heroes or villains, they were drivers, racers. Journalists are the ones who produce heroes and villains.

For me he was enigmatic, that is the first thing that springs to mind when someone mentions him. Those eyes, that face... I'm sure there is an untold story beneath that.

And I admire his will to recover, as much as I admire Alessandro Zanardi and Herman Maier those are/were all great people and a their lives and struggles are great motivation.

#15 PCC

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:24

Originally posted by fines
With Pironi's input, they built a much better car for '82

That strikes me as a hugely optimistic view of Pironi's role - I think Dr. Postlethwaite had rather more to do with it.

As for "Pironi - hero or villain" - maybe we should just say "human", and leave it at that.

#16 Rosemayer

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:28

Originally posted by B Squared
"Villeneuve - was also a driver overrated then and now."

"Fast but not anything special." KWSN - DSM

Numerous drivers of the era would wholeheartedly disagree with that view. I saw him in the rain at Watkins Glen in 1979. If that was not something special, I don't know what would be. Just my view, I'm sure.

Brian

:up: :up: :up:Just ask Ronnie Peterson on that day.I was there too.

#17 brabhamBT19

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:48

Originally posted by Rosemayer
:up: :up: :up:Just ask Ronnie Peterson on that day.I was there too.


??? Ronnie Peterson ???

can you shed some light on this? or is this some in-joke?

#18 JacnGille

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:52

Originally posted by Rosemayer
I was there too.


As was I.

#19 B Squared

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:54

Unsure of the Peterson note too, as Ronnie was gone.

However, Jacques Laffite quote from Nigel Roebuck: I watched the session from the pits with Jacques Laffite, who like several of his colleagues, had declined to go out at all in the monsoon. "Look at him," Jacques said as Gilles fishtailed past. "He's not like the rest of us. He's on another level..."

Brian

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#20 Speedy27

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 13:30

Originally posted by fines
At the time, I had little doubt in my mind that Pironi would beat Villeneuve in the championship - he had the same pace, and was much, much smarter. People look at 1981, when Didier was new to the team, and driving that monster of a car, which btw was Villenueve's "child", developed by him during 1980. With Pironi's input, they built a much better car for '82, and I think Didier realised it was a waste of time to risk his neck in the '81 car. Mind you, he was still on the pace with it in many races, even if not that spectacular as Gilles.

Villeneuve was driving for the grandstand, and for that he is still revered today, while Pironi drove for results. It was much like 1979 with Jody again, and I'm sure the results would've been the same: Pironi World Champion, and Gilles runner-up. Just my tuppence worth.



As regards your belief that Pironi was as quick as Gilles, I never felt that he was in the same league, so I re-checked the history regarding the first four rounds of the 82 season and was surprised to realize the extent of the difference in their respective pace in a car that, as you state, contained significant input from Pironi. In these races leading up to Zolder, Villeneuve outqualified his team mate 4 - 0; the word 'comprehensive' is likely too mild when used to illustrate the extent of GV's dominance.

South Africa - GV (3rd) : 1:07.106 - DP (6th) : 1:08.360
Brazil - GV (2nd) : 1:29.173 - DP (8th) : 1:30.655
Long Beach - GV (7th) : 1:28.476 - DP (9th) : 1:28.680
Imola - GV (3rd) : 1:30.717 - DP (4th) : 1:32.020 (in a heavily depleted field)

It is also worth noting that GV had his points for third place removed at Long Beach after the successful protest againt the extended rear wing that Ferrari chose to run there. Had this not been the case, Gilles would have been leading Pironi by 2 points in the championship after Imola; and this gap would have extended to 8 points, had the first two places at Imola - somehow - been reversed.

History shows that Pironi was leading the championship at the time of his accident at Hockenheim. When one studies the individual race results leading up to that point, it is hard to miss how this was helped by the evidently quicker Renault's becoming increasingly unreliable as the season progressed.

So, while there is no question that Pironi was a quick and consistently effective racer - he illustrated this at Ligier before moving to Ferrari - there is nothing to indicate, in 1981 and/or 1982, that he was real competition for Gilles insofar as outright pace was concerned. If they had both survived 1982, there would likely be no question today as to which of the two of them were ultimately better equipped with 'the right stuff' to respond to the intensifying challenges and opportunities they each faced for the title that year. The tragedies of that season denied us enjoying what would surely have been a sensational contest, as each one would likely have had to raise their game throughout the year. However, in the absence of the facts, any retrospective assertions or predictions in that regard are absolutely meaningless.

As regards the original thread question regarding Pironi's hero and/or villain reputation, the most in depth study I have read about him is the book 'Didier - Dreams and Nightmares' by Lorie Coffey and Jan Moller. The author, seemingly a Pironi fan, leaves the reader with a fairly good understanding of the character of this very driven man. Not least as there is so little elsewhere to read about Pironi, it is worth a read.

#21 Henri Greuter

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 14:00

For the Dutch members among us:

RTL GP magazine did a nice article on Didier in their last edition, out for sale now.




Henri

#22 Spitfire

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 14:21

Originally posted by B Squared
Unsure of the Peterson note too, as Ronnie was gone.

However, Jacques Laffite quote from Nigel Roebuck: I watched the session from the pits with Jacques Laffite, who like several of his colleagues, had declined to go out at all in the monsoon. "Look at him," Jacques said as Gilles fishtailed past. "He's not like the rest of us. He's on another level..."

Brian


I was there too. Hasn't this - "GV practice times at the Glen" turned into one of the greatest fish stories in all of motorsports? I mean, yes there was an enormous time difference, but it was heavy rain, and no one else was really trying.

Speedy27 that's an excellent post, but forgive me if I don't buy the "best equipped with the right stuff" . . . '82 would have been fascinating to see who would prevail, but there's a difference between all out speed, and gaining a WDC.

But getting back to the question at hand, I do think the villain tag is very unfair to Pironi. GV had every opportunity to understand that Pironi was going to make a race of it at Imola. I think he had nobody but himself to blame for losing the race. I'm sure others don't see it that way.

#23 Henri Greuter

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 14:33

Originally posted by Spitfire


I was there too. Hasn't this - "GV practice times at the Glen" turned into one of the greatest fish stories in all of motorsports? I mean, yes there was an enormous time difference, but it was heavy rain, and no one else was really trying.

Speedy27 that's an excellent post, but forgive me if I don't buy the "best equipped with the right stuff" . . . '82 would have been fascinating to see who would prevail, but there's a difference between all out speed, and gaining a WDC.

But getting back to the question at hand, I do think the villain tag is very unfair to Pironi. GV had every opportunity to understand that Pironi was going to make a race of it at Imola. I think he had nobody but himself to blame for losing the race. I'm sure others don't see it that way.




I wasn't there but a diehard Indycar fan friend I have was there.
I've often talked with him about that day since I am a GV fan and wanted to know how it was.
He told me that it was one of the most miserable days he ever had at any track.
But then as he told me, he wouldn't have missed if for s split second.
because he had seen Villeneuve performing that day and that performance was (as he said to me) "worth every cold and risk of pneumonia I took that day."


Henri

#24 Speedy27

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 14:35

Originally posted by Spitfire


I was there too. Hasn't this - "GV practice times at the Glen" turned into one of the greatest fish stories in all of motorsports? I mean, yes there was an enormous time difference, but it was heavy rain, and no one else was really trying.

Speedy27 that's an excellent post, but forgive me if I don't buy the "best equipped with the right stuff" . . . '82 would have been fascinating to see who would prevail, but there's a difference between all out speed, and gaining a WDC.

But getting back to the question at hand, I do think the villain tag is very unfair to Pironi. GV had every opportunity to understand that Pironi was going to make a race of it at Imola. I think he had nobody but himself to blame for losing the race. I'm sure others don't see it that way.


Thanks Spitfire - I agree with you totally! My comment regarding 'the right stuff' was meant to imply the complete picture i.e. a mixture of speed and the savvy required to work at accumulating the most points over a whole season. So, while Pironi's challenge would have been to get quicker in the 126C2, Gilles' would have been to slow it down a bit at times to bank the 'safe' points. Sadly for me, as Gilles is one of my all time racing hero's, the only nagging uncertainty remaining about the extent of his awesome talent is whether he would have successfully met the latter challenge in 1982. Unsurprisingly, I choose to believe that he would have done so!!

#25 Gabrci

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 14:38

Is it clear under what orders the Ferraris were running in Imola? I don't think we'll ever know.

#26 Speedy27

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 15:01

Originally posted by Gabrci
Is it clear under what orders the Ferraris were running in Imola? I don't think we'll ever know.


It appeared that team orders were publicly declared when the "slow" board was shown to the drivers after Arnoux had retired (on lap 45 of 60.) At that point, Villeneuve was leading from Pironi.

After the race, there was initially an official comment from the team that there were no team orders, which was followed by a comment from Enzo Ferrari indicating that Pironi had misunderstood the situation.

#27 Gabrci

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 15:08

Originally posted by Speedy27


It appeared that team orders were publicly declared when the "slow" board was shown to the drivers after Arnoux had retired (on lap 45 of 60.) At that point, Villeneuve was leading from Pironi.

After the race, there was initially an official comment from the team that there were no team orders, which was followed by a comment from Enzo Ferrari indicating that Pironi had misunderstood the situation.


... so we'll never know what the truth is and what the drivers were told before the race :)

#28 Speedy27

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 15:13

To me, the showing of the 'slow' board indicated the team orders that were in place without any ambiguity.

#29 ensign14

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 15:14

The lap times suggest that things were a lot slower when Gilles was in front...Pironi was behind Gilles almost throughout until Arnoux retired, Villeneuve then shut off, Pironi went from 3 seconds back into the lead in 3 laps, then when Gilles re-took the lead he slowed the pace for conservation, then Pironi went harry flatters to take and keep the lead. Even on the final lap Villeneuve, back in front, slowed down, and Pironi pipped him almost at the last.

Had it gone on much longer they both could have been out of fuel.

#30 gerrit stevens

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 15:32

Originally posted by ensign14
The lap times suggest that things were a lot slower when Gilles was in front...Pironi was behind Gilles almost throughout until Arnoux retired, Villeneuve then shut off, Pironi went from 3 seconds back into the lead in 3 laps, then when Gilles re-took the lead he slowed the pace for conservation, then Pironi went harry flatters to take and keep the lead. Even on the final lap Villeneuve, back in front, slowed down, and Pironi pipped him almost at the last.

Had it gone on much longer they both could have been out of fuel.


A few weeks ago on Belgian TV (Canvas) there was a special about Villeneuve and especially about the Imola race. Gilles understood the "slower board" sign as keeping your position. When Pironi overtook him Gilles felt that as a betrayal.

Gerrit Stevens

#31 Rosemayer

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 15:40

Originally posted by Rosemayer
:up: :up: :up:Just ask Ronnie Peterson on that day.I was there too.


Sorry total brain fart don't post while at work doing other things.I ment Mario Andretti.Peterson was his teammate at Lotus.

#32 B Squared

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 15:40

"Hasn't this - "GV practice times at the Glen" turned into one of the greatest fish stories in all of motorsports? I mean, yes there was an enormous time difference, but it was heavy rain, and no one else was really trying." Spitfire

"I scared myself rigid that day", 1979 World Champion and teammate Jody Scheckter remembered. "I thought I had to be quickest. Then I saw Gilles' time and - I still don't really understand how it was possible. Eleven seconds!"

"He was the fastest racing driver the world has ever seen." also Jody Scheckter's quote. I remember Jody as pretty quick and respectable as a driver himself. Greatest fish story? I don't think so. It seems Jody didn't either.

Brian

#33 Hieronymus

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 17:15

This constant comparison between Didier and Gilles is absolute bulls***. Both were more than above average drivers. Rather discuss them as individuals, but not as a siamese twins.

#34 RStock

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 17:19

Originally posted by Spitfire


I was there too. Hasn't this - "GV practice times at the Glen" turned into one of the greatest fish stories in all of motorsports? I mean, yes there was an enormous time difference, but it was heavy rain, and no one else was really trying.


Um.. But I always thought that was the point . Gilles knew no fear .


But getting back to the question at hand, I do think the villain tag is very unfair to Pironi. GV had every opportunity to understand that Pironi was going to make a race of it at Imola. I think he had nobody but himself to blame for losing the race. I'm sure others don't see it that way.


I don't agree with Pironi being a villain either . He was trying to establish his reputation also . People claim Gilles was overdriving due to anger that day in Belgium . The only oddity in my opinion would have been if Gilles had not been going all out , as it was his nature .

I've always thought if any fault lies with anyone it's

a.) Marco Picinnini for not controling the situation better and getting on top of it quickly .

b) The design of the car . It just was not strong in a crash , evidenced by Gilles AND Pironi's fate .

#35 Doug Nye

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 17:32

Originally posted by Hieronymus
This constant comparison between Didier and Gilles is absolute bulls***. Both were more than above average drivers. Rather discuss them as individuals, but not as a siamese twins.


:up: :up: Proper racing drivers. 'Me first' hardly comes close. Both ate red meat. The real racers who in their pomp one might take home to meet mum have been few and far between... Was Pironi hero or villain? Neither. Just another brief talent - sadly unfulfilled. A friend of mine was speaking very warmly this morning of what a good, proper, bloke Jaarno Trulli is. "So of course - he's never going to make it...".

DCN

#36 Rosemayer

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 17:51

Originally posted by B Squared
"Hasn't this - "GV practice times at the Glen" turned into one of the greatest fish stories in all of motorsports? I mean, yes there was an enormous time difference, but it was heavy rain, and no one else was really trying." Spitfire

"I scared myself rigid that day", 1979 World Champion and teammate Jody Scheckter remembered. "I thought I had to be quickest. Then I saw Gilles' time and - I still don't really understand how it was possible. Eleven seconds!"

"He was the fastest racing driver the world has ever seen." also Jody Scheckter's quote. I remember Jody as pretty quick and respectable as a driver himself. Greatest fish story? I don't think so. It seems Jody didn't either.

Brian


All I remember of that day was hearing the scream of a V 12 bouncing on the rev limiter and a brief glimpse of Gille in the pouring rain in a 45 degree powerslide full opposite lock never lifting how he didn't spin I will never know.

#37 JacnGille

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 02:02

Originally posted by Rosemayer


All I remember of that day was hearing the scream of a V 12 bouncing on the rev limiter and a brief glimpse of Gille in the pouring rain in a 45 degree powerslide full opposite lock never lifting how he didn't spin I will never know.


I was at the "heel of the Boot" for the first session on Friday. It had stopped raining shortly before the start of the session (as I remember). The first car on track pops over the crest of the hill and is later on the brakes than I could ever imagine. (This after seeing Gilles at Road Atlanta in his Atlantic days.) He finally found the brake pedal and the car just danced on the edge of adhesion for just a second or two before the throttle seems to go to the limits of its travel, the tail comes around, and in a 45 degree power slide off Gilles goes up the hill. I stood there with my mouth agape until my attention was brought back with the sound of the next car.

#38 stuartbrs

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 09:46

Pironi only did what Senna/Schumacher would do week in week out a few years later..

Ive often wondered, that had Schumacher and Senna been team mates in 1994, would Schumacher cop the same kind of vitriol that was handed out to Pironi??

Im not passing any kind of judgement on that Imola race, but it happens every weekend on tracks right accross the globe nowadays.. perhaps thats a sad reflection on sportsmanship.. but lets be honest.. its been happening in sport for decades.. Its not right, its the way it is, even in cricket.. go back to the 30`s, and the lengths one team went to win...

We all love the noble sportsman, and love to hate a sports villan

Pironi seems to be singled out in motor racing folklore for his sleight against Gilles, after that, it was almost expected, before that, it was largely ignored...

#39 sterling49

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 10:14

Originally posted by JacnGille


I was at the "heel of the Boot" for the first session on Friday. It had stopped raining shortly before the start of the session (as I remember). The first car on track pops over the crest of the hill and is later on the brakes than I could ever imagine. (This after seeing Gilles at Road Atlanta in his Atlantic days.) He finally found the brake pedal and the car just danced on the edge of adhesion for just a second or two before the throttle seems to go to the limits of its travel, the tail comes around, and in a 45 degree power slide off Gilles goes up the hill. I stood there with my mouth agape until my attention was brought back with the sound of the next car.


Was this the time that Jenks was standing with others, in awe of what he was seeing?

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#40 fines

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 15:07

Originally posted by Speedy27
It appeared that team orders were publicly declared when the "slow" board was shown to the drivers after Arnoux had retired (on lap 45 of 60.) At that point, Villeneuve was leading from Pironi.

After the race, there was initially an official comment from the team that there were no team orders, which was followed by a comment from Enzo Ferrari indicating that Pironi had misunderstood the situation.



This is a race where team orders were very publically shown, clear for everybody to see. The result? Reutemann was mostly lauded for ignoring the "unsporting gesture" of the Williams team. That was barely twelve months before the "Imola incident". There, the Ferrari team made clear that the "SLOW" signal did not mean: "hold positions", even if that was later "corrected" by Enzo Ferrari. Perhaps he should have told his team before? Anyway, the whole discussion is beside the point because Pironi was leading when the "SLOW" board was shown for the first time - go back and read the reports.

Also, the story about them running out of fuel has been challenged, as there appears to have been an agreement between the Ferrari and Renault drivers "to put on a show" in the first half of the race, because of the meagre field. Lap times bear out the fact that the four were not racing, but saving their cars, and by half distance they were supposed to be back in their grid positions, with the race beginning in earnest. This story has supposedly been verified by two of the three Frenchmen involved, the third one prefering to stay silent. Whether it's true or not, the fact remains that none of the Ferrari did run out of fuel, and there were no signs of them running low.

I understand the bitterness of Villeneuve, who apparently felt genuinely betrayed, but indications are he was simply mistaken. He himself probably knew best that he could and probably would have won the race if not for that. I can also understand the bitterness of the Villeneuve fans, but I can't see the point in the vitriolic tirades against Pironi - Didier did what every racer (including Gilles) would've done in that situation, and that's taking advantage of a rival lifting off, and he was certainly not responsible for Villeneuve's right foot at Zolder!

Frankly, I find these discussions whether he was a villain or not childish to the extreme. If you can only think in black and white, then better stay in kindergarten, because real life ain't.

#41 ensign14

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 22:25

Originally posted by fines
There, the Ferrari team made clear that the "SLOW" signal did not mean: "hold positions", even if that was later "corrected" by Enzo Ferrari. Perhaps he should have told his team before? Anyway, the whole discussion is beside the point because Pironi was leading when the "SLOW" board was shown for the first time - go back and read the reports.

Wasn't it the rule though that Ferrari orders would be to hold position once they were in front? Like Collins' win in France in 1956? He was ahead of Castellotti at the right time. Certainly Villeneuve was ahead when Arnoux retired.

Automobile Sport has Villeneuve ahead when the "slow" signal is shown for the first time, though. So do Autocourse and Motor Sport. It's possible they're all mistaken, or, as they were printed after Villeneuve's death, were doing so retrospectively to validate Villeneuve's death in some weird way. Or, as Gilles and Didier came around at the end of the lap where Arnoux went out, in that order, they got the slow board ready and hung it out on the next lap as confirmation, by which time Didier had gone ahead.

However there's no doubt from the lap times that Villeneuve DID slow - and the Ferraris ran slower whenever Villeneuve was ahead. When Pironi was ahead he was going much faster to keep ahead of Villeneuve, who was able to overtake him and then slow up.

#42 Michael Clark

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 22:41

Originally posted by Hieronymus
Rather discuss them as individuals, but not as a siamese twins.


After he was killed, Pironi's girlfriend gave birth to twin boys...named Didier and Gilles

#43 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 06:03

I had fully intended to ignore this thread, but Doug and Michael, along with several others, make the points that these were two men who belonged to that class of drivers properly designated as Racers.

Life is complicated and rarely anything but a shade of gray, but to condemn and villify Pironi as many have over the years really does not sit well with me. As irked and disppointed as Villeneuve -- and his fans -- may have been, such is life. Whether or not Villeneuve may or may not have done the same to Pironi is all supposition. These were two highly competitive men to whom winning -- or trying to win, giving one's best --on the track was part of the essence of their very Being.

All the befuddlement as to what the "slow" sign meant is, to me at least, merely more of the usual management chaos and confusion and double-talk that was part and parcel of the Ferrari organization for most of its existence. You take it with a certain understanding that a grain or two of salt will be needed as you sagely nod your head while listening to/ reading what was being proclaimed from the Mount....

No, Pironi is not a "villian" in my book. While I was never as fond of Pironi as I was of Villenueve -- especially after witnessing his amazing F/Atlantic antics, never did he become the Snidely Whiplash in this little drama, at least in my view.

Unfortunately, Pironi is yet another example of how Life Is Not Fair, certainly deserving better than what happened in Germany.

#44 Rosemayer

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 13:47

You got to love this kind of car control. :clap:

Posted Image

#45 sterling49

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 13:55

Brilliant photo, just what modern eff one cannot provide, and we used to get it by the bucket load :clap:

#46 Henri Greuter

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:59

Originally posted by fines



This is a race where team orders were very publically shown, clear for everybody to see. The result? Reutemann was mostly lauded for ignoring the "unsporting gesture" of the Williams team. That was barely twelve months before the "Imola incident". There, the Ferrari team made clear that the "SLOW" signal did not mean: "hold positions", even if that was later "corrected" by Enzo Ferrari. Perhaps he should have told his team before? Anyway, the whole discussion is beside the point because Pironi was leading when the "SLOW" board was shown for the first time - go back and read the reports.

Also, the story about them running out of fuel has been challenged, as there appears to have been an agreement between the Ferrari and Renault drivers "to put on a show" in the first half of the race, because of the meagre field. Lap times bear out the fact that the four were not racing, but saving their cars, and by half distance they were supposed to be back in their grid positions, with the race beginning in earnest. This story has supposedly been verified by two of the three Frenchmen involved, the third one prefering to stay silent. Whether it's true or not, the fact remains that none of the Ferrari did run out of fuel, and there were no signs of them running low.

I understand the bitterness of Villeneuve, who apparently felt genuinely betrayed, but indications are he was simply mistaken. He himself probably knew best that he could and probably would have won the race if not for that. I can also understand the bitterness of the Villeneuve fans, but I can't see the point in the vitriolic tirades against Pironi - Didier did what every racer (including Gilles) would've done in that situation, and that's taking advantage of a rival lifting off, and he was certainly not responsible for Villeneuve's right foot at Zolder!

Frankly, I find these discussions whether he was a villain or not childish to the extreme. If you can only think in black and white, then better stay in kindergarten, because real life ain't.





What about France 1982:

The pitboard of Renault: 1 alain 2 Rene

Alos pictured widely.

Henri

#47 fines

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 08:31

Originally posted by ensign14
Automobile Sport has Villeneuve ahead when the "slow" signal is shown for the first time, though. So do Autocourse and Motor Sport. It's possible they're all mistaken, or, as they were printed after Villeneuve's death, were doing so retrospectively to validate Villeneuve's death in some weird way. Or, as Gilles and Didier came around at the end of the lap where Arnoux went out, in that order, they got the slow board ready and hung it out on the next lap as confirmation, by which time Didier had gone ahead.

To make my point clear, yes, that's the way I always understood it to have happened: Pironi had just taken the lead from Villeneuve when the boards were shown for the first time.

And thanks, Henri, for another example: isn't it weird how René and Carlos were always seen as "deprived heroes", with Prost and Jones the "villains"? Agreed, in that Pironi didn't lead as clearly as Arnoux or Reutemann, but team orders are team orders, are team orders...

#48 brabhamBT19

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:05

I have to say something that is being on my mind for sometime.

Please do not misunderstand.

For me if any of those two was villain it was Villeneuve. Yes, I know you all loved him because he drove for the spectators, but what about his children, did he drove for them too? Did he drove for Jacques?
-no he didnt, because children need father and not hero winners. And he deprived his children of having father. Jacques never actualy spoke about that, but that is what I think he will never get over with. Even more so because when he was asked about his father, he always said that he couldnt remember him. Well that is a bit tricky. Not remembering when you were 11? It is not like 2 or 3 y.o. I think It was either a great trauma that left him without memories of his father, or more probably his defence tactique. It was easier for him to forget his father than to deal with his death. Losing father at the age of 11 is very traumatic experience.
Therefore Villeneuve's approach to racing in my opinion was irresponsible to his children. Many people that I know for example sold their motorbikes when thay became fathers and I myself stopped with off shore single sailing, and not only that, I changed so much after I became father. I feel that I have to be here to support my child, I cant afford any reckless behaviour anymore.

#49 Roger39

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:34

Originally posted by brabhamBT19
I have to say something that is being on my mind for sometime.

Please do not misunderstand.

For me if any of those two was villain it was Villeneuve. Yes, I know you all loved him because he drove for the spectators, but what about his children, did he drove for them too? Did he drove for Jacques?
-no he didnt, because children need father and not hero winners. And he deprived his children of having father. Jacques never actualy spoke about that, but that is what I think he will never get over with. Even more so because when he was asked about his father, he always said that he couldnt remember him. Well that is a bit tricky. Not remembering when you were 11? It is not like 2 or 3 y.o. I think It was either a great trauma that left him without memories of his father, or more probably his defence tactique. It was easier for him to forget his father than to deal with his death. Losing father at the age of 11 is very traumatic experience.
Therefore Villeneuve's approach to racing in my opinion was irresponsible to his children. Many people that I know for example sold their motorbikes when thay became fathers and I myself stopped with off shore single sailing, and not only that, I changed so much after I became father. I feel that I have to be here to support my child, I cant afford any reckless behaviour anymore.


Bollocks. Gilles was who he was, there was no ways Gilles would have climbed into his Ferrari thinking "I'm a father so I have to change the way I drive". Gilles drove Formula 1 cars for a living, it was also his passion, it had nothing to do with being reckless. He maybe took more chances than most but when its your time its your time and I think Gilles believed that. Gilles happened to die at the wheel of his Ferrari, but he could have died a week later in a helicopter crash or maybe a year later in a road accident or 2 years later from cancer.... And yes, I am a father, I gave up riding motorbikes, flying planes and racing cars to become a father but I have started racing cars again because it's my passion and I love doing it...live your life and do what you love doing..

#50 ensign14

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:46

Originally posted by fines
And thanks, Henri, for another example: isn't it weird how René and Carlos were always seen as "deprived heroes", with Prost and Jones the "villains"? Agreed, in that Pironi didn't lead as clearly as Arnoux or Reutemann, but team orders are team orders, are team orders...

The reason surely is because Arnoux, Reutemann and Villeneuve deserved their victories...they were faster than their team-mates in the relevant races. At best Pironi was guilty of sharp practice, if he really did take the lead before the "slow" signal was hung out for justification purposes given that all that signal could do was confirm what Ferrari's long-established team orders were. There are certainly contemporary references to his last manoeuvre to take the lead when it was too late for Villeneuve to respond as being desperate in the extreme.

Surely the most grotesque example though is Indy 1947. Interesting that Holland was able to swallow his pride to retain a seat in the dominant car of the era.