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Windsor on Gilles Villeneuve


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#1 TheBunk

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 19:36

http://peterwindsor....classic-gilles/

For everyone like me who think Gilles was the best, most talented and fastest f1 driver ever. Great read!

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#2 Risil

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 19:51

It strikes me as very sad that Keke Rosberg had only had a competitive F1 car for three races when Villeneuve died. The two of them could've put on a hell of a show in the next few years.

Edited by Risil, 31 March 2012 - 19:51.


#3 FLB

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 19:56

http://peterwindsor....classic-gilles/

For everyone like me who think Gilles was the best, most talented and fastest f1 driver ever. Great read!

Peter Windsor liked Gilles a lot. He was one of the few international journalists (regular F1 media) to make it to his funeral in Berthierville, if not the only one.

#4 Wander

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 20:17

It strikes me as very sad that Keke Rosberg had only had a competitive F1 car for three races when Villeneuve died. The two of them could've put on a hell of a show in the next few years.


I certainly wouldn't have minded some more of this: http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#5 Marc Sproule

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 22:52

Because I stumbled into Atlantic series in '75 I got to see him at is finest in those cars, including some epic battling between him and Keke.

For those of you who haven't seen it, this is my Gilles set on flickr....

http://www.flickr.co...57624008130538/

All of my sets, several of which have a number of Rosberg in them....

http://www.flickr.co...81980@N03/sets/

ps

This pic will shed some light on what it was like when Gilles and Keke mixed it up....

http://www.flickr.co...157624008130538

Edited by Marc Sproule, 31 March 2012 - 23:50.


#6 JacnGille

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 23:39

:up:

#7 gillesthegenius

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 01:26

Here is a link to the FIA review of that infamous race.

Super drive from GV. (MA) Undoubtedly the best I have ever watched.


#8 packapoo

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 02:35

Hard to take Windsor seriously after his involvement with USF1.

#9 TheBunk

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:35

Because I stumbled into Atlantic series in '75 I got to see him at is finest in those cars, including some epic battling between him and Keke.

For those of you who haven't seen it, this is my Gilles set on flickr....

http://www.flickr.co...57624008130538/

All of my sets, several of which have a number of Rosberg in them....

http://www.flickr.co...81980@N03/sets/

ps

This pic will shed some light on what it was like when Gilles and Keke mixed it up....

http://www.flickr.co...157624008130538


Thanks!!! :up:

Hard to take Windsor seriously after his involvement with USF1.


Perhaps, but his account of the history of F1, and in this case a particular race of Gilles Villeneuve is second to none. Its also nicely written from the competitors point of view.


#10 cheapracer

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:46

For everyone like me who think Gilles was the best, most talented and fastest f1 driver ever. Great read!


Nope, Alan Jones fan here who was a superior driver to GV.

That race was one of AJ's very few mistakes in F1 (although he did have a sticky brake caliper) and went some way towards costing him the WDC that year.

GV was certainly one of the most spectacular drivers, quite brave and certainly one of the fastest starters F1 has ever seen, but best? Nope. fastest? Nope.

Upon saying that I wish every motor race was full of Kekes and Gilles.


#11 cheapracer

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:53

Perhaps, but his account of the history of F1, and in this case a particular race of Gilles Villeneuve is second to none. Its also nicely written from the competitors point of view.


I remember the race differently, probably being annoyed that Jones was out, I only saw a driver who had destroyed his tyres (as usual) and was seriously holding the field up but couldn't be passed as he had 100hp more ...

http://v.youku.com/v...UwOTM4NjA4.html


#12 gillesthegenius

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 08:31

I remember the race differently, probably being annoyed that Jones was out, I only saw a driver who had destroyed his tyres (as usual) and was seriously holding the field up but couldn't be passed as he had 100hp more ...

http://v.youku.com/v...UwOTM4NjA4.html


But was that car even fast enough to finish in the podium that day? Although GV was indeed gifted the lead by AJ, it was his ballsy move on CR on the back of that audacious start that actually put him in that position to benefit from AJ's mistake. Then the way he held on for victory amidst all that pressure he was under was the stuff of legends. Yes, he did have the benefit of calling on the superior horsepower of the Ferrari engine to resist any attack on him on the straights. But the car was more than a handful in the twisty stuff given how badly it was handling, and he wouldnt have been able to cope up the increasing amount of pressure he was being put under without having to call on the insane amount of talent that god had placed within him.

#13 garoidb

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 09:03

Hard to take Windsor seriously after his involvement with USF1.


I don't understand this attitude. Certainly, we are all free to attribute as much or as little credibility to any journalist as we see fit, but why would the failure of USF1 damage his credibility on this topic. It could hardly be less related to USF1, or commercial F1 matters. And while it did not enhance the reputations of those involved, there is no reason to believe that it colours journalism on historical topics.

That is not to say I think he is a great, or even impartial, journalist though I do sometimes find him entertaining. I just think USF1 is irrelevant.

#14 taran

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:01

I don't understand this attitude. Certainly, we are all free to attribute as much or as little credibility to any journalist as we see fit, but why would the failure of USF1 damage his credibility on this topic. It could hardly be less related to USF1, or commercial F1 matters. And while it did not enhance the reputations of those involved, there is no reason to believe that it colours journalism on historical topics.

That is not to say I think he is a great, or even impartial, journalist though I do sometimes find him entertaining. I just think USF1 is irrelevant.


While the establishment of a race team might be a different metier than F1 journalism, the point packapoo probably is trying to make is professionalism. USF1 was a joke. Compare them to HRT which, however poorly, managed to get a car on the grid. Anyone involved in USF1 has a question mark behind their name regarding professionalism (if not outright credibility). And that carries over to every other aspect of their working life.

Would you trust a banker whose previous efforts all went bankrupt to oversee your pension? Even if its a different job?

Edited by taran, 01 April 2012 - 11:01.


#15 FenderJaguar

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:07

I don't like Peter Windsor. Him writing about a classic race to collect sympathypoints with his usual pink style doesn't make me like him more.

#16 PayasYouRace

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:46

Did Windsor just copy the race report from that race? Seems like a rather large proportion of the article was focussed on the other drivers in the top five. I suppose it is part of the story of the race but not really fitting with a "Classic Gilles" article. To me, the whole article reads in a very old fashioned style.

Of course Villeneuve's race that day was legendary.

#17 Crazy Ninja

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:56

On a slightly related topic, I have Autocar article Windsor wrote on Gilles & Jody in June 1979. If anyone wants a read of it I'll happily share.

#18 handel

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:58

I don't know anything about the USF1 debacle, just didn't follow it. However I find Windsor to be one of the best journalists for F1 fans who care about driving styles/technical aspects. The show he does is also usually great and given that it isn't huge he must have good respect in the community to be able to attract the names he does.

#19 garoidb

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 12:11

While the establishment of a race team might be a different metier than F1 journalism, the point packapoo probably is trying to make is professionalism. USF1 was a joke. Compare them to HRT which, however poorly, managed to get a car on the grid. Anyone involved in USF1 has a question mark behind their name regarding professionalism (if not outright credibility). And that carries over to every other aspect of their working life.
Would you trust a banker whose previous efforts all went bankrupt to oversee your pension? Even if its a different job?


That is the part I don't agree with. It is too much of a generalisation, and takes no account of other evidence of achievement or reliability etc. I don't want to argue about Windsor because I don't know everything about his career but I don't think a career should be blighted by involvement in one failed enterprise.

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#20 jj2728

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 13:54

But was that car even fast enough to finish in the podium that day? Although GV was indeed gifted the lead by AJ, it was his ballsy move on CR on the back of that audacious start that actually put him in that position to benefit from AJ's mistake. Then the way he held on for victory amidst all that pressure he was under was the stuff of legends. Yes, he did have the benefit of calling on the superior horsepower of the Ferrari engine to resist any attack on him on the straights. But the car was more than a handful in the twisty stuff given how badly it was handling, and he wouldnt have been able to cope up the increasing amount of pressure he was being put under without having to call on the insane amount of talent that god had placed within him.


Well said. People tend to remember Gilles for his wild antics and not his sublime car control. Anyone who witnessed him in the rain during practice at Watkins Glen in 1979, among them Nigel Roebuck and DSJ attested to that. He was on a different level alltogether.

#21 911

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 14:35

Those cars were beautiful back then. I miss them!

Great article, btw.

#22 MightyMoose

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 14:41

Sorry, but anyone who dismisses Jarama or Monaco in 1981 as "lucky" needs to take a step back and look at reality.

Those 2 wins are amongst the finest individual performances you will ever see in F1. That Ferrari may well have had 100BHP more than the cars chasing it, it also probably had no more than 70% of the downforce, perhaps even less. To win on those 2 tracks was entirely down to driver skill, nothing more, nothing less. Perhaps it owed something to a little bit of luck, but GV still was in a position to benefit... and that wasn't luck at all!

For evidence, ask yourself where his at the time, highly regarded team-mate finished in those races.

Sure GV would never be on the list of ultimate F1 drivers, but the most entertaining list, most competitive, most honest lists? He'd easily be on those.

It's easy to claim he was a loose cannon, a car breaker, reckless etc, but he did often show a whole lot more.

F1 was undoubtedly poorer for his loss in 1982, I will always feel he'd have been champion that year.

#23 TheBunk

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 14:45

Nope, Alan Jones fan here who was a superior driver to GV.

That race was one of AJ's very few mistakes in F1 (although he did have a sticky brake caliper) and went some way towards costing him the WDC that year.

GV was certainly one of the most spectacular drivers, quite brave and certainly one of the fastest starters F1 has ever seen, but best? Nope. fastest? Nope.

Upon saying that I wish every motor race was full of Kekes and Gilles.


Ive got to confess I dont know enough about AJ to make that sort of judgement. BUt it does make me curious to find out more about him.


I don't like Peter Windsor. Him writing about a classic race to collect sympathypoints with his usual pink style doesn't make me like him more.


I thought this article was pretty sober in contrast to his other, recent, romanticised work. And perhaps he can be a bit too dramatic at times, in the end I do believe he is a man of integrity, and much, much more upfront than certain other F1 journos. The way he sometimes talks how that crash with Frank Williams had an impact on him made me respect him, thats for sure. The mans been through a lot in F1.

Well said. People tend to remember Gilles for his wild antics and not his sublime car control. Anyone who witnessed him in the rain during practice at Watkins Glen in 1979, among them Nigel Roebuck and DSJ attested to that. He was on a different level alltogether.


Yup, how Roebuck wrote about that Watkins practise session was also a treat.

My dad took me to the Dutch GP of 1979 and I did saw Gilles race live, but I was so young (7) that I dont remember a lot of that anymore.

#24 Andy865

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 14:55

I want my freak*** toaster, failure.

#25 Marc Sproule

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 15:22

This is the description I used for the pic in the link below. I think it does a pretty good job illustrating the Gilles I was fortunate enough to see....

Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia...Atlantic Motorsport Park...1976. Gilles Villeneuve spinning his Ecurie Canada March 76B in the last turn for the umpteenth time that weekend. There's armco behind the tower. Every time he spun he ended just inches away from the barrier with the rear wing. Never hit anything. Flat spotted some tires though.

He was always finding the limit and then seeing how far over it he could go.

In those days there were so many cars in the Atlantic series that qualifying was split into two sessions, one for even-numbered cars, one for odd-numbered. Gilles was number 69. A goodly number of those watching from the tower were drivers of even-numbered cars.


http://www.flickr.co...157624008130538

#26 Risil

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 17:57

Hard to take Windsor seriously after his involvement with USF1.


After USF1? :cool:

#27 JacnGille

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:05

Well said. People tend to remember Gilles for his wild antics and not his sublime car control. Anyone who witnessed him in the rain during practice at Watkins Glen in 1979, among them Nigel Roebuck and DSJ attested to that. He was on a different level alltogether.

:up:

#28 JacnGille

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:27

I remember the race differently, probably being annoyed that Jones was out, I only saw a driver who had destroyed his tyres (as usual) and was seriously holding the field up but couldn't be passed as he had 100hp more ...

http://v.youku.com/v...UwOTM4NjA4.html

You should look for Mark Hughes article on Gilles in the April 2002 issue of MotorSport to learn about how Gilles treated his tires.

Edited by JacnGille, 02 April 2012 - 01:28.


#29 Marc Sproule

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:40

Another example of Gilles pushing it to the limit and beyond and making it work. No one else was able to do this at this particular corner.

It was in qualifying iirc.

http://www.flickr.co...157624008130538

#30 RayInTorontoCanada

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 02:27

Hello everyone!

My first ever post on these forums...so what better thread in which to kick it all off on than this one here.

Needless to say, Gilles was my boyhood hero and that Saturday in early May nearly 30 years ago was one of the saddest days in my life. Even looking back on it now.

There's not much to say that hasn't already been said. What I do want to remind people of is that Ron Dennis was offering Gilles more money than what he ended up offering Niki in order to entice the Austrian out of his sabatical. That amount of money was more than what anyone else was getting. In addition, guys like Prost and Rosberg were rating him best on the grid at that time.

I, personally, think GV would have won two titles but I don't think he would have trumped Prost and then Senna when it came to 'ranking' the three in the 'modern era'.

PS

Some of you may remember me from the old 606 and, more recently, Clip The Apex.

Happy to be here!

Edited by RayInTorontoCanada, 02 April 2012 - 02:35.


#31 gillesthegenius

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 02:39

Hello everyone!

My first ever post on these forums...so what better thread in which to kick it all off on than this one here.

Needless to say, Gilles was my boyhood hero and that Saturday in early May nearly 30 years ago was one of the saddest days in my life. Even looking back on it now.

I'm not a real fan of Windsor's writing - especially when he keeps going on and on about how driver X does this or that under breaking, at mid corner, post apex, etc. - so won't comment too much.

What I will say is that Ron Dennis was offering Gilles more money than what he ended up offering Niki in order to entice the Austrian out of his sabatical. That amount of money was more than what anyone else was getting. In addition, guys like Prost and Rosberg were rating him best on the grid at that time.

I, personally, think GV would have won two titles but I don't think he would have trumped Prost and then Senna when it came to 'ranking' the three in the 'modern era'.

PS

Some of you may remember me from the old 606 and, more recently, Clip The Apex.

Happy to be here!


Just imagine how it would have been if he had lived on to drive for Mclaren and had still been there to be joined by Senna in 88? Could F1 have ever gotten any better than that? F1 was undoubtedly robbed by his untimely death.

Edited by gillesthegenius, 02 April 2012 - 02:40.


#32 TheBunk

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 03:37

Just imagine how it would have been if he had lived on to drive for Mclaren and had still been there to be joined by Senna in 88? Could F1 have ever gotten any better than that? F1 was undoubtedly robbed by his untimely death.


F1 has seen too many great drivers pass away, sadly. But I agree Senna vs Gilles wouldv been the absolute ultimate battle.

#33 404KF2

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 03:58

Gilles was just brilliant, a shooting star. Loved to watch him race. I used to see him on TV in snowmobile races in the early seventies. Crazy good, he was.

#34 Henri Greuter

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:57

Just imagine how it would have been if he had lived on to drive for Mclaren and had still been there to be joined by Senna in 88? Could F1 have ever gotten any better than that? F1 was undoubtedly robbed by his untimely death.


Where does this leave Prost?
But OK, let's assume he was out of the picture and not related with McLaren at all

Remember Monza 1979 if it came to obeying team orders.
Do the same for Imola 1982.


Then remember Estoril 1988
Then remember Imola 1989......
Enough said for how stable a team Villeneuve/Senna could have been.

Keke Rosberg himself has once said how mad he became when people were comparing Senna with Gilles, indicating such a comparison would be an insult to Gilles if it came to the sportsman they were and the respect they had for opponents when in battle with someone.
Senna was in many aspects a better driver then Gilles, no doubt about that.
But there are aspects that come with being a racing driver in which I wholeheartedly agree with Rosberg

Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 02 April 2012 - 07:14.


#35 Tombstone

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 11:04

This Month's MotorSport magazine is a dedicated Gilles Villeneuve retrospective.

#36 RayInTorontoCanada

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 13:42

Where does this leave Prost?


Well, as I said in my original post, I think if Gilles' life hadn't been cut short I still think Prost would have out-ranked him in terms of historical lists.

Prost, in my opinion, is horribly under-rated. Look at all the drivers he beat intra-team. There isn't a more impressive list of teammates. Ever.

Inspite of all the pole positions Senna racked up in 1988/89, he still didn't manage to out-score Prost. By then Prost's modus operandi was entirely different to Senna's. I'd suggest that Villeneuve's and Pironi's crashes (the later into Prost himself) in 1982 had some sort of impact on the way Alain went about his business - as did just getting pipped to the title by a slower yet more wiley Lauda in 1984.

Prost wanted to survive and he decided to concentrate on optimizing race-day set up instead of beating Senna to poles.

Anyone remember his mind-boggling win at the 1982 South African GP at Kayalmi ... when he came back from one lap down? Prost was incredibly fast!

Edited by RayInTorontoCanada, 02 April 2012 - 13:45.


#37 schubacca

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 14:23

GV was nuts.

A pure racer through and through.

Windsor tried and failed with USF1. There is no shame in that.



#38 olliek88

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 15:36

GV was nuts.

A pure racer through and through.

Windsor tried and failed with USF1. There is no shame in that.


Not wanting to get off topic but Peter and the others involved at the higher levels of the USF1 "operation" promised a lot of things to a lot of people, who duly gave up their existing jobs & in some cases moved their families to see the USF1 project succeed only to be left with nothing when it (inevitably) went tits up through pretty poor management by those running the ship.

Back to the topic, as someone who wasn't around during Gilles's time i always struggle to know wether or not he was as good as the "legend" suggests, perhaps he was and their are many, many more people better informed than me to pass a valid judgement but his record isn't "all that", although i am aware that for the better part of his career he drove dogs he was still beaten to the 79 WDC by Scheckter. Again though, i'm really not very informed on Gilles.

Edited by olliek88, 02 April 2012 - 15:38.


#39 Louis Siefert

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 16:07

I don't like Peter Windsor. Him writing about a classic race to collect sympathypoints with his usual pink style doesn't make me like him more.


impossible to state the point any better :up: :up:

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#40 garoidb

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 17:35

Back to the topic, as someone who wasn't around during Gilles's time i always struggle to know wether or not he was as good as the "legend" suggests, perhaps he was and their are many, many more people better informed than me to pass a valid judgement but his record isn't "all that", although i am aware that for the better part of his career he drove dogs he was still beaten to the 79 WDC by Scheckter. Again though, i'm really not very informed on Gilles.


And also by Reutemann the year before.

#41 jcbc3

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 18:00

I guess this is the place to retrieve an old post of mine. It was posted in a thread about the fastest qualifiers ever, where Gilles was put in 2nd.

IMHO, Villeneuve is waaaaaaaaaay too high on that list.


For fun I compared Scheckter and GV in 1979. GV outqualified JS 8-7. I then calculated their average gridposition which turned out to be 6.07 for JS and 5.07 for GV.

That surprised me, but I then noticed that if we leave out the last two GP's of the year (Canada and USA) which were held after Scheckter had clinched the championship (he qualified 9 and 16 as opposed to GV's 2 and 3) it turned out that until then Scheckters average gridposition was 5.08 and GV's 5.46.

Now, what is the distinguishing feature of GV's carreer was his unstinting commitment during the years his Ferraris were less than good. 1980 and 1981. However his team mates were in those years a disillusioned Jody Scheckter and a less than stellar Didier Pironi.

In 1978 when he was a rookie he was up against Reutemann who also knew how to pedal a car in qualifying. And GV was annihilated. 13-2 and 4.8 and 7.88 in average starting position.


Sorry, but in my book the evidence of GV being the second best one-lap driver just isn't there. He may have been spectacular. But that aint the same as being fast.



#42 jcbc3

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 18:02

And that being said, I enjoyed VERY much to see him pedal a car. I just don't buy the hype.

#43 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 18:49

Hard to take Windsor seriously after his involvement with USF1.


Have you ever tried to put together a serious racing effort? I actually like him as a racing journalist. His blog is very good and his webcasts "The Flying Lap" are a very good effort, much better than most. :up:

Edited by David M. Kane, 02 April 2012 - 18:51.


#44 schubacca

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 19:24

Not wanting to get off topic but Peter and the others involved at the higher levels of the USF1 "operation" promised a lot of things to a lot of people, who duly gave up their existing jobs & in some cases moved their families to see the USF1 project succeed only to be left with nothing when it (inevitably) went tits up through pretty poor management by those running the ship.

Back to the topic, as someone who wasn't around during Gilles's time i always struggle to know wether or not he was as good as the "legend" suggests, perhaps he was and their are many, many more people better informed than me to pass a valid judgement but his record isn't "all that", although i am aware that for the better part of his career he drove dogs he was still beaten to the 79 WDC by Scheckter. Again though, i'm really not very informed on Gilles.


I was not aware of that. Thanks for the information.

#45 404KF2

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 19:38

Watching Prost or Jones drive was usually like watching paint dry. Watching Gilles drive anything, anytime, anywhere was 100% entertainment, something F-1 has not had enough of for decades.

#46 jcbc3

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 19:42

Watching Prost or Jones drive was usually like watching paint dry. ...


I disagree.

Edited by jcbc3, 02 April 2012 - 19:49.


#47 Wander

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 20:28

I guess this is the place to retrieve an old post of mine. It was posted in a thread about the fastest qualifiers ever, where Gilles was put in 2nd.


What exactly was this list of the fastest qualifiers?

I agree with your reasoning. Gilles is one of those drivers who was just hyped way beyond thanks to a handful of spectacular drives and then an early death. There are many drivers who even drove at the same time as he did and could be quite spectacular, but get no credit whatsoever. Where's the consistency in that?

#48 jcbc3

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 20:38

http://forums.autosp...neuve reutemann

#49 scheivlak

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 20:39

Watching Prost or Jones drive was usually like watching paint dry.

Then I must watch my paint getting dry more closely.

#50 Slowinfastout

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 20:44

Gilles made miracles with cars that were absolutely garbage..

I think the spectacular reliability of today's cars are starting to erode the accurate perception of what it meant to actually have a handful of spectacular drives in those days, nevermind the fact Villeneuve always was spectacular.