In the world of motorsport, there are many riders who are constantly focused on the attention of both specialists and the public. Many of them have been quite bright for many years. One of those who are in the cohort of the best masters of driving sports cars is Jacques Villeneuve. His fate and sporting life will be discussed in this article.
Our hero was born on April 9, 1971 in the family of a race car driver. His father - Gilles Villeneuve - in 1978 was able to become the silver medalist of the World Championship in the Formula 1 series, after which the whole family moved to live in Monaco.
At school, Jacques had pretty good academic performance. Especially mathematics and physics were easy for him. However, the young man was drawn into the world of car racing. At the age of five, he tried to drive his father’s car, and at the age of ten, he tried to drive a motorcycle for motocross. Unfortunately, Villeneuve Jacques soon lost his father (he died tragically) and could not decide on his hobbies: he was actively engaged in skiing, devoted himself to music, mathematics, and paid attention to cars.
The beginning of a racing career
At the age of fifteen, the young Canadian enters the best racing school of those times, which was run by Jim Russell. In those days, it was the best educational institution preparing riders for the “Formula Ford - 1600”.
In 1987, Jacques enters another school for riders located in Shannonville. There he took part in races called the Alfa Italian Touring car.
In the period 1989-1991, Villeneuve Jacques traveled to Formula 3 in Italy. There he performed quite successfully, but not as much as the local audience wanted, remembering well the magnificent and fast ride of his late father.
Relocation to Japan
In 1992, the athlete continues his racing career in the Land of the Rising Sun. Already in the first season he was able to take the final second place and receive an invitation to the Toyota Formula Atlantic championship, where he wins five races and at the end of the season becomes the third in the overall standings. It was there that he received the title "Rookie of the Year" for successful performances and winning 7 pole positions.
More than a friend
A special place in the life of the rider to this day is occupied by a man named Craig Pollock. It was he who for Jacques was a manager, and an older friend, and a teacher. It was he who solved all the financial issues of the Canadian and concluded financial contracts. And therefore, knowing the possibilities of Jacques, in 1994 Craig helps him go to the Indikar.
Competitions in America
Speaking at Indikar, Villeneuve Jacques won nothing in the first three races. However, in the fourth race, he was able to show that it is not in vain that he is the son of a famous racer, taking second place. In September 1994, the Canadian was able to take first place on the Elkhart Lake.
In total, in the first season, Jacques earned 94 points and became the sixth in the championship, and also again received a prize in the nomination “Rookie of the Year”. The late Gilles Villeneuve could have been proud of his son.
The next season for a talented rider was more than successful. He was able to become the first 4 times, once the second and twice the third on the podium, which as a result brought him the long-awaited championship. Thanks to this, he was awarded the title "Athlete of the Year" in his homeland. By the way, before Villeneuve, not a single driver in Canada was honored with this significant title by many standards.
Going to Formula 1
On August 16, 1995, Jacques Villeneuve, whose biography is full of various bright events and achievements, moved to the Royal Races in the Williams team. It should be noted that previously not one of the pilots who successfully performed in the “Indikar” was not able to successfully perform in the “Formula 1”. However, the owner of the team took a chance and, as it turned out, did not lose.
Already on March 10, 1996, the Canadian sensationally took pole position on the track during the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Australia, bypassing even his experienced teammate Damon Hill, with whom he developed a productive relationship. As a result of the race, Jacques was the second, and the victory was prevented by problems with the fuel system.
For the first time, Villeneuve took the top step of the podium on April 28, 1996 at the oldest Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit. The main competitors then for him were Hill, Coulthard and Schumacher. However, the Canadian was able to break out into the leaders already at the start and maintain his leading position until the end of the race. Undoubtedly, this was a significant success, and not only specialists spoke about the Canadian, but also the audience with journalists.
Villeneuve's next victory was at Silverstone. Jacques was well acquainted with this route and was able to literally snatch victory. And after the Hungarian Grand Prix, where the Canadian became the first again, they started talking about him as a contender for the championship.
The 1996 championship title was determined in Japan on a track called Suzuka. On October 13, Hill nevertheless managed to get a championship, and Villeneuve ended up being second, scoring 78 points and once again becoming the “Rookie of the Year”. He was able to drive 92.2% of all the tracks of the championship and become the most stable driver, who on average scored 4.87 points for each race.
The start of the championship turned out to be extremely nervous for the Canadian. The Grand Prix, held in his native walls, was unsuccessful for him. He flew off the track already in the second lap, and due to his own mistake.
Arrival in France was also unsuccessful. Villeneuve took fourth place and eventually lagged behind Schumacher in the overall standings by 14 points, which meant only one thing: in order to win the championship title one had to successfully play.
By the last Grand Prix of the season, the German was only one point ahead of the Canadian, and for his own championship he should certainly bypass Jacques on the track in the final race.
The last race of the season was held in Spain. Schumacher from the first seconds rushed forward, Villeneuve fell behind again - once again his extremely uncertain start affected him. Until 47 laps, the Canadian was behind the German, but then something happened that no one expected. When trying to overtake Schumacher, Villeneuve made a maneuver to which the Red Baron reacted extremely aggressively. As a result, Michael’s Ferrari car got off the track, and Jacques remained in the race, continuing to drive very carefully, not trying to overtake anyone, because his main task was to finish in the spectacle zone. As a result, the race was won by the representative of Finland Hakkinen, for whom it was the first victory in his career at that time, and Villeneuve became the third. But this result allowed him to become the twenty-sixth world champion.
In 1998, all Formula 1 teams began to play according to the new rules. The changes promised excitement and intrigue, but ... We need to prepare for new trends in advance, and the owner of Williams showed unspeakable stupidity - he drove out the best engineer of the present, Andrian Newey, from the stable. As a result, the entire team lost the leading specialist, and Jacques - a cool car.
The season has begun, and he has shown that there will only be competition between McLaren and Ferrari. Piloting, in fact, was a struggle with the machine, and not with rivals.
Despite all his efforts, Villeneuve could not become a champion, although he scored points in almost every race. There were problems not only with the machine, but also with technicians who did not favor their pilots. Everything went to the fact that it was necessary to leave this Formula 1 team.
The creation of British American Racing
In the spring of 1999, this team first started racing. However, unfortunately, not a single race was successful. Jacques drove perfectly in qualifications, but rarely came to the finish line in races. As a result, not a single point was scored.
The following seasons became more successful, although not by much. After some time, the team changed leadership, and Villeneuve was out of work. He left the “stable” in 2003.
From 2004 to 2006, the Canadian spoke in such teams as Renault, Sauber-Petronas, BMW Sauber, where he did not achieve how significant results were for himself.
Body Series Racing
In 2007, Jacques goes into the race called "24 hours of Le Mans", where he stands for "Peugeot". Villeneuve and his comrades went second, but did not reach the finish line, having retired due to technical problems. Before the start of these competitions, the aforementioned Canadian manager Craig Pollock said that Villeneuve wants to set a world record for the number of racing series won.
The following year, Jacques again takes part in the competition "24 hours of Le Mans." He was together in a carriage with Mark Genet and Nicolas Minassian. Athletes confidently walked in first position when the weather intervened in the race. As a result, the Peugeot car began to quickly lose its accrued advantage, and by the next morning they were quickly overtaken by competitors in the person of Audi. The end result for Villeneuve and partners was second place.
Here he is - Jacques Villeneuve. “Formula 1” for him was still those races in which he became the most famous and famous. And although today the Canadian is no longer an active racer, he is nevertheless remembered and honored as one of the outstanding pilots of the "Royal Racing" for all the time of their existence.