Like many other Grand Prix enthusiasts I was deeply saddened by the death of Gilles Villeneuve at Zolder on May 8th and felt compelled to put pen to paper regarding this brilliant little French-Canadian.
Gilles was an out-and-out racer. His only object was beating the guy in front, whether he be 2nd or 22nd he would drive absolutely on the limit, all the time and at every circuit. It was the only way he knew.
It was this thorough enthusiasm for driving flat-out that led him, on occasions, to frightening crashes, but he always walked away (or drove away, as at Zandvoort 1979) never knowing when he was beaten.
The paying public loved him, as did the thousands who admired his skills on television. Not the neatest driver — and maybe not the greatest, but certainly nobody gave more in sheer effort than little Gilles, and that is what those who loved him appreciated most.
Formula One, possibly losing public interest due to the constant political “bickering”, has now lost one of its greatest ambassadors in Gilles Villeneuve.
M. N. Bush
[We have received many letters expressing similar sentiments. For D.S.J.’s comments see page 712.]