F1. Jacques Villeneuve on father Gilles: “Passing on his name is the most beautiful thing” -Formula 1

Almost 40 years after his father passed away, Jacques Villeneuve has chosen to name his fifth son Gilles. A tribute that demonstrates liberation from a burden that had oppressed him for decades

April 1, 2022

C.it took almost 40 years to get rid of a single weight, unbearable and hardly manageable, but in the end Jacques Villeneuve he did it and now, on the eve of his 51st birthday (next April 9th) he faces life without that weight that has followed him for so long. His had a name and surname: Gilles Villeneuve. The father hero of fans all over the world, that father who on 8 May 1982 stopped being real to become a legend and live with that name, that legend, treading the same tracks and the same racetracks, leaving fans with an often difficult comparison to bear, was the worry that Jacques Villeneuve has dragged along for years. Indeed, decades. Four to be precise. Until last January 21, little Gilles was bornfourth son of Jacques Villeneuve who, with that name, wanted to send a beautiful and unique signal, the signal that the weight that oppressed him was no longer there, that Jacques’ life could go on without comparison with the past but, indeed , looking to the future with joy and hope.

M.why to call him Gilles since the other four children (Joakim, Henri, Benjamin and Jules) had no connection with the past, from the name of their grandfather Seville to their uncle Jacques: “Because I thought it was a nice thing to remember my father Gilles. was a great driver, perhaps the most loved of all but if you ask a boy today who Gilles was, they can’t answer you. 40 years have passed since his death, remembering him and passing on his name seemed to me the best thing that could be done. Now people knowing that I have a son named Gilles, they will go and see who my father was and what he did to be loved so much. I don’t want his memory to disappear and calling my last son by his name is a way to continue that legend, that memory because today’s young people will go and see who my father was and what he did. “This year is 40 years after his death, you will probably already have the phone under stress for that anniversary … “Yes, I have several proposals, many calls, I expect everything to arrive, but for you it is a date, a character, for me he was my father and I have a unique memory of him that I would like to keep for myself “.

No.el paddock in Bahrain, just two months old, little Gilles was running around in his pram with dad Jacques running from side to side and mum Giulia smiling patiently: “I want to have a good time, maybe the record, so he starts to get used to it too” laughs Jacques who seems like a happy kid with this red-haired boy with a challenging name. “But yet it was a source of family arguments – Jacques confides – they would have liked that there was only one of Gilles, my father, and that giving the name to another of the family could diminish that memory. But for me the opposite is true, now everyone remembers a great rider, a legend like my father was “.

THEthe presentinstead, is still made of racing: “I played the Nascar race in Daytona. A success, in my opinion and according to many. The team was not very competitive, but I found a fantastic environment. They all welcomed me well, they gave me advice and, importantly in that category, they let me run without hindering or doing misconduct. I used the number 27, the one that made my father famous in Ferrari and I also classified well, in the middle of the group. A great satisfaction and a truly unique experience, I liked it but from what I saw everyone liked it. “And in the meantime he pushes the wheelchair with little Gilles who laughs amused at that half-mad dad who wants to set the paddock crossing record : “So he gets used to it, have you ever seen that when he grows up he ends up dating him as a pilot” says Jacques who walks away laughing out loud. Forty years later, he no longer has that weight in his soul. Now he is free to be Jacques, the son of a legend.

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