Clip The Apex
What can be said about Gilles Villeneuve that hasn't already been said? Of his generation, he was probably the most exciting F1 driver on the grid but with a humanity and a desire for fairness few could match.
Born in 1950, Gilles learnt the art of car control in snow mobile racing. I found this quote from him on the skills he learned driving those machines: "Every winter, you would reckon on three or four big spills - and I'm talking about being thrown on to the ice at 100 mph. Those things used to slide a lot, which taught me a great deal about control. And the visibility was terrible! Unless you were leading, you could see nothing, with all the snow blowing about. Good for the reactions - and it stopped me having any worries about racing in the rain." - See more at: http://www.grandprixhistory.org/vill_bio.htm#sthash.FOGhOSLd.dpuf
In the Quebec regional Formula Ford series, with a privately entered two year old car, Villeneuve won seven of the ten races he entered. From there he graduated Formula Atlantic and won his first race in 1975. For 1976 he won all but one of the races in that series. The race me missed out on the team couldn't enter as they had run out of money. Gilles won the championship again in 1977 and, after beating drivers such as James Hunt in a non-championship Formula Atlantic race in 1976 was offered a drive in a third car by McLaren at the British Grand Prix.
In 1976 Montreal hosted the Summer Olympic games. This in itself is not that interesting a fact but what is interesting is that it is estimated that the Olympic stadium cost the city of Montreal somewhere in the region of 1.6 billion Canadian Dollars by the time the bill was fully paid in 2006. What does this have to do with F1? Well apart from the obvious, that the Circuit Ile Notre-Dame, as it was originally known, or the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as it became known, is partly built around the 1976 Olympic Rowing lake, there is a wider reason to celebrate the GP. In the wake of the Olympics the city almost bankrupted itself. Such was the dodgy state of the finances after the Canadian government insisted that the full costs were met by the City, that anything that wasn't nailed down was auctioned off. What this highlights is that while on the surface, it would seem to be the greatest show on earth, under the surface the shear effort required to project that image can do lasting damage. Surely an analogy for F1 if ever there was one.
This is why we must celebrate Canada and the Canadian GP. From the moment that Gilles Villeneuve won the first race held in Montreal in 1978 the circuit has proven time and time again what an asset it is to the F1 calendar. There are any number of great moments that spring to mind from Button harrying Vettel into a last lap mistake to take an unlikely win, to the hilarity of Nelson Piquet winning for Benetton in 91 after Mansell had caused his own engine to cut out when he’d been leading by a mile and slowed down to wave to the crowd. There are even small events such as Takuma Sato in his Super Aguri chasing down and eventually passing Fernando Alonso to finish in 6th place. A move that gained him the award for ‘Overtake of the year’ showing that F1 fans have a sense of humour even in F1 doesn't.
Greeting Comrades, glorious Russian Empire is proud to host electric car racing on streets of Moscow. Enough of the clichés and stereotyping, it's round 9 and this race will be run around the Kremlin, just down the road from Red Square. Wow! Poor old Bernie must be spitting teeth as he has tried for years to get an F1 race around the streets of Moscow.
Formula E had it's first controversy in the last race with Lucas di Grassi being disqualified after the Audi Sport ABT team had made illegal changes to the front wing of his car. This has put Nelson Piquet jnr at the head of the Championship with a 2 point lead of Sebastian Buemi. This series, I suppose as all spec series do, shows the qualities of the drivers rather than the technical brilliance of the designers although I believe that will change next season with more freedom for the entrants on the chassis and motor front.
The Moscow circuit features not 1 but 2 hairpins and two long straights so fan boost could be more important at this race than perhaps at others. Expect the usual suspects to be at the front (no Mephistopheles that doesn't mean Kaiser Soze will be racing) so if you haven't voted for fave yet, get on line and push da button.
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