Gilles Villeneuve

Mephistopheles

Banned
Contributor
There is a lesson to be learned in that article if indeed it is completely factual and that is:

Don't drive with anger born out of frustration, or indeed just don't drive angry....
 
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FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Especially if you are in a car as badly built as that Ferrari was. If I recall correctly all the seat mounts broke and he was thrown out of the car.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
Yes FB thats right, the seat mounts did break. In fairness to Ferrari though there probably would have been the same result regardless what make he was driving. It wasn't unusual for a driver to be thrown out of his car in previous era's. Remember Martin Donnally's near fatal accident when his Lotus broke in two throwing him onto the track, it's shown in the Senna Movie. Thankfully cars are immeasurably better built today out of stronger more forgiving materials. I don't think they even had crash testing in the early to mid 80's at the time of the Villeneuve accident.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
Actually on that occasion being thrown out of his car was probably what saved Donnelly seeing as though the entire front-section totally exploded...

As for Villeneuve his neck was broken when the car impacted the ground so being thrown out probably wouldn't have made any difference to his chances of survival.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
Pure chance though Incubus, 'probably' is the key word in your first sentence. The main point I was making is that F1 cars today provide a driver with a much better chance of survival.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
Out of decency and respect for Gilles there is no way I'd post his crash but Mark Webber's crash below, is almost identical to that of Villeneuve's and just shows how far we've come. The biggest factor is that the nose structure remains intact on Webber's car where as on Villeneuve's it breaks up and digs the car into the ground and a huge G-force inducing end over end flip. Webber's car on the other hand falls back down on to the track in one piece and then slides to a rest.

 
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Incubus

Champion Elect
Indeed cider_and_toast but there is one major difference, which is that Webber's car landed at a much gentler (if that is the right word) angle than Villeneuve's. Gille's car landed pretty much head-on against the ground...
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
I think that was also one of the cricisms aimed at ground-effect cars at the time... There was some suspicion that a ground-effect car when taking to the air after a crash instead of simply landing at the point of impact was more likely to follow an unpredictable "pattern of flight", with all sorts of weird airflow under the chassis, cars would sort of "hang in the air" for a second or so... Difficult to prove but apart from the crashes involving Villeneuve and Pironi there were also a lot of other crashes involving cars taking to the air in 1982.... I think that was one of the reasons why they decided to revert to flat bottoms in '83.

Maybe that's something to bear in mind for those who long for the return of full ground-effect cars?....
 

Mephistopheles

Banned
Contributor
He didn't die instantly though did he, he died later in hospital and who's to say when his neck was injured it could have happened when his body hit the fencing and not when the car hit the ground and so it is possible that a stronger harness could have saved his life...
 

Mephistopheles

Banned
Contributor
Even though he lost his life you have to remember that these drivers are and were fully aware of the dangers they put themselves in and nothing would stop them from racing, the below video shows this, don't watch if you are easily upset..

 

Kewee

Race Winner
He didn't die instantly though did he, he died later in hospital and who's to say when his neck was injured it could have happened when his body hit the fencing and not when the car hit the ground and so it is possible that a stronger harness could have saved his life...
There is film showing not only the accident but also the aftermath with the medical team trying to restart his heart, it's very graphic. They failed so he did die instantly though I don't think it was ever determined whether it was the violence of the accident or the impact after being thrown out that killed him.
 
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FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
All I can say is that I'm bloody glad we don't see this happening regularly anymore. Jules Bianchi's accident was exactly that where as many previous serious injuries and fatalities in F1 have probably been avoidable. Such is the benefit of hindsight and knowledge of modern safety systems though.
 

Greenlantern101

Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
Contributor
I'm not good with a lack of vowels. 100% no offence meant. Serious!!!! really, no offence!!! How do you pronounce @iokiqc ? P.S. welcome to the site. Hope you stick around many pop in and leave again. PLEASE STAY!!! I hope it's not my fault. Did I say I love new people? and I'm drunk? :D
 

Olivier

Race Winner
I'm from Montreal and witnessing his 3rd position with the front wing detached at the 1981 Grand Prix very close to the track with my 6-years old eyes made me a fan of F1 that still lasts to this day
Welcome @Iokiqc. Greetings from another Gilles fan (and fellow Canadian)
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
what about where he lost his wheel at Zandvoort and someone still managed to point it in the right direction
 
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