“Gilles is a myth that resists the passage of time” – Patrick Tambay

He is a man tired by illness who nevertheless agreed to answer our questions.

Patrick Tambay has been battling Parkinson’s disease for years.

If his speech is difficult today, his memory is intact.

It’s when there are phone calls like yours that memories come flooding backimmediately replies the 72-year-old man, happy that his friend is remembered.

A close up of a smiling man.

Patrick Tambay in 1983.

Photo: Getty Images/Mike Powell

Gilles was a handsome madman! A good living. He liked nice cars, friends and especially beautiful women, but I shouldn’t tell you that.laughs the former pilot.

On the track, he was total. His commitment was total. For his adversaries it was a heavy presencehe adds.

Gilles was always in the fight, 100% in the fight. He never let go. A little hotheaded even. Besides, he would have had much better results if he had been a little more patient. But Gilles and patience did not mix. He also stated that he knew he was impetuous and abrupt at times. It was his way of being. If he had hesitated to attack a turn hard, he would not have been Gilles Villeneuve. »

A quote from Patrick Tambay, ex-F1 driver and friend of Gilles Villeneuve

After the tragedy at Zolder and the disappearance of his friend Gilles, the Écurie Ferrari offered the French driver the chance to take over Gilles’ car number 27. The memory of his victory in 1983 on the Imola circuit in Italy, a year after the death of his friend, is still very present.

I remember that at the beginning it was a bit cumbersome to take over Gilles’ car, HIS car, emphasizes the former pilot.

At the same time, I thought back to the accident. I thought the first laps were going to be difficult, but I immediately felt his presence, recalls Patrick Tambay. There has always been this presence, Gilles was there with me. He was also in the crowd, which had unfurled banners asking me to avenge him by winning the race. I feel like he was driving with me.

But I can tell you one thing. It was while driving the car that I became aware of Gilles’ immense talent. I have never really been able to match its performance and yet it was the same car. It was Gilles who surpassed himself and who made the car surpass himself as well. I don’t know if you believe in paranormal phenomena, but I assure you that that day, it was not me who drove this car to bring it to victory. »

A quote from Patrick Tambay, ex-F1 driver and friend of Gilles Villeneuve

While still rummaging through his memory box, Patrick Tambay also remembers the friend who introduced him to Quebec.

Oh yes, he made me discover Quebecexclaims the Frenchman as if it were yesterday and he suddenly regained his youthful ardour.

After the races, we were a small group of pilots and we went with him into the woods. We crossed the maple groves like crazy, to finally arrive in what you call the sugar shacks. Afterwards, we went back to fooling around in the woodshe adds with a smile that says a lot about past journeys.

The friendship between the two men will be so great that the French pilot will become the godfather of his son Jacques.

Before leaving, the septuagenarian apologized for his difficult speech due to illness, but he wanted to answer questions.

For me, Gilles will remain a legend. Remembering him after 40 years is proof that he still has his place among the greats. Gilles is a myth that resists the passage of time. »

A quote from Patrick Tambay, ex-F1 driver and friend of Gilles Villeneuve

A time that even speed has not yet managed to catch up with.


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