9 May 2012

Ferrari marks 30th anniversary of Gilles Villeneuve's death

8:04 am on 9 May 2012

Ferrari have marked the 30th anniversary of the death of fan favourite Gilles Villeneuve with the Canadian's son Jacques behind the wheel of one of his cars at the Italian team's Fiorano test track.

With double world champion Fernando Alonso and Brazilian Felipe Massa looking on, the 1997 world champion stepped into the 1979 312 T4 that his father drove to three victories that season.

Also present were some of Villeneuve's old mechanics, former technical director Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and current team principal Stefano Domenicali.

Watching with them were Villeneuve's widow Joann and daughter Melanie.

Villeneuve, runner-up in the 1979 championship to South African team mate Jody Scheckter, died in practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder after a collision with a March driven by Germany's Jochen Mass.

The car was destroyed, cartwheeling across the track while the driver was hurled from the car into the metal catch fence. He was declared dead in hospital that evening.

Ferrari immediately withdrew and went home.

The Canadian Grand Prix circuit in Montreal is named after him while his photo still has pride of place in restaurants frequented by Ferrari employees in Maranello.