F1: Would Gilles Villeneuve be successful today? (Part 2 of 2)

Maybe he would.

Gilles was an extreme driver with a unique personality. That could be used as a marketing tool. Several examples exist today, most notably in American racing. Danica Patrick is a talented driver but has attracted more than her fair share of interest from top teams and sponsors. Charlie Kimball is a decent driver but the case for him to drive for Ganassi probably revolves around the fact that he is the first person with diabetes to compete in a top racing series. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Has experienced more successes off the track than on it. And so on.

Some people believe that Villeneuve was destined to win world championships in Formula 1, but the reality is that he lived for the next lap, where he wanted to be the fastest, or the next corner, where we hoped to outbreak someone and overtake them spectacularly. That is often a bad route to try to win championships, especially in modern times where rock-solid reliability means that drivers need to absolutely try to make the most out of a bad day, even if that means an extremely boring race.

Villeneuve would probably not be successful on the track in terms of victories and championships, but surely he would pull a few inspired performances. Throw in a few brands with deep pockets to support him as an enfant terrible and he would be destined for a successful career.


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