|Occupation:||Race Car Driver|
|Height:||168 cm (5' 7'')|
|Birth Day:||April 9, 1971|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|168 cm (5' 7'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
He grew up in a family of race car drivers.
In 1984, two years after his father's death, Villeneuve asked his mother if he could follow his father's footsteps and go motor racing. His mother, Joann, promised she would allow him to drive a kart if he got good marks in one of his weakest subjects, mathematics. Villeneuve applied himself at school and soon got the marks he required for his mother to fulfill her promise. A year later, Joann allowed him to drive a 100 cc kart at a kart track in Imola. The owners of the track, Luigi and Massimo Buratti, were impressed by him and after proving himself in a 100 cc machine, he moved up to the 135 cc version before, on the same day, being allowed onto the Grand Prix circuit with a Formula Four car.
Villeneuve was born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, to aspiring Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve and his wife Joann and raised in Monaco. He has a sister Melanie and a half sister Jessica. His uncle, Jacques Sr., was also a racing driver and in 1985 at Road America became the first Canadian to win a CART race. Villeneuve's father eventually became a Ferrari Formula One driver, finishing runner-up in the 1979 season and winning six Grands Prix. When Villeneuve was eleven years old, his father was killed during the qualifying session for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder following a collision with Jochen Mass which sent the car airborne.
In 1988, the seventeen-year-old entered the Alfa Cup and, against former Formula One drivers Johnny Cecotto and Mauro Baldi, finished the two legged race in tenth position. Two weeks later at Monza, Villeneuve was up against the likes of Riccardo Patrese and Nicola Larini.
In 1992, he raced in the Japanese Formula Three series with the TOM's team, winning three races and placing second in the championship, as well as third in the non-championship Macau Grand Prix. Daniel Desmarais acted as Jacques' facilitator during his season in Japan.
During the 1993 season, Villeneuve took seven pole positions and five race victories from the 15 races. However, a few crucial driving errors cost him the series title and so finished his debut season third in the standings.
His Forsythe-Green team took Villeneuve up a level into the IndyCar championship in 1994. In his first year, Villeneuve came second at that year's Indianapolis 500 and won his first race at Road America, the circuit where his uncle had become the first Canadian to win a CART race nine years before. Villeneuve finished the season in sixth position; 131 points behind champion Al Unser Jr. and also taking the Rookie of the Year award.
His performances, as well as his family name, brought him to the attention of Frank Williams, Managerial Director of the Williams Grand Prix team. Williams signed him to his Formula One team for 1996 and Villeneuve began testing the Williams F1 car in 1995 after the IndyCar season. Villeneuve was the last CART IndyCar World Series champion before the 1996 CART/IRL split created two rival series: The Indy Racing League (IRL) and the Champ Car World Series.
From 1996 to 2002 he lived in Monaco, and from 2002 to 2007 he lived in Switzerland. In 2007 he moved to Quebec, buying a $3 million house in Westmount, Montreal, with his mother acting as real estate agent. Villeneuve owned a nightclub and restaurant in Montreal called Newtown, but he sold it in 2009. In 2012 he moved to Andorra, stating that he was leaving Quebec because of the province's language laws, business climate and the general "morose ambiance." Villeneuve and family are currently living in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland.
In 1997, following his win of the Formula One World Championship, Villeneuve appeared in a Volkswagen advert on Quebec television. Villeneuve was seen driving a VW before stopping and saying at the camera that he has nothing against German guys, much less for the "allemandes", referring to the vehicle and German girls—a reference to his rivalry with Michael Schumacher and for the incident at the 1997 European Grand Prix.
Villeneuve's career went into sharp decline following his World Championship title. Remaining with Williams in 1998 (and becoming the first Williams driver since Keke Rosberg in 1982 to stay with the team for his title defense), he struggled with an underpowered Mecachrome engine which were basically rebadged Renault V10 engines from the previous season that despite some development had been overtaken in power by both Ferrari and the Mercedes-Benz powered McLarens. He failed to win a single race (like Hill the previous season), although he did finish on the podium twice in Germany and Hungary. Villeneuve finished fifth in the Drivers' Championship with 21 points, 79 points behind Champion Mika Häkkinen in the McLaren-Mercedes.
In 1999, Villeneuve joined the newly founded British American Racing (BAR) team, co-founded and partly owned by Villeneuve's personal manager, Craig Pollock, and by Adrian Reynard. Joining him as his teammate was Brazilian Ricardo Zonta. There was a lot of media hype about the new squad, but despite the high expectations, BAR had a poor season, retiring from the first eleven races of the season and not scoring a single Championship point. At times the car showed a promising pace, with Villeneuve running in third place at Barcelona, but often technical problems ruined his chances. Villeneuve suffered a high speed crash during practice at the Belgian Grand Prix at the Eau Rouge corner, from which he emerged unharmed.
Despite the lack of a competitive car in 1999, Villeneuve remained loyal to Pollock's team, as did Zonta. The Supertec engines of the previous season were replaced by Honda engines, and the new BAR-Honda package proved to be more competitive, with Villeneuve finishing in the points on seven occasions and almost securing a podium finish at the United States Grand Prix.
Zonta left BAR in 2001 to join Jordan as a test driver. Zonta was replaced by experienced Frenchman Olivier Panis. Villeneuve was involved in a crash at the Australian Grand Prix, the first race of the season, when he hit the back of Ralf Schumacher's Williams. A track marshal was killed when a stray tyre hit him in the chest. Villeneuve scored five points less than the previous season, but finished on the podium twice in Spain and Germany. The latter was the final podium finish of his Grand Prix career.
Villeneuve also appeared briefly in the 2001 Sylvester Stallone action movie Driven as himself.
Pollock was removed from his post as team manager in 2002 and was replaced by Prodrive boss David Richards. Along with Pollock, Richards removed Technical Director Malcolm Oastler and fifty members of staff at BAR. Richards soon began to debate over Villeneuve's £15 million annual salary. From this point on, Villeneuve felt less comfortable at the team. The BAR 004 proved to be a much less competitive car than the teams' previous two, with neither Villeneuve or Panis scoring points consistently with only seven points scored between them, Villeneuve scoring four points to Panis's three.
With one year left to run on his contract Villeneuve turned down a lucrative offer to spend a season racing in CART before returning to BAR for 2004 and 2005, a deal which Villeneuve claimed was spoken about but never actually produced for him to sign. Instead, he decided that he would see out his present deal in the hope of landing a role at another Grand Prix team the following year. Villeneuve was joined by Jenson Button from Renault in 2003 as Panis was offered a position at Toyota. Button would prove to become the second of Villeneuve's teammates to outscore him in the Drivers' Championship as, unlike Villeneuve, Button was able to score consistently with the BAR 005, finishing in the points every two races on average.
With no contract for 2004, Villeneuve was forced to take a sabbatical, but maintained that he wanted to return to the sport. He continued training and made a special appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed driving his late father's Ferrari. In September, Villeneuve returned to Formula One, driving the final three Grands Prix of the season for the French Renault team. Jarno Trulli had fallen out of favour and team boss Flavio Briatore felt Villeneuve would be worth a gamble. Although vowing to help Renault achieve second place in the Constructors' Championship, ahead of his former team BAR, Villeneuve failed to score a single point, unable to finish any of his races on the lead lap; Renault settled for third in the final standings. Villeneuve admitted that the enforced lay-off had cost him vital seat time. With the cars so much faster than in 2003, he found it difficult to adapt, and with an up-and-coming Fernando Alonso as teammate his task was made all the more difficult. Just before his 3-race Renault comeback, Villeneuve signed a two-year contract to drive for Sauber, starting in 2005.
After much uncertainty, in late 2005 BMW confirmed that Villeneuve would race for BMW Sauber in 2006. GP2 frontrunner Heikki Kovalainen and Indycar champion Dan Wheldon had both been linked with the seat, but BMW opted to honour Villeneuve's contract; to cut the contract would possibly have been an expensive exercise that would have cost them around $2 million, and Villeneuve was popular with the sponsors and team personnel.
Villeneuve was engaged to Australian singer Dannii Minogue in the late 1990s and was once engaged to American ballerina Ellen Green. He married his Parisienne girlfriend Johanna Martinez on May 29, 2006, at a civil ceremony in Switzerland. After the ceremony, it was announced the Villeneuves were expecting a baby in November. Johanna gave birth to a son, Jules, on November 14, 2006. Their second son Joakim was born on December 23, 2007. The couple divorced in July 2009. In June 2012, Villeneuve married Camila Lopes, with whom he has had two more sons, Benjamin and Henri.
The title went down to the final round in Jerez. Villeneuve came out as the Drivers World Champion in only his second season. But the race was remembered for a highly controversial collision between himself and title rival Michael Schumacher. As Villeneuve passed Schumacher at the Dry Sac corner on the 48th lap, the German turned into the Canadian's car; leaving Villeneuve with a damaged sidepod. Villeneuve recovered however and took third place while Schumacher retired. The FIA deemed Schumachers actions deliberate and thus disqualified him from the Championship. In the aftermath of the collision, Villeneuve became critical of Schumacher and his driving style, once remarking in a 2006 interview that he believed Schumacher "would be forgotten when he retires."
Villeneuve has appeared in various TV commercials for Honda when he was driving for the BAR team. In March 2006, when driving for BMW Sauber, he appeared in television campaign for Intel's Centrino laptop campaign, in which he touts the benefits of using Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology.
Having won 4 races in his debut season, Villeneuve took the record for most wins for a rookie. He also became the only rookie in Formula One history to finish second in the championship. Both records were later equaled by Lewis Hamilton in 2007.
On January 10, 2007, at the launch of the 908 HDi FAP diesel-powered Le Mans prototype, Villeneuve was confirmed as one of Peugeot Sport's nine drivers for the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans. This was his first drive in a sportscar since working with Toyota in 1992. For the race, Villeneuve shared the No.7 car with Marc Gené and Nicolas Minassian. Villeneuve set the fastest time of the three drivers in qualifying to put the car into fourth place on the starting grid. The car ran second for much of the race before pitting with engine problems at 12:39 pm. The car was officially retired at 1.42pm with only 100 minutes left of the race, after the team decided the problem could not be fixed.
In a subsequent interview with Autosport magazine, Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock confirmed that Villeneuve's Formula One career was over. It was announced on August 24, 2007 that Villeneuve would run the remaining seven races in the Craftsman Truck Series driving a Toyota Tundra for Bill Davis Racing and undertake a full-time Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2008. In Villeneuve's first Truck Series race on September 22, 2007, in Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he qualified in seventh position, and finished 21st. He made his NASCAR Nextel Cup race debut in the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama over the weekend of October 5–7, 2007. He qualified sixth, however, due to his lack of experience in this type of car, he elected to start the race from the back of the field and ran there for most of the race. He finished 21st due to a large number of accidents and mechanical failure on the other cars. Villeneuve failed to qualify for the 2008 Daytona 500. He lost his ride in Bill Davis Racing's No. 27 car due to a loss of sponsorship, two days after he caused a pileup in his qualifying race, when his car got loose, then slid back up the track, colliding with another car. He took part in the Nationwide race in Montreal for Braun Racing. The race started off in the sun, but before halfway, it began to rain and the teams were told to pit and use rain-tires, for the first time in NASCAR. Qualifying 5th, Villeneuve finished 16th after crashing into a car during a caution caused by poor visibility due to the rain. The race ended shortly after.
Though he started writing his lyrics during his lower league days in Japan, it was not until 2006 that he released his first commercial single "Accepterais-tu", a French song with lyrics that fit well with his present personal status—asking his loved one to marry him. On February 19, 2007, Villeneuve released his first album entitled Private Paradise. The launch was held at his café where he performed two songs in front of a crowd largely composed of news reporters. When asked about his expectations on the album he released the following statement: "I hope the album makes a great success. I would never do something hoping to get criticized." His new record had very low sales; as of March 9, 2007, only 233 copies were sold in the entire province of Quebec and about 30 outside of Quebec and Canada – excluding digital sales. On December 31, 2007, Infoman 2007, a satirical end-of-year review on Radio-Canada, announced that he had sold only 836 CDs in North America.
In the 2008 race, Villeneuve and his Nº 7 Peugeot team finished 2nd. The team led for several hours but began to lose their lead when it rained. They did lose the lead in the 15th hour during a pitstop change. The Nº 2 Audi team won after leading for the final 10 hours.
In 2009, Villeneuve had two starts in the Canadian Tire Series. His best start was fifth and his best finish was fourth, both in the August 2009 event at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres. Villeneuve also had two starts in the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series, both for Braun Racing, with his best performance starting sixth and finishing fourth at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, again under wet conditions and the second time rain tires were used in a NASCAR event. He was then tabbed to drive the No. 32 car in Montreal and at Road America in 2010. At Road America, he qualified second and stayed in second place for much of the race including leading three laps. He was unable to complete the race since an alternator wire broke on the final lap; he was credited with a 25th-place finish as the first car one lap down. For 2011 Villeneuve agreed to take over for Brad Keselowski in the number 22 car for Penske Racing in the Nationwide Series for two races which Keselowski could not attend. He started and finished third at Road America; later he won the pole at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve before finishing 27th.
After racing both NASCAR Sprint Cup and Speedcar Series, Villeneuve was invited by the Top Race V6 chairman Alejandro Urtubey to join the series in its major event of the 2008 season, called La Carrera del Año (The Race of the Year), held at the Buenos Aires circuit. Villeneuve raced the No. 27 car (Volkswagen Passat silhouette) of the Oro Racing team and finishing the race in the 16th place. In 2009 he was invited again to run in two out of the three major races in the season: one at Interlagos on July 19 (did not finish after contact with Leonel Pernía and spun) and the other being the second edition of La Carrera del Año at the Buenos Aires circuit on September 20, the last mentioned race being its better results in the series, finishing 13th. During a press conference held during the previous week before La Carrera del Año, Villeneuve stated that he would race the whole 2010 season if he did not get anything in Formula One or NASCAR.
Villeneuve was among the first group inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. Also he was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He was named Canada's Athlete of the Year, receiving the Lou Marsh Trophy in 1995 and 1997. In 1998, he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.
Villeneuve was close to signing with Stefan GP for the 2010 Formula One season, and undertook a seat fitting, but the FIA did not certify Stefan GP for competition in 2010. Villeneuve stated he was still looking for further opportunities in Formula One in 2010 and 2011.
Villeneuve first competed in the V8 Supercar series as an endurance co-driver partnered with Paul Dumbrell for Rod Nash Racing in the 2010 Gold Coast 600.
In 2012, Villeneuve participated in the Sucrogen Townsville 400, Coates Hire Ipswich 300 and Sydney Motorsport Park 360 rounds, driving the No. 51 Pepsi-sponsored Kelly Racing Holden VE Commodore filling in for an injured Greg Murphy.
Villeneuve made his return to the Cup Series in 2013 in the 51 car for Phoenix Racing at Sonoma Raceway.
In 2014 after receiving sponsorship from Julia Wine and Cyclops Gear Villeneuve announced that he will be taking part in the FIA World Rallycross Championship with Albatec Racing. Driving a Peugeot 208 Villeneuve competed in seven events for the Albatec team in 2014 and failed to qualify for the Semi-Finals in any of them. He finished the season in 37th place with 8 points.
In 2015 it was announced that Villeneuve will be taking part in the FIA Formula E Championship with Venturi Grand Prix alongside Stéphane Sarrazin.
In 2016, Villeneuve returned to NASCAR, driving the No. 27 Ford for Wing Nut Racing in the Xfinity Series. Despite initial plans to start at Daytona's PowerShares QQQ 300, Villeneuve announced the team would make its debut two weeks later at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, the 27 team did not show in Las Vegas and did not enter a race in 2016. There are claims that the organization was never legitimate because no cars were ever prepared.
At the third round of the season in Punta del Este, Villeneuve crashed in qualifying and withdrew from the race. In January 2016, Villeneuve announced that he would be parting ways with the squad and leaving the series after a best finish of 11th at the second race in Malaysia.
Villeneuve returned to NASCAR once again in 2019 after he signed a contract with Go Fas Racing to compete full-time in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for the 2019 season. He scored a double podium finish in his second Euro Series race week at Franciacorta. Later at Venray, Villeneuve scored his first pole position in the series and would led the majority of the race before finishing in third for his third podium of the season. His participation in the season finale race at Zolder would mark the first time he raced on the track where his father Gilles was killed in 1982. Despite being involved in a first corner incident on the first race in Zolder, he scored the fastest lap to secure pole position for the second race on Sunday, his second in his Euro Series career. Villeneuve would finish the season in 8th place, 120 points behind champion Loris Hezemans.
On 27 September 2019, Villeneuve states in an interview with German website Leadlap after the race at Hockenheim that he may field his own team for the 2020 season. Later on 27 December 2019, it was announced that Villeneuve will be fielding his own team FEED Racing in the 2020 season, with Villeneuve scheduled to be driving the team's No. 5 car in the renamed-EuroNASCAR PRO class. FEED Racing would later change its name to FEED Vict Racing on 30 January 2020 following a merger with Italian team Racers Motorsport.
Currently, Jacques Villeneuve is 50 years, 0 months and 7 days old. Jacques Villeneuve will celebrate 51st birthday on a Saturday 9th of April 2022.
Find out about Jacques Villeneuve birthday activities in timeline view here.