Villeneuve Pironi (2022) Movie Script

I hesitated so
much to do this.
I don't want it to be hurtful
to anyone.
But this story
is about a very deep betrayal.
It is hurtful... a lot of people.
The story of Gilles Didier...
It's complicated.
So many people don't know the truth.
Two friends
trying to be the greatest.
But destiny decides something else.
Young Quebec driver
Gilles Villeneuve
was fastest qualifier,
breaking the track record
by over a second.
I met him when I was sixteen.
Being so young I didn't have
much references to go by.
You met on a blind date, right?
Well that's a long story,
blind date and all of that...
we'll have to go on for hours
on that.
Gilles was the kind of person
that you fell in love with
for his mind and his passion.
She decided to buy the package.
Well she had to,
she didn't have the choice.
He was a natural born racer.
We were just two kids from Quebec.
We had no money.
I got pregnant...
...and then we got married.
He came home one day
and said, "We're moving".
Well, I sold the house.
He said, "I've bought myself
a ride in Formula Atlantic".
The winner...
Gilles Villeneuve!
The only thing that I wanted
was that I would be there
with him all the time.
And he got to be with the kids.
A lot of the memories I have
of my dad are very short moments.
Gilles Villeneuve wins
the Player's Maritime.
Did you imagine them?
It's all smiles...
Is it what people have told you?
Is it pictures you've seen?
It all gets mixed up.
But I remember that it was fun.
The racetrack was a playground.
You're just bathing
in this environment,
and that's all you know,
and you love it.
I would like to thank each
and every one of you
for coming here today
and supporting...
It was great being with him.
When you're a kid you don't really
understand what speed is.
All you know is that it's fun,
so you just want him
to go faster all the time.
There was a Formula Atlantic
race in Three Rivers.
European Formula One drivers
would come in to the race.
I went over there and raced
against him and got thrashed.
You didn't have to be much of a
brain surgeon to spot his talent.
That was a life changing moment.
We get a phone call, there was
someone on the line saying
"Who is this kid that drives
I would like to see him".
It was Enzo Ferrari.
At that time in '77...
...I was the only
woman in the racing department.
And I was the only English person.
I had 199 men and me
and I had a whale of a time.
Enzo Ferrari...
The Old Man, we called him.
He was a fearsome character.
Ferrari doesn't normally
take a chance on a driver at all.
Enzo just saw something in Gilles.
The pressure from the start
was immense.
Considering his astonishing lack
of experience,
Gilles embraced
being a Ferrari driver.
He was immensely spectacular.
Gilles Villeneuve... Triumph!
His first win was his home
Grand Prix.
His mum and dad were in the crowd...
...It was like a dream world.
Canada hadn't had a Grand Prix
winner before.
It was terrific! It surely must be
the biggest day of your life?
Yeah, it's the biggest day.
Gilles would drive as hard for
fifth place as he would for a win.
He had this daredevil persona.
Across the world
the spectators loved him.
My name is Alan Jones, I just won...
...and I'm sitting
next to Gilles Villeneuve!
At the end of the season in 1980...
...we met with a driver
who was going to be next year's
teammate for Gilles.
This feeling overcame me...
woman's intuition, I guess.
I said to Gilles,
"You should be very wary of him".
"What you see is not what
you're going to get".
I met Didier, I was 18,
Didier was 21.
He was a charming racer
with beautiful eyes.
Wonderful smile, blonde hair.
A real gentleman.
But with the women... Pfft!
He has had a reputation
to be with lots of girls.
Lots of seduction, lots of charisma.
When I met him there was a spark.
But nothing happened.
We just stayed friends.
Didier grew up outside of Paris.
It was a wealthy family.
He had had a very good education.
Didier was sophisticated, intelligent.
He was a hugely ambitious competitor.
He went through
the Renault system...
...and then Formula Three,
Formula Two...
Wherever he was in the world,
Didier called his mother every day.
She was always very strong.
She said to Didier "I let you race".
"But you have to come first".
Didier think that destiny
doesn't exist.
Everyone can make his own destiny.
If you were talking to him,
his manner was almost timid.
But beneath the surface...
...there was steel.
At Ligier he had often been
fearsomely quick.
Didier was the logical driver
for Ferrari to go for.
Gilles represented passion
and flare and emotion.
He had a huge natural ability.
And now a massive global following.
Didier was a courageous racing
driver. More analytical.
His focus was laser-like
on his aspirations
to win a World Championship.
Eleonora Vallone!
They are strong in their head,
they are strong in their body,
and they are very charismatic.
Being with them, on the edge
all the time.
It's amazing adrenaline.
Do you have any special friends
in racing?
Gilles and Didier... My boys.
Together they were terrible.
I was friends with Didier
and Gilles.
They were unbelievably competitive
about the speed.
You could think that Gilles
would be the craziest.
He was not,
Didier was much, much worse.
They all had licences to fly
and they should never have been
allowed to be in the cockpit.
Didier went to Ferrari genuinely believing
he was the fastest driver
in the world.
He was aware though that Ferrari
had become very much
Gilles Villeneuve's team.
Through 1981, Ferrari
had this terrible, terrible car.
Gilles was routinely quicker
than Didier.
With a difficult car,
Gilles was always amazing.
He was like a magician.
At Monaco, Gilles was on
the front row...
...and won the race.
Didier was two rows from the back.
Didier realised through that year...
"I've not had a teammate
like this before."
Ready when you are.
Right, OK, I'm going.
Gilles, how can you be so cheerful
at the end of a race like that?
Gilles had a lovely sense of humour.
There wasn't a malicious bone
in his body.
Gilles was somebody that I really
appreciate on the human side.
He was humble, honest.
And in a car he was very fast,
but very fair.
He was able to do unbelievable things.
That was Gilles.
Gilles was one of the most
charismatic drivers... the history of motorsport.
Italy fell in love with him instantly.
Gilles was their driver.
He was just a normal guy.
He took his family around with him.
My dad had moved his motorhome
to Europe.
He wanted us all to be together.
So we basically lived out
of that motorhome,
driving to every
European Grand Prix.
We were the gypsies of Formula One.
The family life for him
was grounding.
And that was endearing
to the people.
They could see themselves in him.
Enzo Ferrari's son, Dino, died in
his twenties of muscular dystrophy.
The effect on Enzo was devastating.
He never got over that.
He used to go every morning
to the cemetery to salute his son.
It's very difficult to say with
The Old Man
exactly what his feelings were
with people.
He was more interested
in the machine than the drivers.
But if he took somebody under his
wing, he would be super loyal.
Compared with his fellow drivers,
Gilles stood out.
Enzo adored him.
They had a beautiful friendship. For
Gilles, Enzo was this father figure.
And Enzo saw Gilles
as a spiritual son.
My dad was my hero when I was a kid.
But once we got to Europe
and then Ferrari... really changed.
Jacques was a boy and so for my dad,
a boy doesn't cry
or a boy has to be
a little bit tougher.
He wasn't involving me.
So my mother often would force him
to bring me along.
The memory I have
of going to Ferrari
is just sitting atop of a tree.
I would sit all day
just watching him drive.
He was very hard on Jacques.
Melanie was Daddy's girl.
She could do no wrong.
But Jacques had to be the perfect boy.
Gilles thought that if he pushed hard,
he was going to perform better.
I had migraines continuously.
I was really worried also,
I was stressed with him racing.
I was just needing a father.
His life was 24/7 what he was
in a Formula One car.
He was a very selfish man.
But for him, that sole focus...
...that's what he needed
to push the limit.
How do you know when you push
a little more
that you're just not going to fall
off the edge?
Well sometimes you fall off
the edge.
You always know it's dangerous.
But you can't live in fear 24/7.
You're drawn into the whirlwind.
In Formula One...
death was more acceptable...
...because it was happening so often.
Nobody was super shocked
if somebody got killed.
They were there to do a job,
to win races.
Gilles had this philosophy.
Every time you see an accident,
you think "Can it happen to me..?
No. Because I'm not going
to be in this situation".
You force yourself to believe
that that cannot happen to you.
Maybe I will have a big accident.
But I'm not going to get killed
in a car if you want.
Why, I can't say,
but that's the feeling I have.
Didier was the president of the
Grand Prix Drivers' Association.
At that time, nobody wanted the
GPDA, other than the drivers.
This was the era of ground effects.
Cars had essentially no suspension.
At the same time the cornering
forces were hugely dangerous.
Didier could have been a politician.
He was very forthright
and straight to the point.
Didier understand the danger.
But at every moment he tried
to be in control.
You have to control the machine
because at one moment...
the machine is going to control you.
In 1982 Ferrari had made a much more
sophisticated car.
The gains in technology
seemed to enable Pironi
to come up to Villeneuve's level.
That was the first time
that the two Ferrari drivers
seemed equally matched.
The principal sponsor of Ferrari at
that time met with Didier in Paris.
There was a plan being laid out
to see how the support
in Ferrari could be shaped
more towards Didier.
In the mind of Didier... You've had
Gilles now here now for four years,
driving the wheels off the car,
and in some cases literally.
He's won races, but he's not won
a World Championship.
I'm the person that you should now
put your support behind to win
the next World Championship
for Ferrari.
Didier was driven to be
World Champion in his own mind.
It's not an easy trip.
To get there you've got to have
a lot of people on board with you.
The Old Man had a lot of faith
in Marco.
Marco was a very intelligent person.
In the meetings they had... it was
always Marco who had the last word.
Didier asked Marco Piccinini
to be his best man.
May not have been his best friend,
but he was going to be
his best man at his wedding.
Would that be a political move?
We found out that Didier
had gotten married
when we arrived at the racetrack
at Imola the week after.
We had not been told,
not been invited, nothing.
It was a disappointment to Gilles.
He considered Didier
as a very, very close friend.
Gilles was completely without guile.
He was so absolute in everything.
Including in his trust of people.
Old Man Ferrari liked to put
people against each other
in the team.
He felt that motivated them more.
But I had a great relationship
with Gilles.
Everything was to make
the team better.
We trusted each other.
Going into the race at Monza in '79,
if Jody won,
he was going to be World Champion.
Ferrari had a rule...
if the Ferrari's were running first
and second,
the order in which they were running
when they became first and second,
that's the order
they go over the line.
You don't pass your teammate.
There were periods in that time he
could have tried to overtake me.
But I knew Gilles as a person.
Gilles obediently sat behind Jody
for the rest of the race.
Knowing that in so doing,
he was ending his own chances
of winning the World Championship.
He was a good person,
he was very honest.
Maybe to the extent of being naive.
1982 My dad was seeing '82
as his season.
The same way '79 was Scheckter's.
He had given so much to Ferrari
that he deserved something back.
He knew he had a winning car.
He was going for the Championship
that season for the first time
in his F1 career.
So in his mind, '82 was his.
He didn't need to worry
about his teammate.
In 1982, politically
there was a battle
over who controls Formula One.
Most teams boycotted Imola.
It was going to be a race
between Ferrari and Renault
with Rene Arnoux and Alain Prost.
Before the race, Didier, Gilles,
Rene and myself had a discussion.
Because we had very little number
of cars, we decided to make a show
for all the fans...
trying to overtake each other
at the beginning.
Middle of the race we fight.
And then before the end of the race,
we don't overtake anymore.
The one leading the race should win.
That was the deal.
Mauro Forghieri was not
at the racetrack at Imola
for family reasons.
I blew up the engine.
I was out of the race very quickly.
Ferrari are running one-two
and Gilles is leading.
We go back to the Ferrari rule.
This should be the order
in which they cross the line.
The Ferrari drivers were given
the slow sign.
Which was a reminder of the team orders.
The signal was going out...
Hold position!
That weekend, Gilles had been
super quick compared with Didier.
So he backed right off,
couple of seconds a lap.
Gilles was cruising.
But then he made a mistake.
Didier was now in front.
He picked up the pace.
Gilles got back in front.
And slowed it up again.
This pattern was repeated
several times.
The pair of them were in a battle.
Gilles took the lead again.
We've put on a show for the crowd.
Now we just cruise to the finish.
The last overtaking spot
on the last lap.
That was it.
I'll never forget how angry he was.
He was raging!
Gilles didn't even
want to go up on the podium.
If you beat me fairly, I'm good.
But if you cheat...
that's not racing.
Gilles felt this enormous betrayal
from someone he thought
was a friend.
The week after I was on my phone for
hours trying to calm down Gilles.
He could not calm down.
For Gilles it was all about friendship.
He could not get over how his trust
had been betrayed.
Gilles said "I'm not going to speak
to him again ever".
"I've declared war".
Gilles never saw it coming.
Where to me it was like
"Yeah sure... I told you..."
Having understood that Marco was
Didier's best man at his wedding,
Didier knew that he wouldn't
be reprimanded.
It was an illustration
of his single mindedness.
"Gilles Villeneuve,
I don't give a damn about you".
"I'm racing for myself".
Gilles was deeply upset.
Enzo initially stood behind Didier.
Then the next day retracted and said
what had happened was wrong.
But by then Gilles felt betrayed
by the whole situation.
It's not only the agreement.
But it's the way that Ferrari react.
That means that justice
does not mean anything.
It was one of the few races
I didn't go to.
Melanie was doing
her first communion.
I thought, you know, first
communions come once in a lifetime.
There are going to be
many more races.
It was the qualifying session.
Didier was fractionally quicker
than Gilles.
In motor racing,
emotion is dangerous.
Gilles used two sets
of qualifying tyres.
The best had been taken out of them.
But he wanted a third
qualifying run.
He was only focused
on Didier's time.
When you start to have this
motivation that is the maximum risk.
I was in Monaco.
I received a call
from Jody Scheckter.
He explained to me that Gilles
just had a big accident.
It was very serious and I had to fly
to Belgium immediately.
I couldn't comprehend
what he was telling me.
I kept thinking, "Well he's going
to be OK, so it's OK."
Gilles was closing very quickly
on Jochen Mass.
He tried to take the long way round.
Jochen did nothing wrong, he was
trying to get out of the way.
In a split second Gilles
took the wrong action.
When I got to the hospital,
I could not bring myself to...
...understand it.
He was already hooked up
to all the machines.
They explained to me
that the spinal cord had been cut.
They can't fix that.
There's nothing you can do or say.
You just sit there by his side.
And wait for the end to come.
When someone gets very sick
and it's a slow process,
you have the time to say goodbye.
This kind of thing you don't.
Also it's not going to be private.
It's going to be public.
It was very uncomfortable.
I didn't like to see him there.
It lasted for days it feels like.
The whole of Canada
had just stopped.
As a kid it didn't make sense.
We knew our dad was special.
But seeing that kind of reaction...
he wasn't ours anymore.
For me firstly, Gilles was the most
genuine person I ever knew.
He was the fastest racing driver
history has ever known.
After Gilles' death, The Old Man
made this statement.
"His death has deprived us
of a great champion.
"One that I loved very much.
"My life is full of sad memories.
"I look back, I see the faces
of my loved ones...
"and among them...
"I see him".
Didier got pole position
in Montreal.
He stalled at the start.
Young Riccardo Paletti who was
starting from the back of the grid,
and was unsighted by all the cars
in front of him.
He hit the parked Ferrari.
The impact had killed him, he died.
By the time we got to mid summer,
Ferrari had the quickest car
at that time, and Didier had won the
Dutch Grand Prix as well as Imola.
He was emerging as the principle
World Championship title contender,
with the potential of being the
first ever French World Champion.
It was a practice session
at a very high-speed circuit.
In conditions
which were very, very bad.
In Hockenheim when you had
the spray, because of the trees
it stays in the air for a long time.
You could not see anything.
Not many cars went out.
Except for Didier.
He was running, running, running,
and he was really trying
to show to everybody
that he was the best,
he was at the top.
Didier was normally able
to rationalise the situation.
But he didn't need to be doing what
he was doing.
I was on my first lap.
Derek Daly was behind me...
and then Didier.
Didier was closing very quickly
on Daly.
Maximum commitment.
He drove into a ball of spray.
And was blinded.
The car went like this beside me.
I went and looked at Didier's car.
The shock was really, really awful.
When Didier had his accident I might
have thought "Oh, well done".
You know, or... you know,
that little vengeful part of you
that says that.
But then when you sit down
with yourself and you say,
"Do you really think that?"
You can't want bad on someone.
At the time I was also at hospital.
I was suffering from an illness.
Didier called me
because I was also in pain.
He thought that maybe I will
understand more
than the others, what he is feeling.
He had more than 30 surgeries.
His leg broke and broke again.
He was amazingly courageous.
He said to me, "I want you
to come to live with me".
And then it starts...
We were both broken.
And we tried to reconstruct each
other in the silence of the forest.
Didier loved astronomy.
We had a big telescope at home.
We were looking at the stars.
He was fascinated by the galaxy.
He changed a lot after his accident.
Like a star, he become a shadow.
I see his eyes
when he speak about Gilles.
To know that he's never going to see
him again...
...and to talk about
what happened at Imola.
He has a big, big regret.
Gilles' death...
It's what he has to carry
all his life.
Gilles was my teenage sweetheart.
He was the other half of me.
After Gilles' accident I had
to learn to do everything on my own.
It took many years to process.
I was very angry.
The anger left to some extent
and it's just pain.
But it's not the pain
of a 48 year old,
it's the pain of an eight year old
that is being recycled.
You have to find a focus.
I had two children that were left
without a father that needed me.
If your son comes to you
one day and says,
"Papa, I want to do what you do".
Sure son, that's what I want him
to do in fact.
I have already bought him a little motorcycle.
- How old is he?
- He's eight now.
He was... Are you nuts?
Oh it's no problem with him.
I would like him to be in racing.
I knew at five years old
I would be a race car driver.
How can I tell my son not to do
what his father did?
I couldn't bring myself
to not let him do what he loved.
In the first few years of racing,
my mother really helped me.
For me there was this weight
and pressure while he was alive.
And this was gone.
It really had a huge impact
on who I then became.
He's in the most glamorous
racing world, Formula One.
Jacques' father Gilles,
a swashbuckling racer.
That legacy, son of Gilles,
has dogged him ever since.
I'm not trying to walk into
his shadow or to do better than him.
I don't want to know if I drive
like him. I don't really care.
I was racing
because I was wanting to race.
Not because I wanted to carry on
what my dad had started.
Which is what a lot of people
were wanting to see.
Whilst Didier was trying
to get back to Formula One,
he has to put his energy somewhere.
When Didier arrived in the sport
of offshore,
he was totally committed to it.
Here was a guy who arrived
on the dockside and said,
"I'm going to win a championship".
Didier built a race boat
called Colibri.
As a design it was beautiful.
It was 20% lighter
than any other boat,
with more powerful engines
and basically nothing
to give it any directional stability
at all.
In the summer of '87, Didier and I
decide to have a baby.
He loved children and he really
wanted to have a family.
Because of my illness, the only way
for us, it's to have IVF.
It was my fifth attempt.
Out of the blue the hospital say,
"Your result is positive".
Then I just start to cry.
We found that we have twins.
Didier said, "I have done two
instead of one".
This is again competitivity.
He was so happy.
And then he went to England
for his next race.
When the flag dropped,
two boats were leading the race.
One was Didier in Colibri.
The other one was Pinot di Pinot.
They swapped the lead
about four or five times.
On lap two, in front of them...
...was this slow moving tanker.
The rules of the sea say
that if you are the overtaking boat,
you need to take proper precautions.
The Pinot di Pinot boat
altered course
to cross the wash of the tanker
at a right angle.
Didier did not make that adjustment.
He wasn't prepared to alter course.
He wasn't prepared to alter speed.
They met the wash travelling
at 94 miles an hour
at an angle of 45 degrees.
The boat rolled over in a barrel
and went in upside down.
None of them had a chance.
I received a phone call.
Didier was dead.
I can't scream.
I can't do anything.
I have two babies in me.
I was moved to the hospital
for the rest of my pregnancy...
six month.
I enter in summer...
...I see the autumn...
...I see the winter.
There were a lot of complication
with the pregnancy.
But then 6th of January 1988...
I gave birth to the twins.
They say, "You tell the name".
And then I say, "Didier...
"and the second who will come...
" will be Gilles".
This idea came from a photo.
Enzo Ferrari with Gilles
and Didier on each side of him.
Catherine called me to see
if I would mind.
It was sort of strange for me,
but then again I thought
it would be just petty of me
to say no.
You know, it was OK.
That's your father
with his first car.
Some of them I don't know, actually.
That's an important one.
This nurse was the one I have every
day in my room. He was...
In our childhood we were surrounded
by pictures of our father.
That was like a very heavy legacy.
You see all those images
and you think...
who really was your father?
What was the real story?
When you have a twin, it's like
having a teammate but for life.
You always try to be a bit better
or slightly in front.
that's what's in the blood.
I joined Mercedes in 2014
as an engineer.
I wanted to be appreciated for who I
was and the value that I was adding.
As opposed to who my father was.
It was a party in Saint-Tropez...
Every single year for our birthday,
our mum tells us the story again
about our father.
This one is great.
Great photo. Oui.
Great photo.
He had to face adversity.
His legs got destroyed.
To come back from that,
I have a huge respect
for this part of his career.
Given what our mother went
through, the fact that our father
wasn't there, our relationship
is quite unique.
And I'm sure he would be proud
of that, yeah.
Do you enjoy racing yourself?
Not really.
- Not really?
- No.
I don't think I would be
a good spectator.
Gilles transmitted his passion
for racing to me.
So I was stuck with it, wasn't I?
It wouldn't let go of me.
In F1, I was given this platform
to actually really be me.
I won the World Championship
with my team.
It's just euphoria.
Gilles was hard on Jacques
as a father.
But he also was extremely proud
of everything he did.
He would have been so happy.
Coming back to the track here...
which is Gilles' last race...
there still are a lot of emotions.
After Gilles' death, a lot of
blame was put on Didier.
But nobody ever forces you to put
your belt on, your helmet on
and go out.
Pironi never told my dad
to go back on the track.
You can blame Pironi
for dishonesty, for disloyalty.
It was such a betrayal.
And that anger that came from it,
it's something that stays with you.
But Gilles' accident... can't be on him.
Even today I have young kids coming
to me with tears in their eyes,
saying, "He's an inspiration to me
That tells you that your life,
even that short,
gave something to people.
After all these years,
people only talk about Gilles.
Nobody speaks about Didier.
Which is sad.
After you have to get used
to normal,
because the crazy was your normal.
So many times I thought
"This is going to be the last day
of my life".
But I love it.
All this sensation, life,
it's very empty without all that.
They wanted to have children,
we were really wanted.
It's a true act of love.
My name is Didier Pironi.
I'm so proud to have this name today.
For many years I couldn't even
see his face in my mind.
He's more of a positive presence
for me now.
He's there to watch over me.
He had promised that he would die
with me
when we were in our eighties.
Every minute you spend with someone...
...spend it to the fullest.