Timothy Collings’ biography of Jacques Villeneuve tells of Jacques’ rise to motorsport success following the death of his father, Gilles, in 1982, and concludes with his championship-winning F1 season in 1997.
Looking at this book some 12 years after it was published, Collings does a thorough job at recounting Jacques’ passage through life and sources a wealth of anecdotes and interview material, but the problem that this book encounters is that it’s an unauthorised biography – made without any cooperation of the Villeneuve family or the Williams team.
It would be easy for the author’s judgement of the subject to therefore become clouded, but Collings remains objective without being gushing – perhaps it is better not to have had Jacques’ involvement and input in this case? But passaging one’s life story without the subject’s cooperation does still create a slight vacuum in this book, and any passages of Villeneuve dialogue are lifted from archived interviews and it’s difficult, therefore, to engage completely with the book.
The IndyCar and F1 sections of Jacques’ career are not as well detailed as those chapters covering his formative years, sadly, and the back end of the book is given a somewhat breathless feeling.
Given, however, that little literature exists about this most private of F1 characters, it’s still a good insight into his psyche and background.
Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award The New Villeneuve…
The New Villeneuve (© 1997, Motorbooks International, hardcover edition) is available via selected motorsport retailers and Amazon.