Villeneuve – My First Season in Formula 1 by Jacques Villeneuve with Gerald Donaldson
Following on from my last review post on Autocourse’s Gilles Villeneuve, next up is Jacques Villeneuve’s My First Season in Formula 1 (with help from Gerald Donaldson) that reflects on Villeneuve Jnr’s maiden F1 season in 1996 with Williams. This book is very typical of the format and style of a lot of mid-90’s F1 […]
Following on from my last review post on Autocourse’s Gilles Villeneuve, next up is Jacques Villeneuve’s My First Season in Formula 1 (with help from Gerald Donaldson) that reflects on Villeneuve Jnr’s maiden F1 season in 1996 with Williams. This book is very typical of the format and style of a lot of mid-90’s F1 books – an A4 size hardcover averaging around 200 pages with a mix of solid text and photo panels. Current driver books like Meet Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber’s Up Front, Lewis Hamilton’s My Story and Jenson Button’s My Championship Year all are much smaller book sizes with magazine style layouts.
The book’s title gives away the basic premise of the book. It is simply Jacques diary of his F1 debut season partnering Damon Hill with Williams in 1996. As a new boy, Jacques’ image was very much the grunge, anti-establishment driver with a penchant for oversize driver overalls and of course the son of tifosi hero Gilles Villeneuve. No surprise that Gerald Donaldson helped with most of the text, given that he wrote one of the better biographies on Jacques’ old man in “Gilles Villeneuve: Life of the Legendary Racing Driver”.
The chapters are divided into Jacques’ preparation and race for each Grand Prix in 1996 from initial testing, spectacular debut at Albert Park to handing the world championship to Damon Hill by crashing out in Suzuka. There a circuit map and race stats for each GP. Throughout the book, there are snippets of Jacques views of various aspects of each track and racing (e.g. traffic, “On the Edge”).
The photography throughout the book is a variety of Jacques racing in the FW18, skiing, with the Williams team and a few other behind-the-scenes photos.
In many ways, this is just a 1996 yearbook with some sprinkling of personal insights from Jacques. It is a more conventional book with much better narrative content than the 1997 Jacques book A Champion in Pictures by Giani Giansanti. This book probably had most appeal around 1996-1998 when Jacques was at his peak, looking back on it now, it seems like just another F1 book.
Wow Factor or Money Shot: The picture of Jacques toying on a PC. Not sure if its his PC in his own room but it has lots of Senna memorabilia (including a whole shelf of Senniha comics) in the background (page 51).
Suitable For: Jacques and Williams fans.