“Monuncle” Jacques Villeneuve in Vegas as a “backyard bazoo”

LAS VEGAS | At the end of the phone, in Saint-Cuthbert, the speech of Jacques Villeneuve Sr., affectionately nicknamed “Mononcle Jacques”, is as fast as Formula 1. He recounts his epics on race tracks, both in single-seaters and on snowmobiles.. And although his memory perhaps a bit of betrayal at a race held in the desert in the fall of 1981, he remembers the events in Las Vegas. “I was heating up the bloody mess in the back yard. Damn bastard. Real garbage.”

• Read also: Max Verstappen ‘feels like a clown’ in Las Vegas

• Read also: Two editions of the Las Vegas Grand Prix in the parking lot

The bazou or cossin in question was an Arrows-Ford from the 1980 championship. The British team fielded by Italian Riccardo Patrese collected 11 points that season, finishing in 7th place.e placement among 11 teams.

The following year, for the inaugural Grand Prix in Vegas, Villeneuve was behind the wheel of the third “carriage”. Despite all his good will and desire to drive at full speed while monitoring tire wear, his “bazoo”, as he likes to call it, just wouldn’t go forward.


So much so that he never even managed to qualify for the tournament.

“That was impossible with this tank. He was already at the bottom the year before. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t get it from the back of the grill to the front.”

Villeneuve, Gilles’ brother, still has fond memories of this experience which was one of his three rounds in F1.

Jacques Villeneuve uncle

Jacques Villeneuve (uncle) and Jean-Guy Roy. September 1981. ARCHIVES / LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Route in 1981 and 1982

Without giving him a clue, he remembered the crazy layout on the cramped lot near the Strip.

“We filmed in parking even. It was still fun, because I wasn’t a fan of oval tracks even though I’ve raced on this type of track quite a bit in my career. I enjoyed the urban trails.”

Jacques Villeneuve uncle

In 1981 and 1982, F1 came to Las Vegas at the temporary Caesars Palace circuit.


At the Las Vegas Grand Prix in 1981 and 1982, evil tongues said that the owner of Caesars Palace had bought himself the race. There is truth. The competition was contested on a temporary track set up in the parking lot behind the hotel complex. The layout was strangely reminiscent of the Pac-Man character in the arcades of the time.

Jacques Villeneuve uncle

Photo taken from X account @Vintage Las Vegas

Today, that same space is occupied by Forum Shops and the Collosseum. The Mirage hotel was also built there.

Villeneuve remembers being housed, like all his colleagues, at Caesars. But the racing enthusiast in him wanted nothing to do with gambling.

“Like everywhere F1 was, it was occurs. We saw that all the money was put into the casino. But I didn’t care what was happening outside the track and the garages. I got the tank and took care of it. All’FunI wasn’t interested in that – said the 70-year-old.

Jacques Villeneuve uncle


And the championship in 2023, interesting?

Fast forward four decades to F1’s return to Vegas. Will this ordeal, which promises to be colorful, bring back memories for Uncle Jacques?

“Max (Verstappen) who wins everywhere, I’m not interested in that. Max, she’s not an aunt, but she’s a damn good driver, he laughingly analyzed after a generous 45-minute discussion.

“That’s how F1 is. If you don’t have one, you’re in trouble. Before, the driver made a big difference.”

Jacques Villeneuve uncle

AFP photo

Between the lines, this means that Villeneuve is more or less interested in discipline. At least live. Whether in Brazil, Singapore, Abu Dhabi or even Vegas.

Belatedly, he looks around it, observing the fights in the peloton, accidents and overtaking. He enjoys the “show” more.

With what the organizers promise in Vegas, “Mononcle Jacques” could do well in front of his television.

2 first editions of the Las Vegas Grand Prix

  • Caesars Palace
  • Urban circle set up in the building’s parking lot
  • 3.6 kilometers
  • 14 revolutions
Podium in 1981
  1. Alan Jones (Williams)
  2. Alain Prost (Renault)
  3. Bruno Giacomelli (Alfa Romeo)

Pole position | Carlos Reutemann (Williams)

Gilles Villeneuve disqualified

Podium in 1982
  1. Michele Alboreto (Tyrell)
  2. John Watson (McLaren)
  3. Eddie Cheever (Ligier)

Pole position | Alain Prost (Renault)

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