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In six decades, Canada has produced a mere 11 drivers in Formula One. And moreover, there has been only one name – and two drivers – which has been at the forefront: Villeneuve.
The representation gets even lesser if the father and son duo – Gilles and Jacques Villenueve - are taken away from the equation. In all, the rest of the drivers took part in 30 grand prixs without a single victory against their name.
Gilles Villeneuve was the first Canadian driver to leave his mark in the sport. Driving for Ferrari, he was touted as a future world champion. Unfortunately, he was never able to win the title as his career was cut short when he tragically died in 1982 due to an accident on track. In his memory, the circuit in Montreal is named after him, the venue where he got his first ever F1 win.
His son, Jacques, however got the Villineuve-name where it should have been years ago. He won the world title in 1997 comprehensively beating Michael Schumacher that year. The Canadian’s career went through a downward spiral after that though and he last raced in 2006. It was the last time a Canadian was seen in the sport.
This year Ferrari has hired an 11-year-old Canadian trainee and would aim to develop him into a competitive Formula One driver; and may even resurrect the Canadian-Maranaello connection of the Gilles Villeneuve days. But that will have to wait a few more years.
Here’s a record of all the drivers from Canada: