Schumacher's infamous failure to ram his rival off the road left the Ferrari superstar in disgrace and Villeneuve on the top of the world.It was a wonderfully dramatic story - the brave son of a racing legend who fended off a villain's worst efforts to become World Champion - that confirmed Villeneuve's place in Formula One history and folklore.In the end the championship went to Hill, who won five races to Villeneuve's four, but the feisty French Canadian's electrifying debut was the talk of the racing world.
© Sutton Images A1-Ring, September 1997: Victory in the Austrian Grand Prix put Jacques Villeneuve neck and neck with Michael Schumacher in the driver standings, with three races remaining.© Sutton Images Jerez, October 1997: Michael Schumacher retired as he fought with Jacques Villeneuve for the lead at the season-ending European Grand Prix.His mother sent him to private school in Switzerland, where Jacques developed into a fiercely independent character, threw himself into downhill skiing with a vengeance, then chose to follow in his father's footsteps.He swept through the international ranks - saloon cars in Italy, F3 in Europe and Japan, FAtlantic and Indy Cars in North America.Gilles, his wife Joann and their children Melanie and Jacques lived a nomadic life, touring around North America to Formula Atlantic races in a motorhome, in which they also lived on Grand Prix weekends in Europe after Gilles joined Ferrari.
Little Jacques, who grew up in Formula One paddocks watching his father race, was bewildered when Gilles was killed in practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder.
As it developed, Jacques Villeneuve soon made a name for himself.
He was certainly to the manner born, on 9 April, 1971, in Canada's French-speaking province of Quebec, from where Gilles Villeneuve took the racing world by storm - and took his family with him.
Villeneuve was well-known for his succession of beautiful girlfriends during, and after, his Formula 1 career.
After dating Sandrine Gros d’Aillon during his early motorsport career, he was engaged to Australian singer Dannii Minogue, and then engaged to American ballerina Ellen Green.
In 2006, he married Paris-based Johanna Martinez, and six months later the pair had their first child, a son they named Jules.