The most iconic suits: Lambrusco Team, Giacobazzi and Gilles Villeneuve
- Elena Quadrio
The story of a legendary driver, Ferrari and a Lambrusco producer from Modena: one of the most memorable of friendship-sponsorship in Formula 1.Pov: It's the 1970s and you have a winery producing Lambrusco in the province of Modena; the market is thriving even overseas-you have, in fact, created an ad hoc wine for Americans (or less evolved palates); Giacobazzi is my wine is the jingle that goes "viral" on all East Coast radio stations. Enzo Ferrari calls you on the phone to ask you to sponsor a semi-unknown Canadian racer, then a snowmobile champion. You accept, of course. What's better: that pilot's name is Gilles Villeneuve.It's the story of Antonio Giacobazzi, his relationship with Ferrari, his friendship with Villeneuve and the iconic racing suit of the "Aviator"-that's how the driver from Quebec was nicknamed, today counted among the greatest ever-which, years later, does not stop being a fashion symbol of synergy between automotive, sport and Italian spirit. On the overalls of one of the most beloved and combative drivers, in fact-and later also on those of his son, Jacques Villeneuve, Formula 1 champion in 1997 - at whose sides the most classic sponsorships, Marlboro and Michelin, could appear, was the inscription in capital letters GIACOBAZZI, which in those years would dominate racetracks and podiums around the world.
But let's take a step back; it was July 16, 1977, when Gilles Villeneuve made his Formula 1 debut, driving a McLaren-Ford at the British Grand Prix. That same year, the Ferrari team hired him to replace two-time world champion Niki Lauda in the last two races of the season."Enzo Ferrari-affirmed Giacobazzi, as stated in Scuderia Ferrari Club Riga-frequently visited the winery, came here to buy Lambrusco for himself and his friends. He would taste the must and often even give us directions on how to make it; he liked it dry, transparent and acidic. Then he would talk about cars and Formula 1. In those months he often complained that Lauda overshadowed Ferrari's role: "When he wins, Lauda wins, not Ferrari," he would say. So when the break with the Austrian came a few months later, he had no doubt: 'Villeneuve is going fast and nobody knows him!'"Ferrari summoned Villeneuve and Giacobazzi to his office in Maranello and said, "Giacobazzi, you sell your wine in the United States, from today you have the opportunity to sell it in Canada as well. This will be the new Ferrari driver." Without ever having heard of the Canadian, Giacobazzi accepted the offer and closed a sponsorship deal that lasted until the end of 1982, throughout what is called by Marcello Sabatini, the editor of Autosprint, the Villeneuve Fever. A sincere friendship was soon established between the Giacobazzi and Villeneuve Families; Antonio was, in fact, one of the few friends to attend Gilles' private funeral in 1982. Today the driver's car, the 1979 Ferrari T4, is in the Giacobazzi family museum in Nonantola, in the province of Modena (the city that was the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari and is home to the winery).For Villeneuve, a legendary driver whose victories - Jarama 1981 above all-and varied other performances are considered absolute masterpieces in F1 anthologies, risk-taking was not just a job, but a necessity. "If he had found himself doing it just for work, he would have stopped racing-declares Giacobazzi-they wrote a lot about him; for me he was more than anything else this: an explorer of his own limits. His every single gesture was part of this challenge; even parking. He had a Ferrari 308, which was red in theory, but which was actually orange on the sides, since he would wear it out running at top speed on the road from Monte Carlo to Maranello. And when he got to Maranello, to park he didn't maneuver, no. He would whirl the car around until it ended up wedged between two others."According to Enzo Ferrari, The myth of Villeneuve-who tragically died on May 8, 1982, following a crash at 227 kilometers per hour, caused by contact with Jochen Mass's March, during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at the Zolder circuit, aboard the Ferrari 126 C2 - was closely linked to Giacobazzi's name, which at the time stood out everywhere in Formula 1, above all, on the podiums, where they toasted with Grand Prix sparkling wine. At Imola, in particular, Giacobazzi was at home; even today, one remembers the models wandering around the pits in their Lambrusco team Giacobazzi branded uniforms.