Transcript of Conversation Between Jacques Villeneuve and His Race Engineer, Jock Clear

Conversation largely between the team’s race engineer, Jock Clear, and Jacques Villeneuve. Villeneuve rarely speaks over the radio: his occasional transmissions are indistinct and lost in static. He and Clear are close friends. The transcript starts after ten laps, when Pedro Diniz has crashed, and before Schumacher’s first pitstop at the end of the 21st lap. Villeneuve followed him in a lap later.

Clear (to Villeneuve, slightly breathless): Come on Jacques, push. You need to push. (Later) Waved yellow in sector three. (Pause) Come on Jacques. Michael is slowing a bit. (Later) Come on Jacques. Schumacher 24.1, Villeneuve 24.6 [lap times]. (Later) Good Jacques. Fastest lap.

Clear (to mechanics): Get ready for tyres. Set number 15.

Clear (to Villeneuve): Come on Jacques. Push, push, push. Michael is in [for pitstop]. (Later) You are in this lap. Ten Four? (Later) Thirty seconds.

Pit crew (to Clear): Tyre covers off.

Clear (to Villeneuve): Balance Jacques. Balance.

Pit crew (to Clear): He’s in the pit lane.

Pit crew (to Villeneuve as he arrives in front of the garage): Slowly in the box, Jacques. Brake. Neutral. Brake, brake. Gear. (Screams) Go! Go! Go! Go!

Pit crew (to Clear): Pit stop was sweet, Jock.

Clear grows in intensity in the build-up to the second set of pitstops, Schumacher’s at the end of the 42nd lap and Villeneuve’s two laps later.

Clear (to Villeneuve): Come on Jacques. Push like a bastard. (Calls him into the pits) Confirm. Box, box, box.

Pit crew (to Villeneuve when he arrives): Steady in the box, Jacques. Brake. Neutral. Brake, brake. (Screams louder than before) Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!

Pit crew (to Clear): Pit stop was sweet, Jock.

Clear (to Villeneuve as he quickly catches Schumacher): Keep thinking, Jacques. Keep thinking.

Villeneuve and Schumacher collide

Clear (in a high-pitched voice): Keep the thing going, you bastard. (Pause for a fraction of a second while it becomes clear that Villeneuve succeeds). You beauty . . .

Clear (to pit crew, again breathless): Get ready, boys. Get ready. Get me some f****** tyres for Villeneuve.

Clear (sudden exclamation, to Villeneuve): Michael is out. Michael is out. How is your car, Jacques? How is your car? How bad is it Jacques?

Burst of static. Villeneuve answers but his reply is indecipherable.

Clear (to Villeneuve): Keep going, Jacques. Keep going. You’ve just got to finish in the points. That’s all you’ve got to do. Think about what’s going on in the car. (Confusion as team is under impression that Villeneuve has a puncture)

Clear (to Villeneuve): Think about that puncture.

Pit crew (to Clear): Villeneuve tyres in place. Confirm tyres, Jock.

Clear (to Villeneuve): Keep it going, Jacques. We’ve a new set of tyres. How is the car?

Villeneuve answers through static.

Clear: OK. Stay out. Stay out. Irvine is too near to risk a stop. Ten seconds Coulthard and Hakkinen P2 and 3 [positions]. Gently Jacques, gently. (Pause) Plus nine [seconds] to Coulthard. Villeneuve, Coulthard, Hakkinen, Irvine P4, 13 seconds. (Later) Jacques, if the car is OK mid-25s will be OK to stay ahead of Irvine. Good pace. Good pace. (Villeneuve is close to Nakano, who wants to unlap himself)

Clear (to Villeneuve): Let him past. Don’t lose any pace to do it. Coulthard P2, five seconds. Let the Prost pass on the straight, Jacques. It’s Nakano, not Panis. (Pause) Two McLarens P2, P3. Very close together. That lap 25.2.

Patrick Head [the Williams technical director] (to Clear in a firm voice): To repeat, Jock. We are more concerned with the championship than the race position.

Clear (to Villeneuve): Keep concentrating, Jacques. Keep concentrating. (Pause) Hakkinen up to position two. 26.5 seconds Villeneuve. (Greater urgency) Hakkinen quite quick and very helpful. (Later) Be aware that Hakkinen is now in position two. He probably wants to win. Very helpful. (Later) DC [David Coulthard] is controlling [Eddie] Irvine. Hakkinen immediately behind you, Jacques. Immediately behind you, Hakkinen.

(Later) Keep concentrating, Jacques. Hakkinen is immediately behind. Last lap. Last lap. (Extremely nervous) Hakkinen has been very helpful. Jacques, position two. Don’t let me down, Jacques. We discussed this . . .

Villeneuve allows Hakkinen through to win and Coulthard to take second place
The Times – 8/11/97.

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