A round face, blonde bob-cut hair, blue eyes, a sturdy and muscular figure. However, behind a physical appearance that earned him the nickname Cicciobello due to a certain resemblance to the doll that entertains children, Didier Pironi, the driver who in 1981 will join Gilles Villeneuve at Ferrari, hides the qualities of another hero from childhood fantasies, those of Big Jim, a kind of 007, a champion in all sports. He is the prototype of Formula 1 drivers of the 80s. Like Villeneuve, he is a young man who loves speed for its own sake, capable of traveling on three wheels, cold, determined enough to try to overcome rivals at any cost. If the little Canadian loves driving snowmobiles at 200 km/h on ice and snow, handling the helicopter as if it were a grand tourer, the Italo-Frenchman is no less. A talented swimmer in his youth, a pilot of airplanes and high-speed offshore powerboats, Pironi is another superman who has entered the world of motorsports.
"If Enzo Ferrari was looking for an accountant, he got it all wrong. If, on the other hand, he wanted a driver capable of pushing his cars to the maximum limit, he found the right person. I came to Maranello to try to win the world title. I don't care if everything went wrong for the Ferrari team this year. I am convinced that next season Ferrari will return to the top. And at the moment, I don't even think about money: that will come if I succeed. At Ligier, there were not enough financial resources, and I was forced to be the second driver behind Laffite. In the Italian team, instead, with Villeneuve, we start on equal terms".
But halfway through the season, when you were asked if you would move to Ferrari, you said that you would not leave a winning team for another that was struggling to qualify...
"It was a joke. I certainly couldn't say then that I already had an agreement with Ferrari. Certain things cannot be revealed, and I preferred to confuse ideas".
Among all the drivers considered to replace Scheckter, you are the one that Villeneuve likes the least. Don't you think there will be problems getting along?
"These are just stories. Gilles and I get along. This summer we even spent some vacation days together. Anyway, it will be the times on the track that will speak. We are two professionals".
So, Ferrari is a destination for you as well, the dream of all champions coming true...
"I am not sensitive to the charm of the Maranello team. I accepted the contract only because Ferrari is the most serious, the most prepared. It is a team that wants to win at all costs. And in this determination, I identify myself".
Twenty-eight years old, Parisian, originally from the province of Gorizia (Pironi in Friulian dialect means fork), Didier does not deny his heritage. At the same time, however, even though he is already trying to speak Italian, he does not seem particularly attached to the land of his relatives.
"I love my parents, I respect them, and I know how many sacrifices they made for me in the past. But I was born in Paris and have always lived in France. In St-Tropez, I sell Abbate powerboats. It may be that Ferrari fans and the environment of my new team awaken ancient nostalgias. For now, however, I do not want to change, to transform myself. I think it would be dangerous, and I would risk losing the charge I feel. It's better, when racing in Formula 1, not to have close ties".
With Didier Pironi and Gilles Villeneuve, Enzo Ferrari has thus formed a pair of thrill-seeking twins. Two drivers with similar characteristics, perhaps more heart than reason. Probably, Ferrari, not knowing if the turbo engine will be a winning weapon in 1981, has already bet on the human factor. The Canadian and the Frenchman will give him a second per lap advantage on all tracks worldwide. If the new cars go fast, Gilles and Didier will compete head-to-head with their acrobatics. And if, on one hand, a Frenchman races in Maranello, on the other, Jean-Pierre Jabouille breaks with Renault and moves to Ligier-Talbot, while Mario Andretti confesses to already being with Alfa Romeo. Two sensational pieces of news shake up the Formula 1 driver market. Apparently, Didier Pironi's move from Ligier to Ferrari has set off a series of movements, one linked to the other. And now to Jabouille. The Parisian driver, like his teammate René Arnoux, had renewed his contract with his team just last week. Renault itself in Imola, on the eve of the Italian Grand Prix practices, had officially announced the confirmation of the two current drivers. On Friday, September 19, 1980, a twist of fate. A laconic statement from the French team announces that Jabouille has terminated his contract.
"Gérard Larrousse, general manager of Renault Sport, has released Jean-Pierre from his contract because the latter informed him that the conditions agreed upon last week were not entirely satisfactory. When the stakes are at such a level, a manufacturer cannot entrust his cars to drivers who do not have all the necessary motivations".
The reasons that may have led Jabouille to leave a strong team like Renault can be multiple. He may not have liked sharing the position of lead driver on an equal footing with René Arnoux, and he may have received very advantageous offers from Talbot. In any case, Jean-Pierre has already signed with Talbot. He will thus be in the same team as his brother-in-law Jacques Laffite (they married two sisters), with whom he gets along particularly well. Ligier-Talbot will initially use the 12-cylinder Matra engine and, as soon as it is ready, a new turbo engine. As for Andretti, the Italo-American driver, on vacation for two days in Taormina, reportedly confessed to having already reached an agreement with Alfa Romeo for the next year, although the Milanese team will try out young Andrea De Cesaris in the last two races.
"I will sign the contract this week, and the official announcement will be made after the race in Montreal".
Also, concerning the future, the English team of Arrows, in the absence of the still injured Mass, will have Derek Warwick drive its second car in the last two world championship races. If the latter offers good guarantees, the one who may have problems is Riccardo Patrese, who risks not renewing his contract with his current team without having any more chances with Alfa Romeo. For one driver who comes in, one retires. This is the case with Vittorio Brambilla, who on Saturday, September 20, 1980, announces that he intends to retire at the end of the season. After Niki Lauda, James Hunt, and Jody Scheckter, in a little over a year, the world of Grand Prix loses another protagonist.
"I am disappointed by the new ground-effect cars. The driver no longer counts for anything: it is enough to train and press the accelerator. So, I stop because I no longer have fun. Maybe I will still do some races with sports cars".
For a man who lacked neither heart nor courage, the decision to retire must have been costly. But Brambilla, despite his great passion, always alive, realized that it was useless to risk for nothing, that his dream of becoming a world champion could no longer come true in the face of drivers like Nelson Piquet, Alan Jones, who were always accustomed to the new type of cars that require more technique than courage. On the track for twenty-four years, switching from motorcycles to cars always with remarkable results, good old Vittorio decided to close the chapter of Formula 1. And with him goes away that bit of adventurous spirit that was still present in motorsport, that touch of controlled madness that added interest to the races. In his long career, misfortune often accompanied him, and the fact of not having had a winning car at the right time, prevented him from becoming a World Champion.
To win his only (and memorable) victory in Formula 1, the forty-two-year-old from Monza had to wait for a special day. It happened in 1975 in Zeltweg, in the Austrian Grand Prix, when driving a March-Beta, he gave a driving lesson in the wet, under torrential rain, when sensitivity and courage mattered, when human skills could be worth more than technical ones. Now Brambilla will continue his activity as a tester with Alfa Romeo. Engineer Chiti promised him that no one would take his place on the Balocco track, even if the young Roman Andrea De Cesaris will race in the last two races of the World Championship in Montreal and Watkins Glen. He, Vittorio, will continue to be close to engines, to drive the Osellas alongside Lella Lombardi, to race with his trial motorcycle in the fields of Monza on Sundays. And he will continue to fuel stories and legends. In that place near the football field where enthusiasts gather (others call it the bar d'stupid, a very Brianza way to define racing enthusiasts), where Brambilla, Vittorio, and his brother Tino, tell anecdotes. Like the one about the Eagle (the symbol of Guzzi) that tucked its wings to avoid dragging them on the ground when motorcycles leaned in the curves leading to the lakes. Or in making absurd bets like a challenge from Inverigo to Monza in reverse with a Giulia against a roller-skating champion, forgetting that without air, the radiator would melt the engine. It is an era that is ending with Vittorio Brambilla, and many will end up missing it. Speaking of the end of the current racing season, one wonders if the Canadian Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, September 28, 1980, in Montreal on Ile de Notre Dame, alongside the skyscrapers of the City, on the waters of the St. Lawrence, will award the Formula 1 world championship title. We are in a dramatic head-to-head between Nelson Piquet, the leader with 54 points, and Alan Jones, with 53. Only the Brazilian and the Australian have the possibility of becoming Jody Scheckter's heirs. Mathematics offers more possibilities to Jones, who, having only four scores in the second part of the championship, will not have to discard one, while his opponent, in any case, will have to eliminate one result. The Williams driver will win the World Champion title if he manages to win (as he did last year on the same track) and if the Brabham rival does not finish at least third. In case of the Brazilian's success, everything will be postponed to ten days later, the last race, that of Watkins Glen (which will take place regularly because the required safety work has been done on the American circuit). The same will happen if neither of the two contenders should come first. This situation, of course, creates a suspenseful atmosphere. Jones says:
"I am calm; it's Piquet who is under pressure".
And Nelson responds:
"I'm not thinking about the title, and I will approach the race with reason".
But this doesn't negate the palpable tension in the environment. So much so that on Wednesday, September 24, 1980, rumors spread about Jones being kidnapped. The source of the confusion was a mysterious incident involving a namesake of the Australian, staying at the pilot's hotel. He was taken at night and released in the morning by two individuals who had robbed him. Adding fuel to the battle is Gilles Villeneuve, who, possibly for publicity reasons, promises to beat everyone.
"At my home circuit, I will attempt the impossible because I cannot disappoint the fans".
Gilles believes that his 312 T5, on a slower track, with the new Michelin tires, and in cooler ambient temperatures, is finally competitive. However, on Friday, September 26, 1980, it takes only twenty minutes for the young Andrea De Cesaris to astonish everyone and make his mark in the world of Formula 1. The Alfa Romeo rookie, in the first qualifying session limited to just under half an hour due to bad weather, achieves the eighth overall result. An exceptional time that puts him among the best and leaves his more experienced teammate, Bruno Giacomelli, far behind. The result truly surprises everyone, including the technicians and officials of the Milanese team, who did not expect such a feat. Chiti, the director of Autodelta, states:
"And to think that the guy had only done about thirty laps at Balocco. This new generation of drivers amazes me more and more. They are good, talented, and understand everything about cars. De Cesaris already knows how to adjust the car and drives it as if it were a road car, almost like a go-kart. He will surely be a driver of the future, although we cannot say at the moment whether we will confirm him for next year".
Andrea De Cesaris, 21 years old (born in Rome on May 31, 1959), is on everyone's lips in the Grand Prix of Canada. No one really believed he could rise so high so soon. But the young Roman had no reverential fears, hit the track, and, despite a chilling incident caused by Rebaque violently rear-ending him in the elbow turn before the pits, completes his trial without problems. The Italian driver follows behind people like Jones, Reutemann, Pironi, and Laffite but ahead of established champions like Andretti, Villeneuve, and all the others. His career has been truly dazzling. In 1972, he made his debut with karting and in four seasons became the champion of Italy, Europe, and the world in the junior category. He then participated in three races of the national Super Ford championship, finishing first twice and second once. In 1978, he competed in the Formula Three season in England with the Tiga team, under the direction of the veteran champion Tim Schenken. In this British tournament, he finished seventh in the final standings, achieving three third-place finishes. Later, he also competed in the Vanderwell formula with a fourth-place finish. In the European championship, still in Formula 3, he participated in only one race, securing another fourth place. 1979 was the year of his breakthrough, where he participated in twenty Formula Three races, winning six and finishing second in the final standings after a fierce battle with the Brazilian Chico Serra. The South American came from much higher experiences and beat him also because De Cesaris, carried away by enthusiasm, was penalized twice, losing top positions on both occasions.
The Roman, however, made up for it in the Formula 2 season this year, where he currently holds fourth place overall, well ahead of his rival Chico Serra. Some maliciously claim that De Cesaris, the son of the Italian distributor of Marlboro, found a place in Alfa Romeo only through recommendations. But the twenty-one-year-old Roman immediately proved that the trust placed in him by Alfa Romeo was well-founded. Saturday will show whether he can at least maintain his position. The battle looks very uncertain, with Jones at the top trying to pull away from his rival Piquet, and with everyone else chasing the two favorites for the World Championship victory. Ferrari also hopes to start in advanced positions, but after what was seen during the first day of practice, the chances for Maranello's cars and for Villeneuve and Scheckter to reach the top of the grid are not many. This is despite the fact that in Formula 1, everything can change quickly. Therefore, Didier Pironi, the driver who will replace Jody Scheckter at Ferrari next season, could become the referee in the fight between Nelson Piquet and Alan Jones for the World Championship victory. On Saturday, September 27, 1980, on a circuit that highlights competitive and physical endurance, the Frenchman returns to the scene, setting one of the best times. Therefore, his performance in the race could favor one of the two contenders for the championship helmet or determine the result by taking points away from one or the other of the great rivals. Calm, serene, seemingly unfazed by the lack of responsibilities, Pironi does not aspire to play the role of a new Solomon.
"I am absolutely not interested in tilting the balance toward Nelson or Alan. I only race to win. It does not concern me what others do. It may seem like a selfish attitude, but I believe that anyone in my position would think the same way. The world of Formula 1 must be ruthless; otherwise, it would have no value. Team games are not fair; this is an individual sport. It is clear that if, at the end of a championship, I had to help a teammate, I would do it, but only if I had no chance anymore".
So how will you behave in 1981 with Villeneuve?
"There are no problems; everyone will run their own race. The fact of competing with a fast driver like Gilles will be an additional stimulus for me to go faster. It will certainly be a good fight that will excite the fans. I hope the Italian public can split in two, that our battle is fair and always at a high level, and that, in any case, the Ferraris are ahead of the other cars. In any case".
Who do you prefer among the Italian drivers?
"I have no preferences. I don't know them much; so far, I have been with my French friends. Besides, in our world, you cannot have likes or dislikes, at least on the track. Everyone tries to go at their best, and much depends on the cars. We must understand that when someone makes mistakes, these are never intentional. It is always the competitive spirit, the desire to succeed that drives certain actions. We all take risks in the same way. Formula 1 pays well but is cruel".
Once again, in Montreal, turbo engines have revealed their limitations. Does this concern you, given that in 1981, you will drive a car with a turbocharged engine?
"Of course. Anything new, especially the most advanced technologies, creates problems. But I believe in turbo. Renault had difficulties also because of the tires, like Ferrari. We must move forward step by step, pay the price of novitiate. I think, however, that Ferrari, before the start of the new championship, can reach a good level of competitiveness. If I weren't convinced, I wouldn't have accepted to come to Maranello".
A prediction for the race?
"My car is performing very well. I have excellent brakes, and I am certain that on this track, having the possibility to brake to the limit will be crucial".
How do you think it will end between Jones and Piquet?
"Without underestimating the Brazilian's chances, who is always very consistent and has shown that he can take advantage of every favorable opportunity, my favorite is Jones. The Williams performs very well in Montreal, and I think it will do the same at Watkins Glen. However, as I've already said, I won't be cheering for either of them. May the best man win. For me, this has been a year of missed opportunities. Without the misfortune, I wouldn't be here talking about Jones and Piquet".
Pironi is a tough character. When he enters the track, he knows no friends. Perhaps he is right; weakness and feelings are not part of a driver's baggage. But a sense of chill is felt. A race full of emotions and thrills: the Canadian Grand Prix presents itself as a thriller. The two great rivals, Nelson Piquet and Alan Jones, will both start in the front row. The Brazilian sets the fastest time in the last qualifying session, smashing the circuit record with a fantastic time of 1'27"328. His unwavering adversary, lagging behind in the first part of the timed sessions, climbs position by position and joins him in the front row in the last laps. Behind the two contenders for the World Championship victory, Pironi and the very skilled Giacomelli, who held second place for a long time with the Alfa Romeo, take their places. The elimination of Jody Scheckter with the second Ferrari is shocking. The cars from Maranello confirm on the Canadian track that they have major grip problems and reveal the usual troubles with the tires. Scheckter, with an absolutely non-competitive car, is left out. It is the first time this has happened in nine years.
To find the last elimination of a Ferrari, you have to go back to the Monaco Grand Prix on May 23, 1971, when Mario Andretti was eliminated. At that time, there were three Ferrari cars in the race, and the other drivers were Ickx and Regazzoni. Villeneuve also faces many difficulties in getting into the starting lineup: the Canadian driver will start from the penultimate row.
"I certainly won't come to watch the race from the pits. Probably, I'll go play tennis".
For the first time in his Formula 1 career, the South African fails to qualify. Deeply bitter, the Ferrari driver cannot explain such a disaster.
"I gave my best, but the car had absolutely no grip. The technicians and mechanics did everything to put me in a position to achieve a better time, but there was nothing to be done. It is the biggest disappointment I have ever experienced since I started racing. I had every intention of having two good races in America. Let's hope that something like this doesn't happen at Watkins Glen".
The qualifying results surprise Ferrari, which, after the small improvements shown in the Netherlands and Imola, certainly hoped for more than the worst result of the season. Engineer Forghieri says:
"Scheckter is not at fault. Even Villeneuve and Arnoux risked not being on the starting grid. Jabouille went a bit further, but to do this, he completed only five laps, breaking an engine. The situation speaks for itself".
The reference to Michelin tires is clear, although the engineer does not express a definitive opinion in this regard. The extremely cold temperature and the smooth asphalt of the Notre Dame Island track posed great difficulties for all cars using French radials: the tires did not warm up, and their functionality was compromised. On the other hand, the young De Cesaris performs very well with the other Alfa Romeo, securing eighth place despite the engine breaking during the decisive trials, and Cheever with the Osella, who achieves a good starting position in the seventh row. Patrese's performance is decent, managing to secure the eleventh time with determined effort. Just when his car was starting to give him some satisfaction, constructor Enzo Osella is contemplating withdrawing from Formula 1.
"I am not dissatisfied with this experience, but I am in great difficulty. My sponsors threaten to abandon me if the situation in the world championship for next year does not become perfectly clear. And I, without financial support, cannot afford to continue. I will return to focus on Formula 2 and Sports cars. For now, I had to release my driver Eddy Cheever, who has the right to look for another engagement".
Osella's outburst is more than justified. After one of his sponsors, Ms (Italian State Monopoly cigarettes), has already indicated that it probably will not renew the contract for next year, as the Minister of Finance, Reviglio, has vetoed advertising expenses in motorsports, demanding an investigation into the usefulness of such an investment, the other sponsor, Denim, has put its support for next year on hold. Essentially, Denim has informed Osella that it will wait for the dispute between sports authorities and the Constructors' Association to conclude and the situation to normalize before deciding. On Sunday morning, when FOCA members meet to approve counterproposals to present to FISA, Osella announces that he cannot make any decisions. Obviously, the position of the Italian constructor is delicate, and for this reason, he has chosen to temporize and, albeit with much bitterness, announce his possible withdrawal. Staying on the topic of the future, Renault seems inclined to replace Jean-Pierre Jabouille with Alan Prost. But if McLaren does not free up the young Frenchman, one of the candidates to drive the cars could be Alan Jones, determined to leave Williams. Alfa Romeo, in negotiations with Andretti and De Cesaris, would also be interested in the Australian.
On Sunday, September 28, 1980, Nelson Piquet, from pole fails to get the best of starts, Didier Pironi moves up the outside of him in an attempt to take the position, however Alan Jones has storm up the inside. Piquet, refusing to give away in the kink before the first corner sees the two championship rivals collide. Piquet goes spinning into the wall, causing the mid-field to bunch up and cause a chain reaction of collisions. Alongside Piquet, Derek Daly, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Gilles Villeneuve, Emerson Fittipaldi, Keke Rosberg, Mario Andretti and Jochen Mass are all eliminate as a result of this incident. With eight cars blocking the run down to the first corner, the race is stop as the driver's involved in the accident run back to the pits for the spare cars. Whilst not involve in the accident, Mike Thackwell who is running the third Tyrrell is forces to give up his car to team leader Jarier. The second driver of Daly is force to sit out the race, his race car too badly damage to continue. All the other driver's involve in the crash are able to take the restart in the spare cars. On the second re-start, Pironi makes a suspiciously strong start to overtake Piquet. Jones has also makes a strong start taking Piquet as well to move into the lead of the race. The poor start will not deter Piquet and soon enough he is back in the lead moving ahead of both Pironi and Jones. Further down the field, Riccardo Patrese crashes out whilst a lap later Bruno Giacomelli ruins another chance for good results when he spins out of fourth place, damaging his car and forcing himself into retirement. With Giacomelli's retirement, this meant John Watson takes fourth who is doing a solid job for McLaren. Piquet begins to immediately open up a strong lead, championship rival Jones seemingly unable to match him. However on lap 24, Piquet's engine blow sending him out of the race. All Jones needs to do to win the title is to win the race, if he wins the point's deficit to Piquet will be too great for him to be overtaken at the final round at Watkins Glen. Jones, however, isn’t unscathe following his collision with Piquet in the first start. The rear of his car is somewhat damages which is allowing Pironi to close on the rear of him. As this occurs, Alain Prost in the second McLaren is running a very strong race, he has overtaken Jacques Laffite early in the race and then on lap 25 he moves ahead of Carlos Reutemann to take fourth place, putting him behind teammate Watson.
The same lap, there is a major disaster. Jean-Pierre Jabouille who is running well down the field, the Renault car not competitive around the Montreal circuit, suffer a suspension failure pitching Jabouille into the barriers at full speed. Jabouille suffers serious leg injuries, breaking both his legs. The fire team has to cut the incapacitate Jabouille out of the car before he was rushed to hospital. Late in the race, a minute time penalty is handed to Pironi for jumping the start of the race. As a result Jones let Pironi through rather than risk further damaging his car in fighting the Ligier driver. Prost meanwhile catches up to the rear of McLaren teammate Watson and is challenging for third place, however on lap 41 Prost suffers a suspension failure pitching him into the barriers and ending his terrific drive. In the closing laps Watson also spins, which results in him dropping behind Reutemann and back down into fourth place. Whilst Pironi takes the checker flag, his time penalty drops him down to third behind the two Williams cars of Alan Jones, the new world champion and Carlos Reutemann. Watson finishes fourth for McLaren ahead of Gilles Villeneuve and Héctor Rebaque. Alan Jones is the Formula 1 World Champion of 1980. The 34-year-old Australian (who will turn 34 on Sunday, November 2, 1980) clinches the world title at the Canadian Grand Prix, in a race with dramatic and thrilling turns of events. The race was won by Didier Pironi with the Ligier, but the Frenchman was penalized for a jump start, receiving a one-minute penalty, thus prematurely handing the championship to Jones. Unluckily, Nelson Piquet had to retire due to an engine failure in his Brabham on lap 23, while he was leading a race in which he had already been a prominent figure. Alan Jones is the World Champion, but not without post-race thrills. Just when everything seemed settled, a protest from Ligier against the one-minute penalty imposed on Didier Pironi for the early start kept everyone on edge. If the protest had been accepted and the Frenchman reinstated to first place in the Canadian Grand Prix, the Australian would have had to wait until the last race at Watkins Glen to know if he would become Jody Scheckter's successor. However, the appeal board rejected the protest. The Ligier's argument, even though the judges could see that both Jones and Pironi jumped the green light at the start by repeatedly watching the TV replay, could not be accepted. It was Franck Williams himself, pale-faced, who waited for the decision to explain why lifting Pironi's one-minute penalty would not be fair.
"When we learned that Pironi had been penalized, we displayed a sign from the pit to inform Jones of what had happened. At that point, with the victory in hand, our driver let himself be overtaken by the Frenchman without taking any risks. Everything would have been different if they had not punished him or if they had decided to penalize Alan too. Now that the victory in the championship is secure, I can say that we have more than earned it. Jones has secured four victories, plus the one in Spain that was unjustly canceled. In thirteen races, my cars have accumulated nineteen top-six finishes. Reutemann has won once, and on two occasions, he finished second. In short, we have dominated, and no one could deprive us of the satisfaction of winning the driver's world title and the constructor's cup".
You have achieved all the goals you set last year. But now there are rumors that Jones wants to leave. There is talk of contacts with Renault and also with Alfa Romeo. Is all this true?
"I am not aware of that. I have poured all my affection and trust into Alan Jones. I don't believe he will leave me. In any case, if he decides otherwise, there is no shortage of drivers who would like to drive a Williams. And then, the agreement for next year has already been almost reached. We just need to finalize some details".
For Alan Jones, success at the Notre Dame Island circuit was like a liberation.
"One lap from the end, I still didn't believe I would win. It seemed like the race would never end. I had to use all my strength to stay calm. Nevertheless, I believe I deserve the world title. And I also want to give credit to Nelson Piquet, who has been a formidable opponent".
The joy of the Williams team, the resignation of the Brabham team, and the satisfaction of Ferrari for Gilles Villeneuve's unexpected fifth place provide a counterpoint to the sadness and regret of Renault, which, after a dazzling start to the season, discovered significant limitations for its turbo cars, especially on slow and twisty circuits. However, the greatest regret is for the serious accident suffered by Jean Pierre Jabouille. The Parisian driver, who had never suffered serious injuries in Formula 1, is now hospitalized at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. On Sunday evening, after subjecting him to numerous X-rays, doctors diagnosed a double compound and exposed fracture of the tibia and fibula of his right leg. He will have to undergo surgery, and the prognosis has been set at least seventy days. Jabouille would like to return to France for the operation, but Canadian doctors are assessing whether the pilot's conditions will allow the long journey.