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The legendary race car manufacturer relied on Longines timekeeping on the Formula One circuits as well on its own test track in Fiorano, Italy.
The Grand Prix de Monaco 1981: hard-working Gilles Villeneuve (CAN) in his Ferrari 126CK. He won the race.
The watchmakers of Longines have been on the race track with the legendary racing team of Ferrari since the early years. In 1949, at the first post-war race in Brno (Czech Republic), the mechanics of Scuderia Ferrari wore Longines watches, adorned with the prancing horse on the dial, for the first time. Some years later, Sergio Scaglietti, the famous designer and car body builder working for Ferrari, received a Longines watch as a personal gift from Enzo Ferrari, with an engraving of his name and the Ferrari logo on the back. The relationship with the Saint-Imier watchmaker blossomed: on 1st January 1980, Longines
became the Official Timekeeper for the Ferrari F1 team, both in racing and during tests at the Fiorano circuit. Jean Campiche was Longines’ man at Ferrari. “I was extraordinarily happy in this role of timekeeping engineer because I had a lot of freedom, which allowed me to bring several innovations into the increasingly complex technology of timekeeping”, he said. Campiche was also responsible for installations at the Fiorano test track, working mainly on the development of photocells and sensors to make the circuit “a connected laboratory”.
The Longines timekeeper recorded the times of about fifteen cars whose performances were significant for the racing director of the Ferrari team, acting as the drivers’ coach. Canadian Gilles Villeneuve was the outstanding driver of the period. “We very quickly became friends and each other’s confidant”, said Campiche about Villeneuve. “Joann, his wife, was a great help with the timing, nothing escaped her eyes. We were an amazing team”. Ferrari’s team director based his decisions on the results of the Longines equipment during tests and at the Grand Prix. In 1983, in view of the positive results of the cooperation, Ferrari and Longines renewed their agreement for a further four years.
Austria Grand Prix 1986 (Österreichring): Michele Alboreto (ITA) in his Ferrari F1/86 (finished in second position).
Canada Grand Prix 1981: Gilles Villeneuve, who finished the race in third position, speaks to a journalist with Longines timekeeper Jean Campiche in the background.