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Williams, [we were wrong to axe Damon & regret loosing BMW]


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#1 Mika Mika

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:10

Williams admits BMW regret

Sir Frank Williams has acknowledged he regrets the breakdown of his team's relationship with one-time partners BMW.

Williams have been in the doldrums since their partnership with the manufaucturing giants was terminated three years ago. Since then, BMW have returned to the sport after buying the Sauber outfit and now seem close to breaking the dominantion of the sport by McLaren and Ferrari.

Asked if he 'regretted not being partners with BMW anymore?' in a Q&A for the F1 Racing Magazine, Williams replied: "Yes, I think so. They were very hard work when they were our partner, but they were a brilliant brand and they were very good with their engines.

"The relationship might have been better if we'd been able to communicate each other a little more softly."

Williams also admitted that the team had erred in its controversial axing of Damon Hill after the Englishman won the World Championship in 1996 in favour of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. "It was a mistake," Williams owned up. "We thought we could find a better driver, but it was a mistake."

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#2 BMW_F1

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:15

I give a lot of credit to Sir Frank Williams for being humble and admitting his split up with BWM was not a good thing.. :up:
Too many pointing fingers at each other was not what they needed when their car was not performing. They should have worked together to overcome the obstacles.
I wonder what is the message Toyota is getting out of this.

#3 Hacklerf

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:17

Im not surprised at the BMW thing, i like Franks honesty. :up:

#4 Josta

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:21

Originally posted by BMW_F1
I give a lot of credit to Sir Frank Williams for being humble and admitting his split up with BWM was not a good thing.. :up:
Too many pointing fingers at each other was not what they needed when their car was not performing. They should have worked together to overcome the obstacles.
I wonder what is the message Toyota is getting out of this.


I doubt Toyota really care. They aren't Williams partners like BMW were, they are just engine suppliers. I think the real problem lay in Patrick Head and Sam Michael not wanting the pesky Germans to give input on anything other the engine. And BMW were getting pissed off with second rate cars that couldn't win with the best engine on the grid. Turns out BMW were right, and Williams were wrong.

#5 Josta

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:22

Oh and on the Damon Hill thing, what a load of old tosh. Everybody knows that Williams didn't want to pay for a WDC because he knew the car was so strong he could get someone else to come and win.

#6 Zoe

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:26

Originally posted by Mika Mika
"The relationship might have been better if we'd been able to communicate each other a little more softly."

Having worked (in a German company) with French, Italian, Dutch etc and as well British partners, I immediately believe that there were significant communication problems between the Germans and the British. For some reason, it always seems to be most difficult between .uk and .de.

Zoe

#7 Josta

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:29

Originally posted by Zoe

Having worked (in a German company) with French, Italian, Dutch etc and as well British partners, I immediately believe that there were significant communication problems between the Germans and the British. For some reason, it always seems to be most difficult between .uk and .de.

Zoe


Yeah, those bloody Germans can't be bothered to learn our language fluently. Still, at least Max is bridging that gap with his requests for Ze Punishment.

I can just imagine Mario demanding more technical information from Head.

"Ve hav vays ov making you talk" :)

#8 Orin

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:30

Originally posted by Mika Mika

"The relationship might have been better if we'd been able to communicate each other a little more softly."


Step forward Patrick Head! :lol:

Williams were never the most easy-going outfit.

Originally posted by Mika Mika

Williams also admitted that the team had erred in its controversial axing of Damon Hill after the Englishman won the World Championship in 1996 in favour of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. "It was a mistake," Williams owned up. "We thought we could find a better driver, but it was a mistake."


This is a very welcome admission. I would have loved to see what Damon would have done following his WDC, calm down and claim another at a canter, or simply lose interest in the sport. Whatever, it was pretty shoddy treatment by Williams. Classy of SFW to own up. :up:

#9 Rinehart

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:34

I'm sure if Toyota joined Williams in a works capacity, they could be back winning within 3 years.

Trouble is we'd then be down to 9 teams...

#10 lukywill

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:36

Originally posted by Josta


I doubt Toyota really care. They aren't Williams partners like BMW were, they are just engine suppliers. I think the real problem lay in Patrick Head and Sam Michael not wanting the pesky Germans to give input on anything other the engine. And BMW were getting pissed off with second rate cars that couldn't win with the best engine on the grid. Turns out BMW were right, and Williams were wrong.


wait a minute. bmw aren't winning nothing so far. and the 2003 championship was lost much due engine break (williams was still fighting for wcc at the last race - and leading with juan pablo - when the engine went off, and it was not the only gp that happened.

but i agree that head's semi retirement and michael being in charge put them in difficult situation.

#11 lukywill

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:40

Originally posted by Mika Mika


Williams also admitted that the team had erred in its controversial axing of Damon Hill after the Englishman won the World Championship in 1996 in favour of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. "It was a mistake," Williams owned up. "We thought we could find a better driver, but it was a mistake."


the mistake in here wasn't to fire hill (some rumors say that the decision was taken in 1995 - after hill failed to beat ms) but that frentzen was quite a disappointment in the williams car.

#12 BMW_F1

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:42

Originally posted by lukywill


wait a minute. bmw aren't winning nothing so far. and the 2003 championship was lost much due engine break (williams was still fighting for wcc at the last race - and leading with juan pablo - when the engine went off, and it was not the only gp that happened.


correct, in Japan JPM's BMW exploded from the lead handing the win to Barichello. In Austria same thing, handing the win to Michael. In 04 the car as a whole just did not work at all.

#13 F1Fanatic.co.uk

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:42

Originally posted by lukywill
the mistake in here wasn't to fire hill (some rumors say that the decision was taken in 1995 - after hill failed to beat ms) but that frentzen was quite a disappointment in the williams car.

I think those rumours are pretty solid.

#14 lukywill

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:47

i can see sir williams regretting to not sign the option on webber for 2007 and selling rosberg for 2008 at a fantastic price. :p

#15 shonguiz

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 14:57

Thank you Sir Franck.

#16 Garagiste

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 15:08

I thought it was pretty much accepted as fact that they decided not to renew Hill's contract in 1995.
This, it should be noted is not the same as "firing" him, and in all fairness he did have a bit of a 'mare in 95.
And as Lukywill (who is remarkably easy to understand today!) says, I don't know how you can say "BMW were right, and Williams were wrong" when they won races with Williams and have won naff all since.
Nor do they "seem close to breaking the dominantion of the sport by McLaren and Ferrari", not to say that they won't win a race, but right now they don't look like doing so on merit to me. Best of the rest, certainly but that's about it.

#17 Atreiu

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 15:55

Originally posted by Hacklerf
Im not surprised at the BMW thing, i like Franks honesty. :up:


Class act.

#18 noikeee

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 16:00

Originally posted by Josta
Oh and on the Damon Hill thing, what a load of old tosh. Everybody knows that Williams didn't want to pay for a WDC because he knew the car was so strong he could get someone else to come and win.


Yeah, but at the time everyone thought Frentzen would be good enough as a replacement.

#19 united

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 16:15

My thoughts, don't be harsh.

Breaking with BMW was the biggest mistake Williams have ever done. Now they have to hire some questionable drivers promoted by Japanese partners and flirt with Baugur from mighty Iceland. I have already expressed my firm belief that Williams really resemble Tyrrell in decay, this claim was strongly refuted by some fellow posters. Williams seem to be more prudent now but basically the team's last resort is '09 rules. If they somehow fail with new aerodynamic components or have some problems with KERS (though they invested heavily in this field) the situation will be gravely dangerous.

Williams played with BMW using some set of rules from 1990s, where Ron Dennis could cease talks with Chrysler and get rid of Peugeot easily. So it is very sad for Williams that they parted ways with BMW without some real alternative.

The team made a U-turn in many aspects and now seems to "respect" drivers. I cannot but mention that in my opinion Rosberg's form is floating since his podium and I doubt that the team has been able to surpass last year's level.

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#20 Clatter

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 16:19

Originally posted by united
My thoughts, don't be harsh.

Breaking with BMW was the biggest mistake Williams have ever done. Now they have to hire some questionable drivers promoted by Japanese partners and flirt with Baugur from mighty Iceland. I have already expressed my firm belief that Williams really resemble Tyrrell in decay, this claim was strongly refuted by some fellow posters. Williams seem to be more prudent now but basically the team's last resort is '09 rules. If they somehow fail with new aerodynamic components or have some problems with KERS (though they invested heavily in this field) the situation will be gravely dangerous.

Williams played with BMW using some set of rules from 1990s, where Ron Dennis could cease talks with Chrysler and get rid of Peugeot easily. So it is very sad for Williams that they parted ways with BMW without some real alternative.

The team made a U-turn in many aspects and now seem to "respect" drivers. I cannot but mention that in my opinion Rosberg's form is floating since his podium and I doubt that the team has been able to surpass last year's level.


Unfortunately, I think your right.

Williams, like Lotus before them, were at their best when there was plenty of scope for innovation.

#21 toyotaf1

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 16:40

Originally posted by Rinehart
I'm sure if Toyota joined Williams in a works capacity, they could be back winning within 3 years.

Trouble is we'd then be down to 9 teams...


well i think its a case of "easier said then done". when you also consider the fact that toyota are already supplying williams with toyota engines FREE of charge and coupled with the engine freeze, and a williams toyota works team would not change much..

#22 se7en_24

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 16:56

Originally posted by Zoe

Having worked (in a German company) with French, Italian, Dutch etc and as well British partners, I immediately believe that there were significant communication problems between the Germans and the British. For some reason, it always seems to be most difficult between .uk and .de.

Zoe

Having lived in Germany for 5 years and working for worldwide or European companies I totally disagree. If anything I found the Germans and the Brits to be the most alike and would work and communicate together better than with some of the other Europeans. Most (if not all) Germans I worked with or am still friends with agree with me on this point.

#23 giacomo

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 17:03

Originally posted by Zoe

Having worked (in a German company) with French, Italian, Dutch etc and as well British partners, I immediately believe that there were significant communication problems between the Germans and the British. For some reason, it always seems to be most difficult between .uk and .de.

Just another groundless preconception. McLaren works quite fine with Mercedes. And before they worked quite fine with Porsche.

#24 Dolph

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 17:07

Originally posted by Josta
And BMW were getting pissed off with second rate cars that couldn't win with the best engine on the grid. Turns out BMW were right, and Williams were wrong.


The Williams BMW combination was stronger than the new SauberBMW team has ever been. Williams BMW challenged for the title, got constant poles and won races. The new BMW team hasn't shown anything like that. :rolleyes:

#25 shonguiz

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 17:33

Hey Sauber isn't williams, give them time.

#26 nada12

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 17:36

Originally posted by Dolph


The Williams BMW combination was stronger than the new SauberBMW team has ever been. Williams BMW challenged for the title, got constant poles and won races. The new BMW team hasn't shown anything like that. :rolleyes:

Exactly. And when you look at how Montoya and Ralf fared against their new teammates after leaving Williams its pretty obvious to me that some of those Williams-BMW cars were rockets and the drivers just werent champion-material. With a top-level driver maybe they'd have won a title, in 2003 for example.

#27 sopa

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 17:41

Originally posted by Dolph


The Williams BMW combination was stronger than the new SauberBMW team has ever been. Williams BMW challenged for the title, got constant poles and won races. The new BMW team hasn't shown anything like that. :rolleyes:


BMW is getting better all the time. Lets see, where they are in 2010.

#28 BMW_F1

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 17:45

Originally posted by nada12

Exactly. And when you look at how Montoya and Ralf fared against their new teammates after leaving Williams its pretty obvious to me that some of those Williams-BMW cars were rockets and the drivers just werent champion-material. With a top-level driver maybe they'd have won a title, in 2003 for example.


In 03, Montoya was champion material. He demonstrated that on the races where he won/lead. The problem that year was not Montoya it was the engine that failed him from two race wins in Austria and Japan. On top of that he was wrongfully penalized for a drive through in Indy. But this was less important since even without that penalty he would have been short of the WDC for the two race ending DNF's. And I am not even bringing up tiregate..

#29 pasadena

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 17:50

Originally posted by Mika Mika
Williams admits BMW regret

Sir Frank Williams has acknowledged he regrets the breakdown of his team's relationship with one-time partners BMW.

Williams have been in the doldrums since their partnership with the manufaucturing giants was terminated three years ago. Since then, BMW have returned to the sport after buying the Sauber outfit and now seem close to breaking the dominantion of the sport by McLaren and Ferrari.

Asked if he 'regretted not being partners with BMW anymore?' in a Q&A for the F1 Racing Magazine, Williams replied: "Yes, I think so. They were very hard work when they were our partner, but they were a brilliant brand and they were very good with their engines.

"The relationship might have been better if we'd been able to communicate each other a little more softly."

Williams also admitted that the team had erred in its controversial axing of Damon Hill after the Englishman won the World Championship in 1996 in favour of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. "It was a mistake," Williams owned up. "We thought we could find a better driver, but it was a mistake."

I'm not surprised. It seems to me, I felt that Williams began to feel bigger than F1, in a way, after all those successes in 1990s. They made plenty of mistakes dating back to 1995 and they paid (and are still paying) heavy toll.

It's a pity as they've always been one of my favourite teams.

#30 Rabbit123

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 18:04

We all make msitakes...

#31 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 18:41

Glad to see Frank admit he was wrong in not resigning Damon. I thought so at the time. In fact, I thought he treated him quite poorly, considering he had just won the title. They really should have reached an agreement.

#32 Josta

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 18:56

Originally posted by Dolph


The Williams BMW combination was stronger than the new SauberBMW team has ever been. Williams BMW challenged for the title, got constant poles and won races. The new BMW team hasn't shown anything like that. :rolleyes:


Hmm, well lets compare the Williams BMW of 2005 with the BMW Sauber of 2008. In 2003, the BMW was widely acknowledged as being by far the fastest engine. Williams just couldn't build a car that could utilise it properly.

#33 pasadena

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 18:58

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
Glad to see Frank admit he was wrong in not resigning Damon. I thought so at the time. In fact, I thought he treated him quite poorly, considering he had just won the title. They really should have reached an agreement.

In fact, FW signed HHF already in 1995 but told Damon only in 1996.

#34 Ferrim

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 19:02

Dr Theissen was asked a year ago or so about how much BMW had improved, and how that improvement showed that the split with Williams was the correct thing to do.

He gave a fantastic (and humble) answer to that: he said that things also started pretty well with Williams, and that it was way too soon to make a judgement. And I believe it's still too soon.

#35 Juan Kerr

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 20:33

Originally posted by Josta
Oh and on the Damon Hill thing, what a load of old tosh. Everybody knows that Williams didn't want to pay for a WDC because he knew the car was so strong he could get someone else to come and win.

He was proved right in my opinion anyway, HHF was a better driver than Hill he just didn't get on with the Williams car.

#36 giacomo

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 20:46

Originally posted by Juan Kerr
He was proved right in my opinion anyway, HHF was a better driver than Hill he just didn't get on with the Williams car.

Great logic.

I'll give it a try as well.
Nelson Piquet jr is a better driver than Fernando Alonso he just don't get on with the Renault car.

Yup, it works.

#37 ehagar

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 20:56

Originally posted by Juan Kerr
He was proved right in my opinion anyway, HHF was a better driver than Hill he just didn't get on with the Williams car.


More like didn't get along with Patrick Head...

#38 macoran

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 21:12

Originally posted by Josta


Yeah, those bloody Germans can't be bothered to learn our language fluently.


Yes, surprising since the (sir) sic !! Frank can speek ze Jerman zo flewent !!!

What a load of crap !!!

#39 repcobrabham

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 01:26

i think that's what they call irony, old boy...

axing DH was typical williams, a punt on saving money that didn't pay off that time. HHF should have delivered but didn't.

the very thought of BMW.williams makes me dyspeptic :mad: both parties really blew it.

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#40 fer312t

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 04:58

He was proved right in my opinion anyway, HHF was a better driver than Hill he just didn't get on with the Williams car



I agree... I think it was the hard-HEAD edness of Williams that ultimately proved the undoing of that relationship, not Frentzen's speed of capabilities. He just wasn't of the typical Williams mold - unfairly faulted for not being of a certain temperment - nor was really allowed to go his own direction.

#41 skinnylizard

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 05:31

The BMW thing was a terrible idea i think. they basically loaded the gun that shot them in a way. Damon Hill axing was a bad idea i think, i am sure Williams could have kept him and had tremendous good press, PR and probably received sponsorship money as well (i am sure Hill would have wanted more too) you can always find more drivers but they already had the WDC and the then firebrand JVi who had tremendous value back then.

Could have been so sweet. Williams only had themselves to blame for being so rigid. Maybe they made those decisions drunk on success?

#42 Lada Lover

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 06:35

I still have my Williams-BMW coffee mug. It's my favourite.

#43 Gecko

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 07:41

Originally posted by Josta


Hmm, well lets compare the Williams BMW of 2005 with the BMW Sauber of 2008. In 2003, the BMW was widely acknowledged as being by far the fastest engine. Williams just couldn't build a car that could utilise it properly.


If you recall, 2005 was the last year of the V10 engines. BMW already decided that they had it with Williams and went on doing their own thing in 2006. They also had to develop a brand new V8 engine for 2006. It's not very hard to connect the dots. It is widely acknowledged that the BMW 2005 engine received very little development. And the comparison goes both ways; compare the 2003 Williams season with the 2006 BMW Sauber season. I am not sure what purpose there is in taking the best season for one team and worst for the other and coming to a conclusion.

Overall, so far the BMW Williams partnership was more fruitful than the BMW Sauber one. The new BMW team does have a lot of potential, but until they actually start winning races, potential is all they have.

#44 Knuckles

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 11:48

Originally posted by pasadena
In fact, FW signed HHF already in 1995 but told Damon only in 1996.


Thus ensuring that Damon had no real drive in 1997. That was what sucked even more.

#45 tahadar

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 11:55

Originally posted by Gecko


If you recall, 2005 was the last year of the V10 engines. BMW already decided that they had it with Williams and went on doing their own thing in 2006. They also had to develop a brand new V8 engine for 2006. It's not very hard to connect the dots. It is widely acknowledged that the BMW 2005 engine received very little development. And the comparison goes both ways; compare the 2003 Williams season with the 2006 BMW Sauber season. I am not sure what purpose there is in taking the best season for one team and worst for the other and coming to a conclusion.

Overall, so far the BMW Williams partnership was more fruitful than the BMW Sauber one. The new BMW team does have a lot of potential, but until they actually start winning races, potential is all they have.


i agree with that last statement you made there. if only they could kiss and make up :cry:

#46 tkulla

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 15:25

Originally posted by giacomo
Great logic.

I'll give it a try as well.
Nelson Piquet jr is a better driver than Fernando Alonso he just don't get on with the Renault car.

Yup, it works.


I think 1999 proved Frank correct in his assessment of HHF vs. Hill. I've heard the excuses about not being motivated anymore and all that, but I don't believe he lost his motivation until AFTER he realized he couldn't get anywhere near Frentzen. That said, Hill was much better suited to the Williams environment and was, in hindsight, the better choice for that team in 1997.

I'll never understand why Patrick Head made life so difficult for Frentzen at Williams. JV has mentioned that even he felt sorry for Heinz, who was not allowed to make decisions on setup. From Head's perspective, these setups won Hill a championship, so why change them? So I guess HHF was basically forced to emulate Hill's style.

#47 Spunout

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 15:32

One factor is 99 cars were different. Hill was great with setups, but less than great with tricky handling. In 99 even the best cars were nervous on the limit. Mika, Schumi, HHF and others looked good. Hill, Zanardi, Wurz, etc didn´t. This is no excuse, of course. Cars are what they are, one cannot expect 96-like gem every year.

#48 Devero

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 16:34

Originally posted by tkulla


I think 1999 proved Frank correct in his assessment of HHF vs. Hill. I've heard the excuses about not being motivated anymore and all that, but I don't believe he lost his motivation until AFTER he realized he couldn't get anywhere near Frentzen. That said, Hill was much better suited to the Williams environment and was, in hindsight, the better choice for that team in 1997.

I'll never understand why Patrick Head made life so difficult for Frentzen at Williams. JV has mentioned that even he felt sorry for Heinz, who was not allowed to make decisions on setup. From Head's perspective, these setups won Hill a championship, so why change them? So I guess HHF was basically forced to emulate Hill's style.


Damon was late 38 and early 39 by the time of 1999 season. Partially his age factor came at the stage. Partially new very hard tyres from Brigestone slowed him down. And Hill had to radically change his driving style with no inner strength reserves anymore.

But his results over the career speak for themselves. And his efforts on transforming utterly terrible Arrows and bad Jordan packages in something reasonable in 1997 and 1998 respectively underline that he was true champion.

I had been waiting for 12 years of above mentioned Frank`s confession. Finally he has admitted that publicely.

Damon did so much for the team since 1991 as a test driver, car developer, grand prix racing driver and team leader as of Monaco 1994.
Hill`s dismissal by Williams was the final bit for Adrian Newey to leave the team so abruptly.
Williams treated Damon so badly and except of 1996 he was massively underpaid.

It was especially funny when much later Frank agreed to pay so much to Ralf who was never a wdc material and an average driver.

And what was a comedy with Zanardi in 1999?

How team bosses of Frank and Pat calibre and experience may be so blind and non-professional in their understanding of who is good or not so to get the drive let alone wdc material? :confused:

#49 nada12

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 17:18

Originally posted by BMW_F1


In 03, Montoya was champion material. He demonstrated that on the races where he won/lead. The problem that year was not Montoya it was the engine that failed him from two race wins in Austria and Japan. On top of that he was wrongfully penalized for a drive through in Indy. But this was less important since even without that penalty he would have been short of the WDC for the two race ending DNF's. And I am not even bringing up tiregate..

Oh the package of Montoya/his car was certainly champion material that year Im not even disagreeing with that. But in hindsight the driver pairing of Montoya and R. Schumacher was quite overrated at the time. They were regarded by many (including me) as top drivers, now they're not even in F1 anymore... What I mean to say is, I think the car was flattering them, making them both look better than they actually were. Put an elite driver like Räikkönen or Alonso in that car and they win the WDC, even with the DNF's. All IMO of course.

#50 Knuckles

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 19:54

Originally posted by tkulla


I think 1999 proved Frank correct in his assessment of HHF vs. Hill.


99 was on grooved tires and Hill said often how much he hated them. You could argue that a professional driver has to cope, but it is also understandable that he just doesn't care anymore if his career is about to end, anyway.