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Sir Frank Williams admits he made "a serious error in judgment" in not re-signing Damon Hill


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#51 MonzaDriver

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 11:10

I always though Hill was very underrated - his team mates were Prost, Senna & Mansell and was never embarrassed by either - indeed I thought he showed Prost up in what was his only his 1st full season (should have won in Britain & Germany)

He did have a poor 1995 but then he must have been burnt out by a very traumatic 1994 season when he became team leader after Senna's death & would have won the WDC if Schummacher had not blatantly cheated all the way though before punting him off. I think his dip was fully understandable. Plus he went off in Germany due to car failure but Williams were slow to defend him and it was though it was a driver error.

Why is/was Hill so unfashionable and underrated. I think history will be kinder but certainly it was a big error getting rid of him.

I have heard before that Newey left the team because they let Damon go but I don't actually know the facts - can anyone fill me in on this?


I agree 100% Rallen,
reality is Damon Hill was underrated and instead he was fast and reliable.
And surely he is a cool guy compared to his rival Schumacher. A class guy a gentleman.
Fact is that Damon Hill lost 1994 title because Schumacher and Benetton cheated for all the year,
and at the showdown Schumacher thrown is already broken car against Hill's.
Not enough he also smile when he had the info that Hill's race were over.
Schumacher won the world championship of unsportmanship.
I will never forget that smile behind the net.
Damon Hill suffered the most unbearable move seen in motor racing not even sanctioned.
And the more unlucky one, because just some seconds before or after and Damon could have seen Schumacher hit the wall,
or his car been broken. Because Schumacher crack under pressure.
MonzaDriver.




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#52 BoschKurve

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 18:27

Never understood why Williams was so infatuated with Frentzen, good enough driver perhaps but his status seemed to come about because he was occasionally faster than Schumacher when testing Mercedes sports cars, and was blown up by sections of the press who should have known better.


You have to remember circa 1989-1990, Heinz-Harald Frentzen was thought to be the surest bet for success in F1 among his contemporaries of German F3.

He acquitted himself rather well for Sauber, unfortunately I've heard it said the environment of Williams simply was not a place for him to shine. He drove better for 2nd tier teams (Sauber and Jordan) than he did for the tier 1 team he drove for. Laid back environments were more conducive to productivity from Frentzen.

The other thing I've heard regarding HHF, is that he was naturally faster than Schumacher was, but he was missing the important thing; work ethic. Schumacher had him easily beat on that front in all areas. As such, Frentzen was never going to be a true top tier driver because of his shortcomings.

It's interesting though that when he drove for Williams in 1997, one could not have expected that his best season would ultimately be the drive he put in for Jordan in the 1999 season.

#53 Henri Greuter

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:19

Never understood why Williams was so infatuated with Frentzen, good enough driver perhaps but his status seemed to come about because he was occasionally faster than Schumacher when testing Mercedes sports cars, and was blown up by sections of the press who should have known better.



Long shot thought. Did Frank by then know already that Renault was to quit F1 shortly and did he have thoughts about making his team interesting for a German engine builder with a decent German driver in the line-up?
Thought is a bit agains the policy Williams was known for in the past because they could have retained Honda engines for 1988 when he fired Mansell, kept Piquet and took on Nakajima as well, which he refused. And when Lotus wanted to do so they got (kept) the engines instead and Williams' Honda deal went over to McLaren.
But times were different 10 years later.....

Henri

#54 Zippel

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:29

Long shot thought. Did Frank by then know already that Renault was to quit F1 shortly and did he have thoughts about making his team interesting for a German engine builder with a decent German driver in the line-up?
Thought is a bit agains the policy Williams was known for in the past because they could have retained Honda engines for 1988 when he fired Mansell, kept Piquet and took on Nakajima as well, which he refused. And when Lotus wanted to do so they got (kept) the engines instead and Williams' Honda deal went over to McLaren.
But times were different 10 years later.....

Henri


Yes, I believe Renault had announced it mid-96 they were quitting F1 at the end of 1997. And it was a reason Frank Williams citied to Hill as to why he was being replaced, thinking long term. BMW had been signed up sometime in 1997.

However, I'll also add Frank W had been wanting Frentzen in one of his cars since Senna's death but HHF felt loyal to Sauber for giving him the opportunity in F1.

Edited by Zippel, 17 July 2013 - 07:30.


#55 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 11:07

I remember watching American coverage at the time, and BMW were already being talked about at the first race in 1997. But I don't know if that was speculation or "oh yeah, they're definitely coming in three seasons from now".

#56 Henri Greuter

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 11:45

I remember watching American coverage at the time, and BMW were already being talked about at the first race in 1997. But I don't know if that was speculation or "oh yeah, they're definitely coming in three seasons from now".




I wasn't sure anymore either exactly when the deals between Williams and BMW were made. But it must have been before Jacques Villeneuve left the team because I remember that his move to BAR shook me since I felt that a cmbine between BMW and Williams was to succeed eventually and would make up for some leaner years at Williams by Jacques.
I remember something like the plan being announced in '98 to debut in 2000. But don't pin me on those dates.

Henri

#57 Zippel

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:24

It may have been announced in 98 but contracts were signed as early as 1997.

#58 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 14:04

It may be a false memory caused by the preceding posts but I'm sure the BMW topic was coming up because they were talking about Frentzen(who was leading most of the Melbourne race).