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Frank Williams trading Keke Rosberg


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#1 chr1s

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 18:18

In Keith Botsfords biography on Keke Rosberg, he mentions that Frank Williams tried to trade Keke to another team part way through the 1982 season.
Apparently Keke did'nt find out about it until eighteen months later. Does anyone know which team and driver were involved?

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#2 chrisj

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 04:26

I can't find a source, but I swear it was Ferrari, but that doesn't really make sense. I think I saw something in Autosprint, when they were trying to find replacements for Pironi.

#3 rdmotorsport

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:40

I can't find a source, but I swear it was Ferrari, but that doesn't really make sense. I think I saw something in Autosprint, when they were trying to find replacements for Pironi.


I am a little surprized because Frank always had his favourites, he liked hard chargers and Keke fitted into this mode, he also liked Mansell for the same reasons however according to my former colleague who was a race engineer at Williams at the time, Keke was always around the workshop but they hardly ever saw Nigel which would not please Frank at all, so unless Ferrari and I say this because only they would have the where with all and the confidence to try and broker a deal I think it is probably just a rumour.

#4 garoidb

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 20:37

In Keith Botsfords biography on Keke Rosberg, he mentions that Frank Williams tried to trade Keke to another team part way through the 1982 season.
Apparently Keke did'nt find out about it until eighteen months later. Does anyone know which team and driver were involved?


He also said that the driver in question had not gone on to achieve anything in F1 (or words to that effect, I don't have the book in front of me). This would have been written at the end of 1984. I think this probably excludes anyone who had won a GP up to 1984.

I'm not sure why they would trade Keke in any case. It would have made more sense to replace Daly (unless the episode preceded Reuteman's retirement).

So, who looked promising in 1982, or earlier, but had not achieved any notable success by 1984?

#5 chr1s

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 21:25

Thankyou for the replies so far, i've had another look at the book, so here is a bit more detail, in Keke's own words- "All this was gathering inside me like a knot, and then at the end of 1982, just as i was winning the championship, I found out that I was being offerd to another team, as a trade-in. After that, I asked myself, where is the loyalty?"

Then later on he adds this- "It took people a year and a half to tell me that Team Williams had tried to trade me. The friend who told me had been afraid of hurting my feelings. They, at least, knew I still had some feelings that could be hurt. They tried to spare me, but, in fact, when I did find out, I got another sharp lesson"

#6 GreenMachine

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 00:44

I know this is not very helpful, but ...

I have read something about this (not the Botsford book, I have not read it), it reported the discussions in general terms, and named the driver - whose name of course I can't remember. However I do remember thinking that, with the wisdom of hindsight, Keke was a better choice.

#7 Charlieman

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:10

"After that, I asked myself, where is the loyalty?"


We can guess that he didn't say anything to Damon...

#8 blackmme

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:10

So, who looked promising in 1982, or earlier, but had not achieved any notable success by 1984?


Warwick???

Regards Mike

#9 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:44

The likely options IMHO*) are:
Alboreto
Mansell
De Angelis
De Cesaris
Cheever
Surer
Baldi
Lammers
Warwick
Fabi (T)

and lastly (where is he?) :
Byrne

Note: all in F1 at the time, participating in several or all races and not yet won a race midway of the season.
* Drivers left out I recall not being considered HOT in that period.

#10 Emery0323

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:49

and lastly (where is he?) :
Byrne

Rising stars of 1982? That's who first came to my mind! :lol:

#11 man

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:56

I'm pretty certain it is Alboreto. They had a good relationship - not sure if this was the case post 1988 however when Michele thought he had the drive at Williams before Frank decided to go with Patrese and Boutsen.

#12 blackmme

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:06

I'm pretty certain it is Alboreto. They had a good relationship - not sure if this was the case post 1988 however when Michele thought he had the drive at Williams before Frank decided to go with Patrese and Boutsen.


Certainly a prime suspect but by 84 Michele had two wins and a Ferrari drive so does not really fit the other criteria.

#13 Emery0323

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:10

Is there any indication of how far into the 1982 season this Rosberg trade was supposedly being considered?

If you look at the halfway-point (after the Canadian GP), Rosberg was well down in the standings in 5th position, and Pironi and Watson appeared to be the hot contenders.

http://www.statsf1.c...hampionnat.aspx

Keke came on stronger in the 2nd half of the season and one his only race of that championship year, but he won the championship more through consistency.
If anyone could have been considered dominant that year, it was arguably Pironi, until his injury.
The 1982 season was admittedly very fractured, with a lot of different winning drivers. The level of parity that year was unusual.

#14 David Beard

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:31

but he won the championship more through consistency.


That's what the stats say, but it isn't how I remember his driving that year.


#15 blackmme

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:55

That's what the stats say, but it isn't how I remember his driving that year.


Likewise, I was at Brands for what turned out to be his BGP pole (it was the Friday IIRC), god gosh he was absolutely on it. But for the vapour lock and fuel problems the only point anyone would have seen him on the Sunday was when he lapped them :)

Regards Mike

#16 Henri Greuter

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 17:00

in his book Grand Prix Story, Austrian writer Heinz Pruller writes how Williams ended up without drivers at the end of 1981, thus also his alltime favorite Alan Jones (for who Frank went so far to give team orders (.....) )

Pruller tells (Source: Grand Prix Story, Dutch version, page16 and 17)
Williams shortlist of drivers he hurridly made was: Villeneuve, Piquet, Pironi, Mansell, de Angelis, Surer, Warwick. Pruller made the comment "Rosberg even wasn't on the list"
Because all of the drivers above were comitted he eventually toek Rosberg "Because no one els is available" and they had him testing at Le Castellet. Pruller describes that it wasn't made easy on Rosberg, full tanks, bad tires. Nevertheless he impressed because of being fast in everything FW07, FW08 (the sixwheeler) with and without qualifiers and thus gets a contract.

That Frank Willams wanted another driver nonetheless, I'm not surprised. Certainly in 1982 he must have been still mourning about Alan Jones (who must have been his all time favorite driver ever) having left the team. Ever since Jone left, Team Williams became ever more important for Frank than the drivers. Frank Williams was more disappointed about the mere 4th place in the constructors championship of 1983 than he was happy about the world champion driving that car that was only 4th.....
Until Brands Hatch Keke had not scored that many points yet, he secured the title in the second half of the season. And did Frank blame Keke for the wasted Pole Position of Brands Hatch in which he got into his car too late and thus failed to leave the grid in time?
A swap with any of the 7 still available driver listed? During the early Summer, not out of the question for the Frank Wiliams of that time. Maybe from late august on he might have changed his opinion.



Henri


#17 Emery0323

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 18:30

Until Brands Hatch Keke had not scored that many points yet, he secured the title in the second half of the season. And did Frank blame Keke for the wasted Pole Position of Brands Hatch in which he got into his car too late and thus failed to leave the grid in time?
A swap with any of the 7 still available driver listed? During the early Summer, not out of the question for the Frank Wiliams of that time. Maybe from late august on he might have changed his opinion.


It's interesting to note that after the French GP, i.e., over 2/3 of the way through the season, Rosberg was still Fifth (!) in the points.
It wasn't until the final third of the season that he moved from fifth to first in the standings.
It's difficult to think of another case where a driver won the WDC from so far down in the standings in such a short time.


#18 garoidb

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 18:49

Williams shortlist of drivers he hurridly made was: Villeneuve, Piquet, Pironi, Mansell, de Angelis, Surer, Warwick. Pruller made the comment "Rosberg even wasn't on the list"

..............

A swap with any of the 7 still available driver listed? During the early Summer, not out of the question for the Frank Wiliams of that time. Maybe from late august on he might have changed his opinion.


I can't see any of the first three seriously considering a move at that time, and in any case they were all GP winners even by 1982. Elio also does not fit with the comments I recall from the book about the driver having achieved nothing of note in F1. I believe he was also a friend of Keke's. By 1984, when the book was written, Warwick looked like he had a great career in prospect, so even though he had not won a GP, it does not seem to fit. At the time the book was written, Keke knew Mansell was coming to the team, and was opposed to it for some reason. He changed his mind later in the 1985 season. Mansell might make sense. But out of that list, what I can't understand is why a deal could not be done with Surer. I know Rosberg went to the Williams test with a letter from his lawyer saying that he was a free agent, without obligations to any other team. Perhaps Surer was too tied up contractually? Or was 1982 one of the years he had suffered injuries at Kyalami?

#19 JtP1

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 19:23

Williams had 2 drivers at the start of 82. Rosberg on the cheapo contact, £20k iirc and Carlos Reuteman still on contract from 81. Because of the Falkland war and I am sure other personal reasons, Reuteman retired from F1 and Williams in the early part of the season. Maybe Frank thought KR not up to the job as KIR is the only driver to win the DWC having scored no points in the previous season. Frank certainly did not stretch his financial budget employing Keke.

Edited by JtP1, 03 April 2013 - 19:25.


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#20 Tim Murray

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 19:31

... as KIR is the only driver to win the DWC having scored no points in the previous season.

Apart from Alain Prost in 1993.

#21 Henri Greuter

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 20:16

I can't see any of the first three seriously considering a move at that time, and in any case they were all GP winners even by 1982. Elio also does not fit with the comments I recall from the book about the driver having achieved nothing of note in F1. I believe he was also a friend of Keke's. By 1984, when the book was written, Warwick looked like he had a great career in prospect, so even though he had not won a GP, it does not seem to fit. At the time the book was written, Keke knew Mansell was coming to the team, and was opposed to it for some reason. He changed his mind later in the 1985 season. Mansell might make sense. But out of that list, what I can't understand is why a deal could not be done with Surer. I know Rosberg went to the Williams test with a letter from his lawyer saying that he was a free agent, without obligations to any other team. Perhaps Surer was too tied up contractually? Or was 1982 one of the years he had suffered injuries at Kyalami?




Surer had his Kyalami mishaps in '80 and '81, he was with Arrows in 1982
Surer may well have been kind of linked\committed to BMW and hoping on being picked up by them?

Henri

#22 Henri Greuter

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 20:26

It's interesting to note that after the French GP, i.e., over 2/3 of the way through the season, Rosberg was still Fifth (!) in the points.
It wasn't until the final third of the season that he moved from fifth to first in the standings.
It's difficult to think of another case where a driver won the WDC from so far down in the standings in such a short time.



True. But he wasted points at Brands Hatch after being forced to start behind the field.

On the other hand, you can't help but wonder how many points he had scored if Patrick Tambay had not been forced to sit out two races because of his neck injuries. How curious the 1986 season was is proboably the best being proven by Tambay. He participated only half the season, 8 races, from which he had to withdraw from 2 due to injuries and still he was 7th in the season!
Which in my book also says something about the often maligned 1982 Ferrari. It is cursed because of killing Gilles and injuring Didier but everything together, it was perhaps not the fastest F1 car of the year but it was the best car overall in a year in which atmo and turbo each had their own chances to shine. 126C2 could have ended up as one of the hallmark F1 cars in history yet is most of all remembered for bad things only.

Henri

#23 Tim Murray

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 20:33

Surer had his Kyalami mishaps in '80 and '81, he was with Arrows in 1982

It was definitely 1982, not 1981, when Surer had his second Kyalami accident, which is why he wasn't able to make his race debut for Arrows until the Belgian GP.

#24 chr1s

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 21:21

Is there any indication of how far into the 1982 season this Rosberg trade was supposedly being considered?

I have found another book by Keith Botsford, (The Champions of formula 1) and in the section on Rosberg he says this- "That was the low point of the season: a mistake at Monaco, a poorly performing car at Detroit, failing to finish in Montreal and problems piling up" It was at this point that Frank Williams tried to trade Keke away to another team...

So it would seem around the half way point in the season.

#25 kayemod

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 22:53

"That was the low point of the season: a mistake at Monaco..."


Which he more than made amends for the following year. I bet Frank was pleased then, that he hadn't got rid of Keke at the end of the previous season.


#26 Henri Greuter

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:35

It was definitely 1982, not 1981, when Surer had his second Kyalami accident, which is why he wasn't able to make his race debut for Arrows until the Belgian GP.



my comment was based on this found on wikipedia


Marc's early F1 years were somewhat troubled; he broke his legs testing an ATS at Kyalami in 1980, and again racing there in 1981 for Ensign.


Again an approval that Wikipedia is not the best source of info imaginable all the time in everything. Though you can see, further down the page that he did not race the firtst 4 races of the 1982 season.....
I think I should have given the Pruller Book another look since I had been reading it already for an earlier post.....
Thanks or correcting me.

Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 04 April 2013 - 07:37.


#27 kayemod

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:41

Marc's early F1 years were somewhat troubled; he broke his legs testing an ATS at Kyalami in 1980, and again racing there in 1981 for Ensign.


OT, but I think that proves a point I've made here before, drivers are almost never the same after recovering as far as they can from really major leg breakages. They almost all find that something they used to have, reactions, agility, strength, has gone for ever.


#28 William Hunt

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 14:11

Warwick seems to fit the picture, he was seen as very promissing at that time.

#29 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 14:51

It's interesting to note that after the French GP, i.e., over 2/3 of the way through the season, Rosberg was still Fifth (!) in the points.
It wasn't until the final third of the season that he moved from fifth to first in the standings.
It's difficult to think of another case where a driver won the WDC from so far down in the standings in such a short time.


Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, probably. He made up a ridiculous amount of points in the final two races to beat Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton's woes were self-inflicted but it was a bigger 'comeback' than Rosberg, even taking into account the different points systems.

#30 chr1s

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 21:10

He also said that the driver in question had not gone on to achieve anything in F1 (or words to that effect, I don't have the book in front of me). This would have been written at the end of 1984. I think this probably excludes anyone who had won a GP up to 1984


Your right, I had forgotten that part, so here it is in Keke's own words- "Somtimes drivers get trded for commercial reasons. That wasn't the case with Williams. I know to what team I was offered and for what driver. It wouldn't do my reputation any good to put on record the name of the team or the driver who was supposed to come to Williams. Lets just say it was a driver who has yet to pick up any results."

So, that rules out Pironi, Watson, Lauda, Prost, Arnoux, Piquet, Petrese and Laffite.

#31 garoidb

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 21:21

Your right, I had forgotten that part, so here it is in Keke's own words- "Somtimes drivers get trded for commercial reasons. That wasn't the case with Williams. I know to what team I was offered and for what driver. It wouldn't do my reputation any good to put on record the name of the team or the driver who was supposed to come to Williams. Lets just say it was a driver who has yet to pick up any results."

So, that rules out Pironi, Watson, Lauda, Prost, Arnoux, Piquet, Petrese and Laffite.


I've always had a hunch it might have been Cheever. He was with Ligier/Talbot that year (1982).

#32 TIPO61

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 19:28

OT, but I think that proves a point I've made here before, drivers are almost never the same after recovering as far as they can from really major leg breakages. They almost all find that something they used to have, reactions, agility, strength, has gone for ever.


Save Shumi's leg break as an exception. Hell...there's always an 'exception.'


#33 Michael Ferner

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 19:38

I think the original poster had made it a point that he doesn't consider lower leg injuries as "really major leg breakages".

#34 Michael Ferner

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 19:41

I've always had a hunch it might have been Cheever. He was with Ligier/Talbot that year (1982).


I think you may have hit the nail squarely here. I do recall that Cheever was on Frank's short list for a time, and that Rosberg in a Ligier looked like a distinct possibility for a fleeting moment or two.

#35 garoidb

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 20:11

I think you may have hit the nail squarely here. I do recall that Cheever was on Frank's short list for a time, and that Rosberg in a Ligier looked like a distinct possibility for a fleeting moment or two.


He just fits the bill as a guy who could plausibly have been considered a future top driver in 1982, but had achieved nothing of note by 1985 and did not even look like he still had that kind of potential at that stage. His year at Renault must have seriously damaged his career, especially since Prost's full quality might not have been quite so apparent by then.

#36 kayemod

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 20:55

Save Shumi's leg break as an exception. Hell...there's always an 'exception.'


No leg breaks are a lot of fun, but on a scale of one to ten, Schumacher's was a two at best, a simple "tib & fib", usually relatively quick and easy to recover from fully.


#37 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:27

He just fits the bill as a guy who could plausibly have been considered a future top driver in 1982, but had achieved nothing of note by 1985 and did not even look like he still had that kind of potential at that stage. His year at Renault must have seriously damaged his career, especially since Prost's full quality might not have been quite so apparent by then.

Keke would have loved the free Gitanes. :-) When Prost entered F1 it wasnt a question if he would become champion but when. No, Cheever simply looked and performed as THE No2 driver at Renault after he had performed well in lesser material with Tyrrell and Ligier.

#38 Formula Once

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 16:40

I believe that the only reason Cheever was even considered at Williams, was that he was somehow related to TAG boss Mansour Ojjeh, which is why Cheever's name was also mentioned with regard to McLaren, when that team started to use TAG financed Porsche engines. Cheever raced for 7 teams in his first 8 years in F1. I think he was slightly overrated, including by himself...

#39 biercemountain

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 17:42

That Frank Willams wanted another driver nonetheless, I'm not surprised.


Frank seems to always want another driver.

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#40 hogstar

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 20:37

I've had a copy of the book since it first came out and it has always niggled me that Rosberg never revealed who the 'trade' was. It is well documented that Keke was no where near first choice for the (then) second seat at Williams, but did a very good test and got the gig.

My hunch was always Nigel Mansell, especially as Keke initially didn't rate him but I'm still not sure now. Up to mid '82, I think he had had a couple of podiums but no more. Head rated him and maybe him and Frank thought he could get more out of the - least we forget - over rated FW08 than Keke. Peter Warr didn't rate Mansell, but Chapman did, as did some sponsors who wanted a British driver. Chapman didn't pass away until December '82 either. Plus Williams wasn't under pressure to have a British Driver. The Ferrari link, while convenient, doesn't sit well. I can't believe Ferrari would of been interested in him. A very unholy alliance.

I hadn't considered Eddie Cheever before, but it is a possibility. I never really rated the guy, but had some half decent results behind him at that point. That said, it would of been a bad move all round.

Ultimately, Williams got more than they bargaining for with Keke and I'm so pleased they kept him. He will always be my favourite F1 driver.


#41 canon1753

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 21:09

Wasn't Roberto Guerrero well fancied for a time?

#42 hogstar

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 17:33

Wasn't Roberto Guerrero well fancied for a time?



Can't remember any rumour of that at the time! Roberto was well down the field in every sense, unless he came with a sack of gold that Williams didn't need.

#43 as65p

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 18:09

Wasn't it Rosberg to whome the quote "they never forgave me for not being Alan Jones" is attributed?

Always found that a bit ironic, cause Rosberg appeared to me roughly similar to Jones, at least on track and in outward behaviour. But of course inside the team it might have been very different.

#44 Emery0323

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 18:41

Wasn't it Rosberg to whome the quote "they never forgave me for not being Alan Jones" is attributed?

Always found that a bit ironic, cause Rosberg appeared to me roughly similar to Jones, at least on track and in outward behaviour. But of course inside the team it might have been very different.


I've read that even Alain Prost got something like that kind of treatment from the Williams team. He said in one interview that during the '93 season, Patrick Head (or maybe Frank Dernie?, I don't remember) would attempt to coach him by saying things to him like "Alan (Jones) always used to take 'x' line through 'y' turn." This was at a point when Prost had already won three WDCs to Alan Jones's one.

Edited by Emery0323, 02 July 2013 - 22:15.


#45 hogstar

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 21:01

Jones was and in some ways, still is Williams. Any Williams driver will always be compared to the hard driving, straight talking Aussie.

Patrick Head speaking recently on Sky was very complimentary about Rosberg, but I don't recall them getting on brilliantly at times, though Keke certainly respected him as an engineer and designer. I think Head thought Keke overdrove the car, which is true is some respects, but he wrung the guts out of the underpowered and largely uncompetitive FW08C like no other.

I wonder how much influence Head had in the Rosberg 'trade'? Maybe Head didn't rate his set up skills when compared to Jones and especially Reutemann, who left the team and left a big hole of experience in the early part of the '82 season, though again, to trade Rosberg with someone who hadn't got 'any results' made little to no sense.

Forever a mystery.

#46 chr1s

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 21:31

Wasn't it Rosberg to whome the quote "they never forgave me for not being Alan Jones" is attributed?

I seem to recall a story that Alex Zanardi told about how in 1999, he heard some Williams mechanics say somthing like "It would't be like this if Alan was here" and Zanardi just assumed they meant Prost! He could'nt belive it when somone told him they meant Jones!

#47 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 15:10

I've read that even Alain Prost got something like that kind of treatment from the Williams team. He said in one interview that during the '93 season, Patrick Head (or maybe Frank Dernie?, I don't remember) would attempt to coach him by saying things to him like "Alan (Jones) always used to take 'x' line through 'y' turn." This was at a point when Prost had already won three WDCs to Alan Jones's one.


That seems like one of those urban legend stories. Wouldn't the tracks have changed a but from 81 to 93? If nothing else the cars were dramatically different so the lines would adjust accordingly.

#48 arttidesco

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 15:14

He could'nt belive it when somone told him they meant Jones!


They do say the first cut is the deepest  ;)

#49 Paolo

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 21:46

If Williams was so picky about drivers, why on Earth did he enroll Daly that year? Lees, Ghinzani, Thackwell, to name a few, would have been better prospects, apparently.

#50 kayemod

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 22:13

If Williams was so picky about drivers, why on Earth did he enroll Daly that year? Lees, Ghinzani, Thackwell, to name a few, would have been better prospects, apparently.


Hmm, Thackwell possibly, but surely not the other two you mentioned. Daly's manager at the time was Guy Edwards, who was friendly with Charles Crichton Stewart at Williams. Frank needed a driver in a hurry after Reutemann went, and it must have seemed like a good idea at the time, so apparently Frank went along with their suggestion.