Reading the comments on whether Hill is a good driver or not, it seems that there is one thing missing... that is that F1 is a TEAM sport. If you don't have the right car/engine/driver/pit crew/etc, you will not win. This year Williams has the best team, there may be better cars and faster engines, but Williams have the best package.
And as to Hills driving, I think he drives like a test driver (a very good test driver). He can put up fast lap times but can not cope with the traffic. If he can get out in front he has a very good chance of winning, but if he gets stuck behind another car and that is it. You put this together with a Williams car and you have a winner.
In reply to Keith Peterson, regarding Villeneuve shock problem, the team can only go on what the driver tells them, and if Villeneuve could not describe the problem to the team in such a way that they can find the fault, then is it the teams fault or Villeneuves?
Don't you think it's about time that the FIA forced the F1 circuit owners to introduce genuine overtaking facilities for the world championship series?. I certainly do, and I've come up with a couple of ideas for consideration.
One of the greatest spectacles in motor racing today is to see an Indycar driver 'draughting' down an oval straight behind leading cars, then pulling out and overtaking one of them, sometimes more, going into and through the banked oval turn. This spectacle to me is what motor racing is all about, and it is a pity that FIA can't import this circuit design feature into F1. The recent German GP at Hochenheim sadly lacked such a facility and thus the race order was changed only by the incidence of mechanical failure and car retirements. Whilst watching the German GP on TV it occurred to me that the Ostkurve, for example, could easily be reconstructed into a banked Indy-type turn 1/turn 2 feature, to replace the existing chicane and the following bend. This would introduce one of the better features of indycar oval racing into F1 and would encourage more competitive racing through safer overtaking opportunities.
In addition to this 'indy' corner, further overtaking opportunities could be created by modifying the other two chicanes of the Hockenheim circuit. These could be widened and divided into two lanes by a central white line. They should be designed to facilitate overtaking into and through the chicane. Any driver crossing the white line to block an overtaking car will be liable to a stop-go penalty, following a successful appeal to race stewards by the team of the disadvantaged driver. Fixed position TV camaras sited at each chicane could provide the evidence to support an appeal. Similar punitive measures effectively stopped 'jump starts' and 'pitlane speeding', and I see no reason why it should not put an end to 'tactical blocking'.
Other F1 circuits that could easily accommodate an 'indy' corner include; Barcelona, Magny Cours, Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Estoril and Suzuka. Furthermore changing all the chicanes that have proliferated over the recent past into genuine overtaking facilities will go a long way to re-establish F1 as a unique motor racing spectacle. Finally, using the principle of dividing a section of the circuit into two lanes and thereby creating an overtaking facility, could even enhance notoriously difficult passing venues such as Monte Carlo and Hungaroring.
It's hard to imagine the pains of Ferrari and Schumacher, not to mention the Italian faithful, but after a victory of sorts in the German Grand Prix perhaps Ferrari fans see a bit of light at the end of the track. With the news that Ferrari's president Luca de Montezemolo has transfered two people responsible for the technical problems that resulted in such a miserable showing at th British Grand Prix, perhaps Ferrari is on the right track "so to speak". As for Eddie Irvine, hang in there Eddie your time is near. And the money isn't bad......
(Replying to Paul Rushworth'ss article "Making Tracks")
I agree with your article Paul, I think its a bit absurd that the drivers are more willing to take the risks then the management. The sport is truly being gutted. I think some rule changes to reduce downforce are definitely in the works, this should lower cornering speeds and allow more passing. I think that regulations should be introduced to ensure that tire manufacturers use harder compounds. Why you ask?? The marbles created by the current F1 tires quickly establish a very narrow racing line. As a result, there is almost zero adhesion anywhere off the racing line. After about ten laps, passing is out of the question.
Once again, Schumi performs miracles with an almost undrivable car. His is obviously the class of the field. Even Villeneuve, with more experience, will take a while to get to grips with the German on a sheer car control basis.
Formula One's problems go well beyond the fact that there is no passing. One is that there is passing...in the pits. Not exactly what the unwashed masses want to see when it comes to racing, nor the cognescenti either.
We need more new talent and it appears that the best guys from the fire-in-the-belly countries are all going to CART. Villeneuve has added some excitement and De Ferran would have been a welcome addition to F1 but it appears he will stay in America even with the retirement of his present team owner, Jim Hall.
With CART's product gaining wide acceptance and new races appearing outside of the US and Canada, Bernie must be a little nervous. He obviously doesn't need the money so he's in it for the ego and right now that must be a little bruised.
Gerhard, we love you and sympathize with your frustration. A beautiful race, betrayed by a mechanical failure. But, as they say in many languages, that's racing.
Michael T. Lynch
I have been a Formula One fan for many years and I am very disappointed with the
season so far. Hill has won far too many races and I really don't think he deserves
all these victories. The reason's i beleive this are:,br>
1. he hasn't made a good overtaking manouver yet.
2. He can't do anything if he is behind someone.
3. He has a superior car, and as Mansell said: Even a monkey could drive a Williams.
4. He stuffs up the start regularly.
5. Coulthard clearly outperformed him at the end of last season (although Coulthard made too many mistakes).
All in all, in my opinion he is not a talented driver, but he can go very
well on an empty track with a Williams.
It is a sad thing that a driver like him can win a championship (as he certainly will) and that's one of the reasons why formula one is boring this year.
When is finishing a victory in itself? When you've done a total of less than ten laps for two drivers in two races. Sunday's 4th place for Michael Schumacher was a minor victory for the Ferrari team. Unfortunately, the victory was bittersweet, in that there must still be a nagging doubt about Ferrari reliability after Irvine failed to finish. But, enough of this musing about the Ferrari, on to the more interesting topic!
This is hard for me to admit, but Damon Hill drove an excellent German Grand Prix. I'm willing to forgive the bad start, because he made up for it by driving very cleanly, and didn't try any bonzai overtaking manouvers. He let the race come to him, and it's not his fault that Berger's engine gave out (typical Benetton luck this season). A few more races like that, and I won't mind seeing him winning the driver's championship. Well done Damon, but you're still just renting the championship this year.
Once again Damon Hill stumbled to an undeserved victory. Gerhard Berger, in my mind (and I'm sure in the minds of all racing fans outside of the UK) you deserved the win.
I have just read several reports that Jacques Villeneuve's Williams had malfunctioning or maladjusted shocks.... not just for the race, but for the whole weekend! I can't believe that the mechanics are that stupid or unskilled. Perhaps complacency has entered the Williams camp considering they only need but a few points to clinch the Constructor's title, regardless of what Benetton can do.
I was also amazed at how slow Schumacher's Ferrari was. I haven't seen or read any interviews from the team concerning this, so does anyone know if there was a problem with his car?
I have but one other question this week, or perhaps this is really an observation. Murray Walker and Jonathan Palmer continually lament the fact that Damon Hill does not get the respect that he deserves. In my experience, you get respect for what you do, correct? And if many motorsport fans believe that Hill is not really that talented a driver, then there must be some truth to it. No championships so far with Williams speaks volumes about Damon's level of skill. Or does it? Drive a Benetton to the championship Damon, and you will get respect. (which I refuse to give him).
Keith A. Peterson
Well, this weekend surely gave us some excellent racing and a fantastic win from Damon Hill. Given the problems all drivers have with overtaking this season, the action between Damon and Gerhard Berger and between Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard is probably as much as a racing fan can hope for during 1996.
Damon's performance during the weekend, brilliant throughout except for the poor start of the race, should silence his opponents for a while, I would imagine. A funny thing is that every time Damon fails to win a race, it is blamed on him as a driver, whereas Jacques Villeneuve can get away with many strange failures just because he is new to the game.
Was this the third or fourth race he failed to perform in qualifying, just because "he had an excellent lap going, but pushed too hard at the last curve"? My guess is Frank Williams is not too interested in which driver can perform a excellent 3/4 of a lap during qualifying...
The Canadian has just not been able to match his teammate's performance during 1996, and given that Renault appears keen to have a number 1 car during 1997, and that the Williams team is very interested in Frenzen for 1997, Villeneuve might be the guy without a chair when the music stops. Yes he has a contract, but haven't we seen drivers before with a contract, but without a place in the team?
Maybe it would do him good to work as a test driver for Williams for a year, to learn the tracks better, I mean
Meanwhile, I look forward to more fantastic, heart-warming action from the 1996 German Grand Prix winner, D. Hill. Well done, Damon! 7 so far - going for 10?
I'm 25 years old and have followed F-1 since I was 5, in the days "Niki Lauda" sounded like a magic words for my ears.
Formula 1 is getting boring nowadays, not because there is no passing, but because there are no brilliant drivers. I know that an Alain Prost, with rivals like Senna or Piquet does not appear everyday, but who does not reminisce those '85 - '89 races when there was REAL emotion on the tracks.
Let's hope a new generation arises, while these guys like Hill and Schumacher pretend they are good drivers and fill the gap.
Long Live F1!
Santiago de Tezanos
Alain Prost Homepage
Congratulations Damon for a good drive and finish in Germany. It was great to see some racing (instead of following) for a change in F1. Congratulations to FERRARI for finishing the German Grand Prix. It was very sad to hear during the ESPN telecast that Michael is so determined to stay with the prancing horse. If team Ferrari cannot luck out at least one victory in the second half (how absurd for me to even consider Irvine's machine winning a race) of this F1 season, then the most prolific and exciting driver in the world should move to another car builder so the racing fans can watch him work his magic skills up front. Schumacher could easily have pushed Hill or Villeneuve over there limits for more than one race victory while using either under powered Benetton or McLaren platforms. Please Michael, let someone of lesser status debug the the horse so more serious racing competition can return to F1 and complement my early Sunday morning juice and coffee.
EJ Ditzel Jr.
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