The Williams/Hill situation in '96

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by S^en » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00


All the signs were there.

The France/England GP issue of "rallye racing" (a German
motorsports mag) had a three page article headlined "Winner on
the ejector seat?" about DH's contractual situation. The key
problems were identified as his high salary demands and the
remarkably low opinion his team bosses appeared to have of their
driver.

The article wrote about a rumored 30 million DM = 12 M UKP that
DH had asked for (later confirmed to be 25 million = 10 M UKP).

And both Head and Williams had stated in interviews that "the
victories were down to the invincible car", in direct response
to Hill's comments which suggested otherwise . On top of that,
the article also mentioned that 'insiders' already predicted
Frentzen would be driving for Williams in '97.

(BTW, the same issue wrote that Newey was sick of being in
Head's shadow and was looking for a new challenge)

While Craig Pollock was busy talking to people in the Paddock --
Villeneuve apparently didn't have a contract -- neither Williams
nor Hill seemed to have any desire to get contract talks going.
Hill felt too save, and overestimated his market value; a 25
million DM salary was simply too high -- especially when
considering that Berger offered to drive the Williams for free!

After several meetings to no avail in preceding weeks, Frank
Williams made a final offer at the Belgian GP (no details are
known), which DH refused to sign. An 'important team member'
(which IMHO appears to be Newey) was quoted as "I think Hill
made a mistake by not signing today".

Three days later, an annoyed FW broke off the negotiations.
Four days after that, a disillusioned Hill informed the media.

Damon Hill shared the fate of legends Alain Prost and Nigel
Mansell; for the third time in a row, a reigning world champion
left the British team.

Sven.
--
Life it what happens while you're busy making other plans.

 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by paul » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00



Quote:
> Damon Hill shared the fate of legends Alain Prost and Nigel
> Mansell; for the third time in a row, a reigning world champion
> left the British team.

it's never been a secret that fw doesn't like dealing with world
champions.

dh was really shooting his mouth off about how wonderful he was at the
time, and this coupled with ms's move to ferrari that year for a huge
amount of cash caused hill to make what were ( i think ) over the top
salary demands.

paul

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The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by Steve » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>All the signs were there.

>The France/England GP issue of "rallye racing" (a German
>motorsports mag) had a three page article headlined "Winner on
>the ejector seat?" about DH's contractual situation. The key
>problems were identified as his high salary demands and the
>remarkably low opinion his team bosses appeared to have of their
>driver.

The *previous* year, when HHF was actually signed, Hill's stock at Williams
was at an all-time low.  However, in 1996, when it was too late because they
had already signed HHF, Hill's stock rose a lot, and in Japan was very high
due to his very convincing win when all he *had* to do was finish *anywhere*
in the points.

Quote:
>The article wrote about a rumored 30 million DM = 12 M UKP that
>DH had asked for (later confirmed to be 25 million = 10 M UKP).

As you rightly stated, 'rumoured'...  How was it confirmed?  Neither
Williams nor Hill have ever spoken to the press about actual figures.  The
press makes it up as they go - everyone knows that...

Quote:
>And both Head and Williams had stated in interviews that "the
>victories were down to the invincible car", in direct response
>to Hill's comments which suggested otherwise . On top of that,
>the article also mentioned that 'insiders' already predicted
>Frentzen would be driving for Williams in '97.

There have been no interviews published in the UK where either Head or
Williams has said any such thing, but there have been many where both stated
their high regard for Hill's testing and racing abilities, and FW is even on
record as saying that if it hadn't been for 1995 season, Hill would still
have been driving for them.  Both are on record too as agreeing that money
had *never* been discussed during the 'negotiations' [sic] with Hill for
1997, and FW even said that the whole process had been a blind to prevent
Hill moving (when seats were still available) to a top level team (Sunday
Times Magazine).

Quote:
>(BTW, the same issue wrote that Newey was sick of being in
>Head's shadow and was looking for a new challenge)

>While Craig Pollock was busy talking to people in the Paddock --
>Villeneuve apparently didn't have a contract -- neither Williams
>nor Hill seemed to have any desire to get contract talks going.
>Hill felt too save, and overestimated his market value; a 25
>million DM salary was simply too high -- especially when
>considering that Berger offered to drive the Williams for free!

Again the rumour of his retainer expectations is just speculation and
hyperbole.  As far as Hill was concerned he had won the Championship for
Williams and had no need to look elsewhere for a ride.  Unfortunately and
unknown to him, their decision had already been made, the year before, when
they signed HHF.

Quote:
>After several meetings to no avail in preceding weeks, Frank
>Williams made a final offer at the Belgian GP (no details are
>known), which DH refused to sign. An 'important team member'
>(which IMHO appears to be Newey) was quoted as "I think Hill
>made a mistake by not signing today".

No offer was ever actually made by FW.  Money hadn't been discussed.  FW's
'talks' with Hill up to that point had been disingenuous by his own
admission.

Quote from Autocourse for 1996 season - "...on the Wednesday following the
Belgian GP, Frank Williams [who had called Michael Breen, Hill's lawyer]...
...said he was withdrawing fro negotiations over Hill's possible contract
for 1997... ...assuring the lawyer that his decision to terminate talks had
nothing to do with money, Williams declined to declined to elaborate on the
reasons behind his decision..."

Quote:
>Three days later, an annoyed FW broke off the negotiations.
>Four days after that, a disillusioned Hill informed the media.

Any discussions with Williams, according to Autocourse, only began on about
the 14th August, and were terminated abruptly by FW on August 28th.  FW was
far from annoyed, he was actually embarrassed.

Quote:
>Damon Hill shared the fate of legends Alain Prost and Nigel
>Mansell; for the third time in a row, a reigning world champion
>left the British team.

During the short negotiations, FW had assured Hill, according to Autocourse,
that should Hill win the Championship he would still be driving for Williams
the following year.

Again, the issue was *not* money, but a lack of confidence in Hill's
abilities at the end of 1995, when most F1 commentators agree that HHF was
signed to Williams at the Japanese GP that year.

Steve.

 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by S^en » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00

Quote:


> >The article wrote about a rumored 30 million DM = 12 M UKP that
> >DH had asked for (later confirmed to be 25 million = 10 M UKP).

> As you rightly stated, 'rumoured'...  How was it confirmed?  Neither
> Williams nor Hill have ever spoken to the press about actual figures.  The
> press makes it up as they go - everyone knows that...

okay, being the gullible person that I am I accepted a figure
that was in three different magazines; rally racing, Sportauto,
and IIRC Sportbild.

Quote:
> There have been no interviews published in the UK where either Head or
> Williams has said any such thing,

there were over here, several times they both hinted it
to the media. Especially Head didn't like it when DH put
himself above Head's 'immaculate' design.

Quote:
> but there have been many where both stated
> their high regard for Hill's testing and racing abilities, and FW is even on
> record as saying that if it hadn't been for 1995 season, Hill would still
> have been driving for them.  Both are on record too as agreeing that money
> had *never* been discussed during the 'negotiations' [sic] with Hill for
> 1997,

Damon himself said in an interview with rallye racing (after
the '96 season) that (paraphrased)
"Frank broke off the negotiations" and
"money was one of the issues that wasn't agreed to"

Quote:
> and FW even said that the whole process had been a blind to prevent
> Hill moving (when seats were still available) to a top level team (Sunday
> Times Magazine).

I'd love to read that. I can not imagine that Williams
openly would admit such a thing (let alone do it).

Quote:
> >(BTW, the same issue wrote that Newey was sick of being in
> >Head's shadow and was looking for a new challenge)

> >While Craig Pollock was busy talking to people in the Paddock --
> >Villeneuve apparently didn't have a contract -- neither Williams
> >nor Hill seemed to have any desire to get contract talks going.
> >Hill felt too save, and overestimated his market value; a 25
> >million DM salary was simply too high -- especially when
> >considering that Berger offered to drive the Williams for free!

> Again the rumour of his retainer expectations is just speculation and
> hyperbole.  As far as Hill was concerned he had won the Championship for
> Williams and had no need to look elsewhere for a ride.  Unfortunately and
> unknown to him, their decision had already been made, the year before, when
> they signed HHF.

Even if it were true, there was a second seat available. JV didn't
have a contract. Williams quite probably made an economical
decision and signed the driver with the better talent/salary ratio.

[...]

Quote:
> Again, the issue was *not* money, but a lack of confidence in Hill's
> abilities at the end of 1995, when most F1 commentators agree that HHF was
> signed to Williams at the Japanese GP that year.

I'm inclined to believe you, since you're quotes obviously suggest
otherwise.

But why did JV get a contract instead of DH? Something doesn't
compute.

Sven.
--
Life it what happens while you're busy making other plans.

 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by David Sidwe » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00


Quote:


>> >The article wrote about a rumored 30 million DM = 12 M UKP that
>> >DH had asked for (later confirmed to be 25 million = 10 M UKP).

>> As you rightly stated, 'rumoured'...  How was it confirmed?  Neither
>> Williams nor Hill have ever spoken to the press about actual figures.  The
>> press makes it up as they go - everyone knows that...

>okay, being the gullible person that I am I accepted a figure
>that was in three different magazines; rally racing, Sportauto,
>and IIRC Sportbild.

There's nothing to be ashamed of being gullible.  Admiting it publicly is rather
a big thing to do as well.  Congratulations.

Quote:
>> There have been no interviews published in the UK where either Head or
>> Williams has said any such thing,

>there were over here, several times they both hinted it
>to the media. Especially Head didn't like it when DH put
>himself above Head's 'immaculate' design.

"hinted" ?  Is that a nice way of saying that that is what you chose to read
into something that wasn't exactly said?

Quote:
>> but there have been many where both stated
>> their high regard for Hill's testing and racing abilities, and FW is even on
>> record as saying that if it hadn't been for 1995 season, Hill would still
>> have been driving for them.  Both are on record too as agreeing that money
>> had *never* been discussed during the 'negotiations' [sic] with Hill for
>> 1997,

>Damon himself said in an interview with rallye racing (after
>the '96 season) that (paraphrased)
>"Frank broke off the negotiations" and
>"money was one of the issues that wasn't agreed to"

Indeed - if money hadn't been discussed then it certainly had not been agreed
to...

Quote:
>> and FW even said that the whole process had been a blind to prevent
>> Hill moving (when seats were still available) to a top level team (Sunday
>> Times Magazine).

>I'd love to read that. I can not imagine that Williams
>openly would admit such a thing (let alone do it).

Call up the Sunday Times and order a back copy.

Quote:
>> >(BTW, the same issue wrote that Newey was sick of being in
>> >Head's shadow and was looking for a new challenge)

>> >While Craig Pollock was busy talking to people in the Paddock --
>> >Villeneuve apparently didn't have a contract -- neither Williams
>> >nor Hill seemed to have any desire to get contract talks going.
>> >Hill felt too save, and overestimated his market value; a 25
>> >million DM salary was simply too high -- especially when
>> >considering that Berger offered to drive the Williams for free!

>> Again the rumour of his retainer expectations is just speculation and
>> hyperbole.  As far as Hill was concerned he had won the Championship for
>> Williams and had no need to look elsewhere for a ride.  Unfortunately and
>> unknown to him, their decision had already been made, the year before, when
>> they signed HHF.

>Even if it were true, there was a second seat available. JV didn't
>have a contract. Williams quite probably made an economical
>decision and signed the driver with the better talent/salary ratio.

>[...]

>> Again, the issue was *not* money, but a lack of confidence in Hill's
>> abilities at the end of 1995, when most F1 commentators agree that HHF was
>> signed to Williams at the Japanese GP that year.

>I'm inclined to believe you, since you're quotes obviously suggest
>otherwise.

?

Quote:
>But why did JV get a contract instead of DH? Something doesn't
>compute.

Cheap and cheerful and had impressed in his CART championship and first F1
season.  Had not yet pissed of FW of PH is also a major factor.

Quote:
>Sven.

David
 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by moose_rac.. » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00



Quote:

> But why did JV get a contract instead of DH? Something doesn't
> compute.

JV was at Williams on a 2 year initial contract.  Wherever you read
about the 1 year contract is wrong.  Perhaps you should go back to the
reports at the time of the deal (August 95).  The word at the time was
that Willliams (read Frank) had initially tried to find some way out of
JV's second year of the contract after finding no way out of HHF's
contract in order to keep Hill whom he now decided he wanted after
all.  Frank makes the driver decisions at Williams while Patrick looks
after the technical side.  While accepting Frank's decision, its clear
Head didn't agree with it and didn't want HHF and made that obvious to
HHF from the start.  At his first Williams test Head didn't give HHF
the spare chassis or anything, he put HHF into Hill's old car which
still had 3 stars on it indicating Hill had won 3 races in it and said
'Let's see what *you* can do with it'.

Hill wrote a book about the 96 season and covers the negotiation period
with Frank in great detail.  I suggest you read it.  He doesn't say
Frank had already signed HHF but he does say things were very strange.
Personally I had always assumed that Hill now regarded Frank with such
obvious distaste because not satisfied with just not hiring him for 97,
he went out of his way to try and ruin Hill's career by ensuring he was
not available to go to another top team by conducting the negotiations
charade.  McLaren had made Hill an offer in Hungary but he chose to
stay with Williams who had assured him the place was his bar the minor
paperwork.  For a man who continually laments the good old days of
deciding contracts with drivers by a handshake, etc., Frank in no way
treated Hill to this kind of respect himself.  Zanardi should not be
expecting Williams to honor anything.

To cap it off, Frank said last year that he would have no hesitation re-
hiring Hill and that he did what he had to do for team reasons.  And
the report that Williams had offered Hill at the 98 Austrian GP a blank
check to come back.

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The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by Steve » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>dh was really shooting his mouth off about how wonderful he was at the
>time, and this coupled with ms's move to ferrari that year for a huge
>amount of cash caused hill to make what were ( i think ) over the top
>salary demands.

No he wasn't.  You're thinking of Michael Schumacher...

Steve.

 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by S^en » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00

I wrote

Quote:
> >I'm inclined to believe you, since you're quotes obviously suggest
> >otherwise.

and meant
"... contrary to what I wrote in the first place".

Quote:

> ?

!

Sven.
--
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.

 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by Brian Robinso » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00

Quote:


>>All the signs were there.

>>The France/England GP issue of "rallye racing" (a German
>>motorsports mag) had a three page article headlined "Winner on
>>the ejector seat?" about DH's contractual situation. The key
>>problems were identified as his high salary demands and the
>>remarkably low opinion his team bosses appeared to have of their
>>driver.

>The *previous* year, when HHF was actually signed, Hill's stock at Williams
>was at an all-time low.  However, in 1996, when it was too late because
they
>had already signed HHF, Hill's stock rose a lot, and in Japan was very high
>due to his very convincing win when all he *had* to do was finish
*anywhere*
>in the points.

Have any of the people involved in this rumored deal admitted to it, or is
it still speculation?  I have yet to see anything that would "prove" it
apart from constantly repeating it over and over (three times in this post
alone).  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  It does make sense, but that
doesn't mean it is true by default.

Quote:
>  As far as Hill was concerned he had won the Championship for
>Williams and had no need to look elsewhere for a ride.  Unfortunately and
>unknown to him, their decision had already been made, the year before, when
>they signed HHF.

>Again, the issue was *not* money, but a lack of confidence in Hill's
>abilities at the end of 1995, when most F1 commentators agree that HHF was
>signed to Williams at the Japanese GP that year.

Commentators have never been wrong.  Why should we be more inclined to
believe commentators that magazines?

Brian Robinson

Kansas City, USA

 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by Martin Schmid » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

> > As you rightly stated, 'rumoured'...  How was it confirmed?  Neither
> > Williams nor Hill have ever spoken to the press about actual
figures.  The
> > press makes it up as they go - everyone knows that...

> okay, being the gullible person that I am I accepted a figure
> that was in three different magazines; rally racing, Sportauto,
> and IIRC Sportbild.

Ha, Sport Bild. Now we KNOW that the figures are wrong. ;-)

I think all three magazines have the same source.

BTW, did you find these figures in serious magazines (except rallye
racing), too? I'm talking
about magazines like "Auto, Motor und Sport", "Motorsport aktuell" and
"F1 Raing".



Goodbye Damon

 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by Steve » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00

Quote:


>okay, being the gullible person that I am I accepted a figure
>that was in three different magazines; rally racing, Sportauto,
>and IIRC Sportbild.

Most news publications share their sources, which would explain the
similarity in reports.  I never called you gullible...

Quote:
>there were over here, several times they both hinted it
>to the media. Especially Head didn't like it when DH put
>himself above Head's 'immaculate' design.

I don't believe has ever put his skills above the design of the car in
importance.  In any case, the design wasn't really Head's...

Quote:
>Damon himself said in an interview with rallye racing (after
>the '96 season) that (paraphrased)
>"Frank broke off the negotiations" and
>"money was one of the issues that wasn't agreed to"

That sound's like an error in translation to me.  In the UK versions of such
interviews, Hill and Breen have always been quoted as saying that "money was
not one of the issues discussed.".  As I said, FW admitted as much in the
Sunday Times Magazine.

Quote:
>I'd love to read that. I can not imagine that Williams
>openly would admit such a thing (let alone do it).

He did.  I'm sure if you contact the Sunday Times they can supply you with a
copy of the article.  I can't recall the issue number, but it was sometime
in 1997.

Quote:
>Even if it were true, there was a second seat available. JV didn't
>have a contract. Williams quite probably made an economical
>decision and signed the driver with the better talent/salary ratio.

JV had a two year contract which FW attempted to buy him out of to keep
Hill.

Quote:
>But why did JV get a contract instead of DH? Something doesn't
>compute.

FW *loves* drivers who appear to be on the edge all the time.  JV is one.
Hill isn't.  FW equates being rapid and aggressive with *fast*, which isn't
necessarily the case - proof: Hill, Prost, Lauda...  In any case, JV
*already*had* a current two year contract.

Steve.

 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by Steve » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>Have any of the people involved in this rumored deal admitted to it, or is
>it still speculation?  I have yet to see anything that would "prove" it
>apart from constantly repeating it over and over (three times in this post
>alone).  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  It does make sense, but that
>doesn't mean it is true by default.

I have quoted my sources.  You can check them yourself.  I have seen the
rumours quoted more times than any denials of them.  That doesn't make them
true, either, however many times those rumours are repeated.

Quote:
>Commentators have never been wrong.  Why should we be more inclined to
>believe commentators that magazines?

We're not talking about the TV 'commentator' type here, we're talking about
people *inside* the racing industry itself.  Brundle, Walker (I know he's a
TV commentator, but all the teams talk to him),  Autocourse, F1 magazine,
Frank Williams, Patrick Head, etc...  Hill went into print with *his*
version of events.  If it was totally wrong, or he was lying, I'd expect a
reaction or two from people involved.  I suggest you read his book.

Steve.

 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by Stefan Mazu » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

>JV had a two year contract which FW attempted to buy him out of to keep
>Hill.

I have never heard anything to that effect. Where did you get that
information?

Quote:

>FW *loves* drivers who appear to be on the edge all the time.  JV is one.
>Hill isn't.  FW equates being rapid and aggressive with *fast*, which isn't
>necessarily the case - proof: Hill, Prost, Lauda...  In any case, JV
>*already*had* a current two year contract.

There is two things FW wants in a driver:
A) He wants a good driver, regarless of the style. That's why he can choose
a Mansell and a Prost.
B) He wants a driver that will do as told without ever objecting to the
teams's idea.

Quote:

>Steve.

Stefan Mazur
 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by Christine Johnst » Wed, 11 Aug 1999 04:00:00

Quote:

> But why did JV get a contract instead of DH? Something doesn't
> compute.

JV was on a 2 year contract.

But you're forgetting the one outside influence thing that influenced
Williams' decisions for the remainder of the season.  Renault announced
at Magny Cours that they were pulling out of F1.  Everything they did
after that was aimed at getting the BMW engine deal.  They couldn't get
out of JV's contract so Damon was the one sacrificed.  In comes a german
driver, a whole host of new german sponsors are signed, the team become
so german oriented they probably had bratwurst on the menu in the staff
can***.

You can understand Williams doing what they had to do for the survival
of the team and the works engine deal but the *** bit was putting
Damon off and telling him there was no rush to do the contract for 97
just to keep him out of the hands of other teams.  You could probably
live without backhand compliments like that.

When I was a the Jordan launch (I haven't sneaked that one in for a
while :-) somebody asked Damon if, all considered, he and HHF would get
along and Damon replied that he thought he and HHF had *alot* in common
and would have several nice conversations in the  long evenings during
pre season testing (at which both he and HHF started giggling away).

 
 
 

The Williams/Hill situation in '96

Post by S^en » Thu, 12 Aug 1999 04:00:00

Quote:


> > > As you rightly stated, 'rumoured'...  How was it confirmed?  Neither
> > > Williams nor Hill have ever spoken to the press about actual
> figures.  The
> > > press makes it up as they go - everyone knows that...

> > okay, being the gullible person that I am I accepted a figure
> > that was in three different magazines; rally racing, Sportauto,
> > and IIRC Sportbild.

> Ha, Sport Bild. Now we KNOW that the figures are wrong. ;-)

> I think all three magazines have the same source.

Most likely. I guess the figure appeared in every media.
What did the British press write at the time?

Quote:
> BTW, did you find these figures in serious magazines (except rallye
> racing), too?

Sportauto is not *that* bad... ;-)

Quote:
> I'm talking
> about magazines like "Auto, Motor und Sport", "Motorsport aktuell" and
> "F1 Raing".

I don't read AMS and F1R, and don't keep the MSa's.

Sven.
--
Clouds across the moon...   :-(