11-07-1999: GP SILVERSTONE - DAMON FIFTH


Damon did a good race, ending in fifth place, gaining two points. Report of the race on the normal page.
But this didn't clear up anything about the future of the British Champion: throughout the weekend Damon didn't want to talk about the possibility of his retiring, postponing everything till after the Grand Prix.
Rumour has it that he could end the season to earn his full fee, which would only come to half if he retires after this race. But for now, we can only wait for his decision. Meanwhile, congratulations for the race


27-06-1999: THAT MAY HAVE BEEN MY LAST RACE


The show is near the end: after a miserable week end, Damon said, right after retiring from the French GP, that this could have been his last race. Here is the report on the race
These are his first words - taken from Autosport Magazine Site:

His thousands of fans hoped that he might make it to the British Grand Prix for his Formula One swansong after Hill announced he might quit earlier than the last race of the season.

But after pulling out of the French Grand Prix with a misfire he admitted, 'That may have been my last race.'

'It was not a very good weekend and when it decides to turn against you it gives you everything it's got.

'Qualifying was a bit of a shock. Then in the race I made my pit stop at about the right time.

'As I was going down the pitlane an Arrows hit me and punctured my left rear tyre. Then when the safety car came out I had a puncture and there was no way I could carry on.

'I hope it wasn't my last race but there is a possibility it might have been.

'I could carry on if I wanted to but I don't want to be in a position where Eddie is not getting any more points.' His miserable race had been the end to a terrible weekend.

After a catalogue of problems he failed to qualify and was only allowed onto the grid in 18th position at the discretion of the race stewards who quoted 'exceptional circumstances'.

Team-boss Eddie Jordan said, 'These decisions must be made by the driver. I'll support him whatever decision he makes.'

------

What else to say? Before that race we all hoped that Damon would race 'til the end of the season. But, if he has to race like in this GP, probably it's better if he stops now. It's too sad for him and for all us Hill's fans to see Damon racing only for his signature on a contract.
Now, we can only wait and see what decision he will take in the next few days. Anyway, Damon is still one of the greatest drivers.



24-06-1999: DAMON'S PRESS CONFERENCE


As announced, Damon made a press conference right before the GP of France, to explain why he will be retiring at the end of the season.
Here are some quotes from the British Champion:

"I decided to stop after a long talk with my wife Georgie and Eddie Jordan. I am a father of four, and this is something I couldn't manage before because, due to GPs and practices, I'm away from home 300 days a year."

"Motivation is not an issue. I find myself trying very hard in the racing car but the chemical
reaction, or whatever it is, is not taking place and I find myself distracted which is not a good
position to be in when you are driving a Formula One car."

"F.1 is not like tennis or golf. At 38 to keep at a high level it's not enough to be in good shape, there must be motivation and, above all, you need to be convinced, otherwise you're going to end up getting hurt ..."

"My state of mind is that I see an end at the end of this year. I am having difficulties and I am
trying to overcome them. "

"I do not want to damage, in any way, Eddie's [Jordan] hopes of securing his highest ever
constructors' championship position.
If my performances aren't up to it then of course we will have to discuss it."

"I regard Formula One as the pinnacle of motor sport. The strength and talent in depth in F1 is
greater than any other category of motor sport so it is difficult to do something less but I don't
want to denegrate racing in America. "

"And much as I love the States I don't want to move the family again. You can count me out of
your who-goes-where discussion now."

"To just carry on racing to be racing does not satisfy me. I got such a massive thrill about being
in the lead of Grands Prix. I guess I have been spoilt a little bit."

"I haven't decided to stop because I wouldn't have found a wheel for next year. As a matter of fact, I never even started looking for a place for the year 2000."

"I would love to be involved with F1 in some way. Incredible industry and amazing spectacle
but I would like to spend more time at home that's the real snag."

 

We should say that during the press conference, Damon did not clear up the real likelihood of his retiring before the end of the season. Rumour has it he's going to retire after Silverstone, and that Eddie Jordan has already told Mika Salo to keep himself ready. We'll see ....




 
16-06-1999: DAMON HILL ANNOUNCED RETIREMENT

No mistakes, you've read well: unfortunately, Damon Hill, on Wednesday 16th June announced that at the end of the season he will be retiring from Formula One. For this reason our regular page has been "revolutionized".
Here is the news from Ansa News Agency


FORMULA 1: HILL ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
He will be leaving racing at the end of the season
LONDON - Former Formula One World Champion Damon Hill (Jordan) announced in London that he will be retiring at the end of the season.
"I was late getting into Formula One," he stated, "I was already32, but in only seven seasons I have won 22 GPs and even the World Championship. I'm proud of it". Hill, World Champion in 1996, thanked all his fans, but he didn't specify what he is going to do in the future.



11th May 1999
DAMON GUITARIST FOR DEF LEPPARD


We all know about Damon Hill's love for music, and in particular for the guitar. Because of this great passion of his, and thanks to his friendship with the singer of the Def Leppard rock band (also famous for the soundtrack of the "Nightmare 3" movie), he was invited to take part in the last album of the band, on which he plays in a few pieces. So, take a look at the very next issue of the CD, it's a must have




12th September 1998
JORDAN TEAM ANNOUNCE DAMON'S TEAM MATE FOR 1999


During the GP practice, the Jordan team announced that the next season's Drivers will be Damon Hill, obviously confirmed, and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, this year's Williams driver.



19th September 1997
1998 SEASON

On Friday, Damon Hill announced that for the next two seasons, 1998 & 99, he will be joining the Jordan-Mugen Team. After the agreement with the Prost Team seemed almost sure, something snapped between Hill and the French Champion. Rumour has it that the blame was Damon's Manager-Lawyer Michael Breen (who moreover is accused of causing all Damon's troubles with the Jordan team last year, and after that with the McLaren and Sauber teams). Anyway, Jordan Team got a good deal, the Mugen-Honda engine showed power and resistance this year, so the Peugeot engine shouldn't be missed. Damon's fee should come close to US$ 10 Million, plus results bonuses. Damon says that "I hope to win some races next season, and to have a chance of winning the World Championship". His team-mate will be Ralf Schumacher.


06th September 1997
1998 SEASON

Contrary to what Damon Hill declared right after the Spa Grand Prix, the World Champion didn't announced which team he will be racing for in the 1998 championship. But rumour has it that next season Damon will be in the Prost-Peugeot team, that will surely be competitive with the new engine next year.


12th July 1997
1998 SEASON


Many troubles behind Damon Hill and Tom Walkinshaw. After Walkinshaw didn't permit Damon to drive the Prost Grand Prix car as of that Gp - Silverstone -, the atmosphere was very bad in the TWR Arrows Team. Damon says that he is very upset about the car that isn't performing - "...the car, is slow and needs a more powerful engine. And it must be improved everywhere" - and Walkinshaw had answered that for all the money that the team paid to Hill, he must commit himself a lot more ("Either Hill starts working, or he can go avay".... "With all we pay he must find motivation"). All that had driven Damon and Walkinshaw close to a fight, Friday morning before the free practice. At this point, it appears very unlikely that Damon is going to stay in the TWR Team next season, also because a lot of other teams are trying to take Hill for 1998. One of the closest seems to be the Sauber Team.



17th April 1997
ENGINE TEST AT SILVERSTONE


Test of the new engine step for Damon Hill, that showed the continued performance growth of his car: best lap of 1'26"89, compared to the 1'26"62 made this same day by Ralf Schumacher with the Jordan-Peugeot.


29th January 1997
TEST AT SILVERSTONE


More trouble with the gearbox and the clutch of the new Arrows A18. Damon had done only 12 laps, clocking the best time with 1'42"40.




20th-22nd January 1997
TEST AT ESTORIL


On the three day-test in Spain, Damon was able to complete only a few laps, total only 22. That was because of the gearbox, that has caused the team a lot of trouble. Hill made 12 laps on Monday, nothing Tuesday, and 10 on Wednesday. His fastest lap was 1'26"990, compared to 1'21''931 clocked by Frentzen (Williams). But times are still not priority for the Arrows team. Hill was satisfied from the driving seat of his car - "It feels great." - Next week the car is going to be on the Silverstone circuit to perform more tests.

17th January 1997
DAMON ON TRACK WITH THE NEW ARROWS


Damon Hill drove the new Arrows A18 on the track. Actually it was almost a "debut for the press", because the car went out onto the track at five p.m., pratically in the dark, and did only one lap. Originally a series of laps had been planned to try out the car before sending it to Spain, to the circuit of Jerez, where the real test was to be done, but because of trouble with the gearbox managment software, darkness fell without being able to get out onto the track. However Damon was happy: "Was it worth the wait? Yes, it was important to check the car's functionality on the track before sending it to Spain.


9th January 1997
OFFICIAL PRESENTATION OF THE NEW ARROWS A18

Damon Hill near the new Arrows

Thursday 9 January, as announced, the new Arrows TWR Yamaha was presented for the 1997 season. It is called A18 and it's powered by the new 10-cylinder Yamaha Ox 11A, which last year was on the Tyrrell. Very first debut also for the tyres, Bridgestone, that will be one of the new features and an important strong point for the team.
At the debut of the new car there were all the members of the team, from Tom Walkinshaw to the test-driver, and morale was really high, as if the presentation room were filled with fireworks. One of the first declarations by Damon Hill regarding the car was "I find it sexy, elegant and sensual. The thing that I prefer is the number one on it. Beautiful, isn't it?". After this, getting serious again, Damon said, "... now that all the parties for my winning the championship are gone, I want to get back to work. I can judge the car only after having driven it on the track, but I know that I have to be ready to take a step back compared to last year, to then be able to make a big jump forward together with the team". "One important thing, that all the fans must understand, is that this year there is no possibility that I can repeat the same results as last year. I must be realistic and accept the fact that some time is probably going to pass before I can see the track free in front of me, like last year with Williams". Again about next season, Hill thinks that "winning a Grand Prix in 1997 will be a remarkable event", while about the new tyres "on 50% of the circuit Bridgestone and Goodyear have the same chance of success. On the remaining tracks, some times they have the advantage, but in the other cases it's surely ours".


Group Photo with (from the left) P.P. Diniz, test driver Jorg Muller, Tom Walkinshaw and Damon Hill.

To conclude, Damon says that he is sure about the team's potential: "I have my pride. I'm not in F.1 to wander around from track to track. Who is going to win the next championship? I would like to say 'me'. But that time will come".
Tom Walkinshaw, chief and owner of the team, was happy and he showed himself sure about the future of the Arrows-TWR in F.1: "After all, also Benetton was far from being a reliable team, when I arrived there. In the first races, I will be happy to see the Arrows not too far from the fourth row. The first half of the season will not be easy, there will inevitably be trouble: beacuse the structure is young, we lack a little experience. But in the second half we aim to go on the podium regularly. Also with Diniz. .... I think we made the first jump at Imola, with the first of the two or three important developments that the Yamaha engine, small and powerful, had to have". And, about a possible victory: "We can do it: Hill is one of the fastest drivers in the championship and the Bridgestone tyres on some tracks should be decisive."
Teammate of Damon is Pedro Paulo Diniz, a promising Brasilian driver, last year with the Ligier Mugen team, said, "Hill is an open man. I hope to be able to learn a lot from him, and, maybe, to get onto the podium sometimes."




1st January 1997
DAMON HILL HAS RECEIVED AN O.B.E. FROM THE QUEEN


1st January 1997 Her Royal Mayesty Queen Elizabeth conferred upon Damon Hill the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.).



27th September
DAMON HILL ANNOUNCED THAT HE IS TO RACE FOR THE ARROWS-TWR TEAM IN 1997

Damon Hill and Tom Walkinshaw

Surprising everyone, on Friday 27th September Damon Hill held a press conference to announce he had signed for the next season with the TWR-Arrows Team. That news surprised us all, because at this point it seemed certain that Damon was to join the Jordan-Peugeot Team. And, also 'cause TWR are not really competitive: this season they finished only once in sixth position, and the Team has been racing in the Formula One Championship since 1977, with no victories and only one Pole Position in 287 races. But a series of factors drove Damon to make that choice. First of all, the fact that the Team is now owned by Tom Walkinshaw, ex partner of the Benetton Team and with a lot of experience in the world of sports cars, who has won in every category he has entered. Furthermore, in the next season TWR should have the Yamaha engine and Bridgestone tyres in exclusive (it's not yet official, the announcement will be made in Suzuka, Japan, during the race week-end), that will give a big technical and financial boost. Technical Director will be Frank Dernie, former Benetton and Williams.
Damon declared "next year will be only the start, but I'm expecting fast progress. What I have seen at TWR is the seed of a big project, to which I'm going to give my experience as a driver and test-driver. Tom has offered me the position I am looking for and I am delighted with the package. I have the chance to test and develop with the team, to play a key role and, in the future, to win races. It is all I wanted and I am very happy. Of course it is going to be difficult racing for the championship next season. To all my fans I can only say that, if really all of them love me, they have to continue supporting me no matter what the results". "Tom has offered me more than I could have hoped for - a rewarding package, a great challenge and a partnership with him in helping to develop a winning F1 team".
Tom Walkinshaw said that "Damon abilities are beyond question. He stands on the verge of his first world title, he is a proven winner over several seasons with 20 victories from 66 starts - and that is quite an outstanding strike rate. His speed, his experience and his technical focus will be of enormous value to us. " "I want to take TWR into the top 5 teams of the World Championship. Forget the Arrows of the past. Our goal is to be the world champions in the shortest possible time and Damon's recruitment brings the day when we can achieve that goal considerably closer."
The contract, Damon said, is for 1997, but both he and Walkinshaw made it clear they hoped it would last much longer. He is to be paid around $8 million for next year.

For now that's all. There's nothing more to say than all we fans of Damon Hill will follow him always, hoping that TWR next year can be really competitive.



1st Semptember
SENSATIONAL: DAMON WILL NOT RUN WITH WILLIAMS IN 1997!!



During a press conference on Sunday 1st September, Damon Hill announced that he will not be racing for the Williams Team in 1997. Officially for the failing to reach an agreement on salary, but as was already revealed by Damon's lawyer in the conference, the real reasons are others. Not least the fact that the team seems to prefer his team-mate Villeneuve, also for the current Race Championship (see problem with tyres at the pits in the Belgian GP). And, the lawyer declared that on the day of 28th August he had received a phone call from Frank Williams that announced, with no explanation, the end of talks on the contract.
By now, Damon has three possibilities for next year: go to McLaren-Mercedes, to Jordan Peugeot or the new team Stewart Racing, that is to debut in 1997. Of these three, the one nearest to engaging Damon Hill seems to be McLaren Mercedes.
Nice one Williams, having let go of the probable World Champion, and one of the fastest drivers in Formula One.

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