Damon Hill ran his most successful Formula 1 season in 1996 and even won the title, but did not renew his contract with Williams. The decision came as a surprise to Britain, with Heinz-Harold Freudsen limiting him to a replacement in 1997.
In 1996, he finally signed with the Arrows, who scored just one point in their senior year for footwork. Hill also exposed the interest of three-time world champion Jackie Stuart and formed a new team called the Stewart Grand Prix with his son Paul.
It has been working with Ford’s Formula 1 Works team since 1997. Hill was high on the wish list, as Stuart wrote in his autobiography. He wanted a driver who was “desirable, available, and affordable.” However, as is well known, the deal of hope with Hill never came out.
Hill saw “a big risk in terms of career.”
Hill recalled Stewart’s request from this week at the “The Mindset of Champions” event, co-sponsored by Ignition Human Performance with motorsport tickets to support the charity. “He made a very good offer to me,” Britton said.
The now 60-year-old admits he regrets the decision: “I have to say it broke my mind to reject Jackie because I knew it would be like a dream come true. I thought it would be a huge risk, based on your career.
Hill explains in a previous review that the stage of transitioning from a winning team to a team that has never competed before is “a good thing” for him, but at the same time he says he never suspected “Jackie”. Paul Los will make it. However, that did not change his decision.
“I’m forgive him”: Stuart gives
Stuart and his son went to Ireland to see Google in person and to convince them of the move. “He said he’s not a son of a bitch!” Jokes Stuart today. “We really needed him. We went to Ireland. He was in Ireland at the time. We flew to see Damon Hill.”
“Of course he was not there at the time. When we last saw him, he did not want to drive a bad car, ”recalls the three-time champion. But he’s not angry with Hill right now: “I’m forgive him!” In 1997, the Stewart team scored just three points behind the arrow at the Constructors’ Championship.
Hill Heroes left for Jordan a year later. He celebrated his last victory at the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix. By the end of 1999 he had switched from Formula 1. In the same year, Stuart’s team finished fourth at the World Championships, but this season Ford took over completely.