There are times when Formula One is as hard off the track as it is on it. Wednesday August 28 was just such a day, when Frank Williams curtly informed Damon Hill that his services would not be required in 1996.
Elsewhere in this issue, you can read the background behind Williams thinking. Whether or not you agree with the team’s decision is immaterial. Its Frank’s team, it’s Frank’s choice. He gave Damon his big F1 break, and he is perfectly entitled to dispense with his services within the terms of their contract.
Its that simple black and white, no emotions attached. Emotion, it seems is a rare commodity in the world as a whole nowadays, let alone F1. There may well be a certain logic to Williams rationale, whether it be based on financial practicalities or performance considerations. Either way, the whole affair was handled most clumsily in public.
It is difficult not to feel a degree of sympathy for Hill, who had won seven out of 13 Grands Prix when he was effectively given his notice. The timing of the announcement was a kick in the teeth for a man who simply does not merit the ritual humiliation to which he has sometimes between subjected in public.
This is not a patriotic observation, more a practical one.
Williams may be able to build bloody good racing cars, but its man-management techniques are far from desirable. S A