Winners & Losers from Brazil   HomeContentsHelp




Brazilian GP:

Winners and Losers


The Winners:

Prost GP and Bridgestone: Well. How about that? A car that was thought to be a flash in the Monte Carlo pan has outright and in very normal circumstances, come an extremely good third. The soft Bridgestone tyres carried him to the finish, on the same lap as Villeneuve and without a scratch. Le Professeur mustn't be able to believe his luck as the points start rolling in and he is ahead of his old team, Williams-Renault in the standings. They went about their business quietly and extraordinarily effectively and one of the most under-rated - or is that ignored? - driver in the championship drove a careful and smart race.

Damon Hill: Yes, he's still a winner. He must have been going right off (Australian colloquial expression meaning "Trying rather hard") in that cockpit. He has narrowed the gap between the Arrows-Pig and the No. 3 Williams-Renault of his former team-mate to far less than two seconds and had the thing up to fourth at one stage. His replacement at Williams did no better than that. For that car to run in the points is a major achievement by any driver, and Mr Diniz is not doing too badly either with his comparatively modest talents. Of course, the Yamaha V10 had the last say.

Jacques Villeneuve: Not so much a winner (for the purposes of this article anyway) as a damn lucky boy. He fluffed it in much the same way as he did in Melbourne, trying to play the hard man and off he went into the gravel. Cleverly, someone behind him decided that a Grand Prix is not complete without a first-corner accident. Although Villeneuve rejoined with a screaming foot-to-the-floor run through the gravel, all in one piece and not too far back, it helped that most of the cars were still negotiating the new chicane at the Senna Ess not put there by the safety committee. The restart must have been like a two-year contract from Renault, sorry, Mechachrome, falling from the sky.

Everyone (apart from Villeneuve) who qualified in front of Frentzen: Figure out for yourself why these people are winners.

The Losers:

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: I have a horrid feeling he's going to be a regular in the losers section. He did his Friday trick of being fastest and then got walloped by Villeneuve in the Saturday qualifying. He was outqualified by much lesser machines and people who are allegedly lesser drivers. He did nothing, and I mean NOTHING!!!! in the race, didn't even improve or hold his qualifying place. I find it difficult to believe that Frank and Patrick are throwing all their support behind Mr Frentzen as he is not making use of the equipment with which he has been supplied. It was a very ordinary performance and Damon Hill's 1995 season must be looking mighty good in comparison.

Michael Schumacher: On second thoughts, anyone earning that kind of money is not a loser. Make him a winner.

Frank Williams and Patrick Head: Losers in the sense that they signed Heinz-Harald Frentzen in a time when they were not supporting Damon Hill as their best driver and not treating either of their drivers with the respect they deserved but expecting them both to win races while their technical director went to a Touring Car race. The Williams lawyer must already be hard at work trying to find a clause in the contract that reads 'sacking useless driver because we thought he'd be better than Damon Hill, but he wasn't.' I hope for all their sakes that Frentzen pulls his finger out.

Viewers of the ITV coverage: Murray sounded like he was bellowing into a dodgy mobile phone on a tube station platform, Louise was lost completely and Martin sounded more nasal than I can ever recall. The pictures, though no fault of ITV, were awful and it looked like one of the cameras was being run by a cross-eyed kid from an adjoining favela. The biggest losers were those watching the same coverage in Australia who had to put up with Alan Jones and Dazza (see Postcard from Melbourne) trying to pad out the time before the restart and when we lost Louise. It was 3am, I was tired, the TV had to be turned down low so as not to wake the rest of the house and I was not in the mood for that stupidity. We didn't even see the champagne. Dazza lied and said they'd lost the satellite, when in actual fact there was something more important on. A General Hospital episode that was about fifteen years old, or some such terror.

Yamaha: They get a world champion on board and give him a portable hand grenade.

The guy who designed the Arrows throttle system: Tom must be making this guy's life a living hell.

Peter Anderson

Brazilian Grand Prix Race Report

Formula 1 Contents