SEPTEMBER 9, 1996
Frentzen at Williams
AS we predicted last week, Heinz-Harald Frentzen has been signed as Jacques Villeneuve's partner in the Rothmans Williams Renault team for 1997 and 1998. Frentzen is believed to have an option to continue with the team in 1999 as well. The news was announced on Wednesday of last week, just before the F1 circus gathered at Monza in Italy.
Frank Williams has been interested in the 29-year-old German since Monaco 1994 when he approached Frentzen to replace Ayrton Senna in the Williams team. At the time Heinz-Harald had competed in only three GPs for Sauber. Williams's approach, however, coincided with Karl Wendlinger's accident and Frentzen felt that he could not desert Peter Sauber. Williams decided to measure Frentzen's talent by lending Sauber the Williams test driver Jean-Christophe Boullion to stand in for Wendlinger and Frentzen was much quicker than the young Frenchman. Williams tried to hire Heinz-Harald again at the end of the year but he chose to stay with Sauber in 1995. Last autumn Williams again made efforts to sign Frentzen and we believe that there was a verbal agreement for Frentzen to join Williams in 1997.
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