Honda website
Honda website

OCTOBER 28, 1996

Frentzen tries a Williams

HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN did not waste much time after the end of the Formula 1 season before getting into a Williams-Renault FW18. Nine days after the season ended the 29-year-old German began a four day test for his new team at Estoril, in Portugal. Frentzen is expected to embark on a heavy testing schedule with the team in the next couple of months to ensure that he is fully competitive by the time the new season kicks off in Melbourne in March next year.

Frentzen's Williams team mate Jacques Villeneuve completed around 6,000 miles of testing before his Williams debut this year and he was on the pace from the very start.

"For the first couple of laps I felt I was sitting in a Formula 1 car for the very first time," said Frentzen. "Everything was so different. I would like to sit in the car every day between now and the start of the season in order to be fully prepared for that first Grand Prix."

One problem which Heinz-Harald has to overcome is getting used to using just two pedals instead of the three he has been used to with Sauber for the last three seasons.

Michael Schumacher, incidentally, has been saying that he reckons that Frentzen will be his major challenger for the World Championship next season rather than Villeneuve. Schumacher should know, he first raced against Frentzen when he was 12 - Heinz-Harald won - and the two were close rivals in the German Formula 3 series in 1989, in which Heinz-Harald finished ahead of Michael, Frentzen winning three races and Schumacher only two.

Damon Hill will begin testing for Arrows within the next few weeks, as Bridgestone is keen that he begins work on its tire development program as soon as possible. Damon is expected to do his first Bridgestone tests in the old Ligier-Mugen JS41 which Bridgestone uses for testing in Japan. The first test is scheduled to take place at Suzuka on November 14-15. This will give the Japanese tiremaker data to compare Hill's driving style with others who have tested the same car. Hill is expected to drive with white overalls as he had several promotional contracts with Williams sponsors which have yet to run out.