MARCH 3, 1997
Damon's wing failure
WORLD CHAMPION DAMON HILL has not had a successful time in testing in recent weeks with the new Arrows-Yamaha A18 and the nightmare continued last week at Silverstone when Damon's car suffered a front wing failure during its final shakedown runs.
While this is worrying for the team, what is more disconcerting for Bridgestone personnel is that there have been two suspension failures for Bridgestone-shod cars in recent weeks: in early February Olivier Panis crashed his Ligier-Mugen HondaÊJS45 at Barcelona when the suspension failed and then Jan Magnussen suffered a suspension failure in his Stewart-Ford while testing in Estoril.
While the tires may not be responsible for the failures it is strange that both failures happened on Bridgestone rubber which may be providing more grip that the Goodyears. Bridgestone tires designers are said to be worried that designers are so used to Goodyear grip levels that they have built suspensions which cannot survive with the Bridgestones. There were similar spate of suspension failures in F1 in the early 1970s when there was a tire war between Goodyear and Firestone.
Hill's Arrows was whisked away from Silverstone to Leafield to be checked out while Damon headed off to Australia. The following day Martin Brundle - an Arrows director - shook down the third A18 before the cars were all packed up and sent off to Australia.