|Born||17 September 1960|
Hampstead, London, UK
|Formula One World Championship Statistics|
|Team||Rothmans Williams Renault|
The 1994 Formula One season was Damon's third in Formula One and his second for the Williams Team. He became the team leader after the death of team mate Ayrton Senna at the San Marino Grand Prix. His lost the championship by 1 point to Micheal Scumacher at the last round, winning 6 races along the way, and earning 91 points.
In 1994, Senna joined Hill at Williams. As the reigning champion, this time Prost, was again no longer racing, Hill retained his number '0'. The pre-season betting was that Senna would coast to the title, but with the banning of electronic driver aids, the Benetton team and Michael Schumacher initially proved more competitive and won the first three races. At the San Marino Grand Prix on 1 May, Senna died after his car went off the road. With the team undergoing investigation from the Italian authorities on manslaughter charges, Hill found himself team leader with only one season’s experience in the top flight. It was widely reported at the time that the Williams car's steering column had failed, though Hill told BBC Sport in 2004 that he believed Senna simply took the corner too fast for the conditions, referring to the fact that the car had just restarted the race with cold tyres after being slowed down by a safety car.
Hill represented Williams alone at the next race, the Monaco Grand Prix. His race ended early in a collision involving several cars on the opening lap of the race. For the following race, the Spanish Grand Prix, Williams' test driver David Coulthard was promoted to the race team alongside Hill, who won the race just four weeks after Senna's death. Twenty-six years earlier Graham Hill had won in Spain under similar circumstances for Lotus after the death of his team-mate Jim Clark. Championship leader Schumacher finished second with a gearbox fault restricting him to fifth gear, having led the early laps.
Schumacher led by 66 points to 29 by the mid-point of the season. At the French Grand Prix, Frank Williams brought back Mansell, who shared the second car with Coulthard for the remainder of the season. Mansell earned approximately £900,000 for each of his four races, while Hill was paid £300,000 for the entire season, though Hill's position as lead driver remained unquestioned. Hill came back into contention for the title after winning the British Grand Prix, a race which his father had never won. Schumacher was disqualified from that race and banned for two further races for overtaking Hill during the formation lap and ignoring the subsequent black flag. Four more victories for Hill, three of which were in races where Schumacher was excluded or disqualified, took the title battle to the final event at Adelaide. At Schumacher's first race since his ban, the European Grand Prix, he suggested that Hill (who was eight years his senior) was not a world class driver. However, during the penultimate race at the Japanese Grand Prix, Hill took victory ahead of Schumacher in a rain-soaked event. This put Hill just one point behind the German before the last race of the season.
Neither Hill nor Schumacher finished the season-closing Australian Grand Prix, after a controversial collision which gave the title to Schumacher. Schumacher ran off the track hitting the wall with the right-hand side of his Benetton while leading. Coming into the sixth corner Hill moved to pass the Benetton and the two collided, breaking the Williams' front left suspension wishbone, and forcing both drivers' retirement from the race. BBC Formula One commentator Murray Walker, a great fan and friend of Hill, has often maintained that Schumacher did not cause the crash intentionally. WilliamsF1 co-owner Patrick Head feels differently. In 2006 he said that at the time of the incident "Williams were already 100% certain that Michael was guilty of foul play" but did not protest Schumacher's title because the team was still dealing with the death of Ayrton Senna. In 2007, Hill explicitly accused Schumacher of causing the collision deliberately.
Hill's season earned him the 1994 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Complete Formula One resultsEdit
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1994||Rothmans Williams Renault||Williams FW16||Renault RS6 3.5 V10|| BRA|