Damon Hill is to be offered a staggering 20 million pound two-year pay deal – the second biggest in Grand Prix history.
That’s the contract being thrashed out by Hill’s boss Frank Williams and his lawyers in a desperate bid to keep the British hero.
The deal works out at £624,999 a race for Hill, who spun out of Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Williams told me (Ted Macauley) last night: “Damon is proving to be a truly great driver, and I want him to stay with us”
He would be behind only Michael Schumacher – on a colossal £32 million for two years with Ferrari – in the Formula One pay stakes.
Williams has the backing of Renault in his bid to secure Hill’s services for another two years.
Renault race team supremo Bernard Dudot said: “Damon and Jacques Villeneuve are our dream team – I think they are perfect together.
“We want to keep them as partners for next year – our last season in racing.”
Another source close to Renault said: “I’m sure Renault will fund a big enough pay rise to keep Damon in place long enough to exploit his success.”
I can reveal that 24-year-old Villeneuve has already signed up for next season. He told me: “I know there has been a lot of speculation about my future. I know what’s going on. And I am happy. I am happy to be at Williams – and I am planning to stay at Williams.” And Hill said: “That’s where I want to be, too.”
A front-line driver told me: “Damon and Williams seem to be made for each other.” I reported last week how Hill was demanding 12 million to race next season. He has dropped that price but he knows his worth if he wins the world title.
16/7/96 – Daily Mirror.