Hill, not Certain for ’97?

World Championship leader Damon Hill could face competition from both Sauber start Heinz-Harald Frentzen and McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen if he is to drive for Williams again next year.

Sources say that all three are on a shortlist that boss Frank Williams has compiled to help him decide on a team mate for Jacques Villeneuve, who has a two year contract with the team. A fourth, unidentified driver is also said to be on the list.

The highly rated Frentzen, who is unhappy at Sauber-Ford, would likely jump at the chance to join Williams, but sources say it is unlikely that Hakkinen would leave McLaren, where boss Ron Dennis is an ardent supporter.

Whether Williams would want to risk a driver he does not know in place of Hill is another matter. But Hill’s place cannot be considered secure even if he does win the title this year – Williams ditched both Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost after they won the championship for him in 1992 and ’93 respectively.

16/5/96 – Autosport

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