(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000 Родился: 18.05.1967 Мёнхенгладбах Сезонов в Ф1: Лет в Ф1: 10 Гран При: Старты: 156* *не стартовал: 4 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: 5 Поул-позиции: подряд: Первый ряд: подряд:
Сезонов в Ф1:
Лет в Ф1:
10 Гран При: Старты: 156* *не стартовал: 4 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: 5 Поул-позиции: подряд: Первый ряд: подряд:
156* *не стартовал: 4 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: 5 Поул-позиции: подряд: Первый ряд: подряд:
4 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: 5 Поул-позиции: подряд: Первый ряд: подряд:
5 Поул-позиции: подряд: Первый ряд: подряд:
For Heinz-Harald it has been a long and sometimes frustrating road to the top, and even when he seemed to have finally climbed to the summit of Formula 1 with the chance of a lifetime at Williams in 1997, the likeable German had to prove himself all over again at Jordan after his dream move had turned sour.
He raced karts from 1980 to 1985, taking a German junior championship, before three seasons in German FF2000, where he finished runner-up in 1987. This set up a move into the German Opel Lotus Challenge the following year, and Heinz-Harald not only took the title but also scored a couple of wins in the GM Lotus Euroseries.
It was in 1989 that motor racing aficionados worldwide really started to take an interest in the trio of talented youngsters, Wendlinger, Michael Schumacher and Frentzen, who were battling for the German F3 title. Eventually, the last two shared second place just one point adrift of Wendlinger, but their performances were such that all three were earmarked to join the Mercedes Benz Group C programme for 1990. In addition Heinz-Harald found long-term backing from Camel to join Eddie Jordan in F3000.
It was now that his career began to stall; left in the third car at EJR and with no real experience, he struggled all year, and with the troublesome Lola in '91 things hardly improved. Worse was to follow ... Camel took their budget to Benetton with Schumacher for 1992, and Heinz-Harald was left high and dry without a drive of any sort. He agreed to race for March in '93, but wisely backed away and plumped instead to go to Japan to compete in F3000 for Super Nova, in place of the indisposed Volker Weidler. The time he spent there did a great deal to build his confidence, and when the chance of a test for Sauber came in the autumn of 1993 Frentzen was equipped to make the most of it.
His first year in F1 saw Heinz-Harald assume the team leadership after Wendlinger's accident and quickly become a top-six contender, despite the Sauber's obvious limitations, and this quiet and unassuming man took another giant stride forward in 1995, working ceaselessly to push the Ford-engined car towards the front of the grid. In the second half of the season Frentzen put in some superb drives to enhance his rising reputation. That he had come to be so highly regarded in just two seasons of Formula 1 in a car not good enough to challenge the leaders showed the reservoir of talent which he possessed.
Despite the introduction of the new Ford Zetec-R V10, the German's 1996 season was something of an anti-climax, with Frentzen seeming less than fully committed when the Sauber C15 failed to come up to scratch. Williams, of course, had already made their move and controversially signed Frentzen to replace Damon Hill for the 1997 season.
Life at Williams is never a bed of roses and it was to prove less than fertile ground for Frentzen, who failed to bloom in the harsh environment. A win at Imola and a string of podium finishes brought the runner-up position in the championship behind team-mate Jacques Villeneuve, but lurking in the background was the feeling that his contribution could, and should, have been much greater. Worse was to follow for 1998, which turned into something of a nightmare for the mild-mannered Frentzen. The new narrow-track and grooved-tyre regulations found the Williams FW20 wanting and Heinz-Harald seemed resigned to his number two status behind Villeneuve.
He was prematurely written off by many, but not by Eddie Jordan, who swiftly moved to bring the German on board for the 1999 season. A superb second place at the opening race in Australia provided Heinz-Harald with an immediate and much-needed boost to his confidence and he simply never looked back. Team-mate Damon Hill was left floundering by Frentzen's pace, and his smooth style and calmness under pressure brought two well-judged wins which, together with a further ten top-six finishes, earned an impressive third place in the championship table. More importantly, perhaps, Frentzen had regained his credibility as a top-rank driver.
(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000
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