Formula 1 Teams Damon Graham Devereux Hill
Races: 122Damon Hill: A Royal HeirBy Jeremy McMullenPage: 1 2 3 next >>
Career Points: 360
Raised up in the home of a World Champion and growing up in a world that would be surrounded by many others, the bloodlines of champions would flow thick and heavy. Whether captured in iconic photos or being the son of a father that would birth his own racing team, Damon Hill's life would be motor racing, and especially Formula One. It would only make sense the son of the ‘King of Monaco' and the only Triple Crown winner would don the crown of the famous London Rowing Club and would take his place beside his father as king of Formula One.
In spite of being born into Formula One royalty, the death of Graham in his airplane at the end of November in 1975, meant Damon and the rest of his family would find their circumstances drastically changed.
On the 17th of September in 1960 Damon Graham Devereux Hill would be born into the world, a world that would be flooded with such names as Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and many others of Formula One royalty. By the time Damon turned two years of age his father would be World Champion for the very first time. Then, just six years later, the Hill household would celebrate yet another World Championship.
But while the crowns of World Champion would adorn the household proving the Hill family was some kind of Formula One royalty, there would be one place in particular the Hill family ruled like no other.
The year following his triumph to become World Champion, Graham would score his first of five victories on the streets of Monaco. It would be no exaggeration that throughout the 1960s Hill ruled the tiny principality. Actually, the rule would last much longer than just during the 1960s. Scoring victories in the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans it seemed certain racing flowed through the Hill bloodlines and it would be just a matter of time before Damon ascended to the throne his father enjoyed. However, life would put such thoughts into some doubt.
By the 1970s, Graham was still racing but was facing the hard reality his racing days were coming to an end. Not wanting to abdicate his throne, he would begin laying the groundwork of his own Formula One team. But then there would be the sudden death in a plane accident in November of 1975. The sudden events would cause the royal family to find itself in an exile of sorts.
|At the time of his father's death, Damon would be just 15 years of age and would find his life of relative comfort turned upside-down. Damon and the rest of his family would be forced to provide for themselves. Prior to his father's death, Damon would show some interest in motor racing but it would be of the two-wheel variety. This would prove advantageous after his father's death as he would manage to use his skill on motorbikes to land a job as a motorcycle courier.|
|1999||199||Mugen-Honda MF-301 HD|
|1998||Jordan 198||Mugen-Honda MF-301 HC|
|1997||Arrows A18||Yamaha OX11A 3.0 V10|
|1996||FW18||Renault RS8 3.0 V10|
|1995||FW17B||Renault RS7 3.0 V10|
|1995||FW17||Renault RS7 3.0 V10|
|1994||FW16||Renault RS6 3.5 V10|
|1994||FW16B||Renault RS6 3.5 V10|
|1993||FW15C||Renault RS5 3.5 V10|
|1992||BT60B||Judd GV 3.5 V10|
Gaining more and more experience sitting atop motorbikes due to his occupation, it would be almost natural the natural bloodlines would lead Damon to begin racing bikes. However, Damon would not start racing until he was 21 years of age. While in the world of motor racing this would be considered rather late, it would prove to be an interesting connection to his father who would not begin his motor racing career until his mid-twenties.
Damon would enjoy the racing on motorcycles. His mother, on the other hand, would not. Knowing all too well the dangers of motor racing on four wheels, the prospect of racing on two would be too much for her to handle and she would encourage her son to enter the Winfield Racing School, which was based in France. This would mark Damon's switch from two to four wheels. Interestingly, it would be yet another connection to his father as Graham had also been initially interested in motorcycle racing but would switch to racing on four wheels.
Racing for Damon would be sporadic as he would continue to have to earn the money to go racing. Then, finally, Hill would garner together enough sponsorship money to take part in Formula Ford. The first season in which he would compete in the series would be 1985.While Graham would always be remembered for his sharp wit and playful view of life, he would also be remembered as a hard-working and committed individual. This ethic, despite Damon's young age, would be passed down. Though lacking the profuse wit of his father, Damon would be just a focused and hard-working. This deliberate, determination would lead Damon to score no less than six victories in Van Diemen.
Hill would move on to Formula Three and then Formula 3000 display great resolve and improvement in each series. However, his last name would do little to convince people of his ties to the throne in Formula One. If Damon was to make it to the pinnacle it would have to come through hard work and the intervention of providence.
To be overlooked either had the potential of killing a person from within or forging them into iron. In the case of Damon it would be the latter and it would lead to Frank Williams, the founder of the Williams Formula One team, to give the son of a double World Champion a test driver seat in 1991. Williams would put it very bluntly saying he was 'a tough bastard'. This compliment would say everything about Hill and his approach to his career in Formula One. While his father was fun-loving and never took much very serious, his son would be dedicated, ultra-focused and exacting of himself. As Patrick Head would say of Hill, he had a 'fierce inner determination'. And this would be just what Hill needed to be able to get a ride in Formula One and stay there to reach the top.
In 1991, Hill would still be competing in Formula 3000 while also taking part in testing duties with Williams. Though he was earning time behind the wheel of a Formula One car he had not broken through to the pinnacle of motorsport just yet. That would come the following year.
In 1992, Hill would continue to test for Williams. That year, the Grove-based team would dominate. But while the team he would test for would dominate, the team Damon would break into Formula One with would be on the other end of the spectrum.
Brabham had once been one of the great teams of Formula One. Founded by the Australian great Jack Brabham, Brabham would continue to win championships right up through the 1980s. However, by the 1992 season, Brabham was in dire financial straights and struggled just to qualify for races.
The 1992 season would see Eric van de Poele teamed up with Giovanna Amati. Amati would attempt to take part in the first three races of the season. However, she would fail to qualify for either one of the three and would be forced out of the series when her financial backing dried up. This left a seat open, and Damon Hill was willing to jump into the difficult situation to get his first experience in Formula One.
The time at Brabham was similar to the 1980s when he was overlooked. Just to qualify for a race was no small achievement. Hill would struggle, failing to qualify in his first five races with the team. However, at his home grand prix he would dig just that little bit deeper and would manage to make it into the race.
The British Grand Prix in 1992 would be memorable for Nigel Mansell's incredible victory. However, the race would be memorable for Hill as it would not only prove to be his first grand prix, but also his first race finish. Though finishing all the way down in 16th place, dead-last, Hill would still prove his worth nursing the underachieving and fragile Brabham home to the finish. Page: 1 2 3 next >>