The Canadian Grand Prix result, which saw Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen robbed of second place and six championship points by a broken front disc, has opened up the battle for third place in the Constructors Championship. Starting from sixth...
The Canadian Grand Prix result, which saw Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen robbed of second place and six championship points by a broken front disc, has opened up the battle for third place in the Constructors Championship.
Starting from sixth place on the grid Frentzen drove a superbly judged race to climb into 2nd place, fending off a determined challenge from the Benetton of Giancarlo Fisichella. Then, three and a half laps from the end of the race Frentzen's car produced a cloud of smoke from its front right brake disc and the car ploughed off the track and into the tyre barrier.
For a time is appeared as though Heinz-Harald was not moving, but he soon emerged from the car and walked to the safety crew. He was taken to the circuit's well-equipped medical centre, and from there flown to hospital in downtown Montreal to undergo further tests.
"Heinz was conscious and soon regained his sense of humour," said Prof. Sid Watkins, Formula One's top medical man. "He has a bruised left leg and right shoulder, but there is no reason for him not to race again in two weeks time in France. The new head rest played a major role in protecting him in the crash."
Giancarlo Fisichella's strong performance for Benetton, finishing second in the wake of Frentzen's sudden exit from the race, has brought the Italian team to within two points of Benson and Hedges Jordan, while Ralf Schumacher's fourth place for Williams puts his team a further two points adrift in the fifth place.
Jordan, Benetton, Williams and the sixth placed Stewart team have all witnessed one of their drivers enjoy a good start to the season, with their team mates encountering a series of problems to prevent a concerted two-car campaign.
At Benson and Hedges Jordan 1996 World Champion and 1998 Belgian GP victor Damon Hill was taken out in accidents at the opening two events, whilst in Monaco and Montreal he also suffered shunts - the accident on Sunday in Canada taking place at the same, treacherous corner which claimed race leader Michael Schumacher and former World Champion Jacque Villeneuve. His two finishes, in Imola and Barcelona netted him three Championship Points. At Williams Alex Zanardi has had a tough return to Formula One, struggling in qualifying and the races against everyone's expectations, while Alex Wurz at Benetton and Johnny Herbert at Stewart have suffered the brunt of failures and incidents.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Damon Hill and the entire Benson and Hedges Jordan Mugen-Honda team will now be focusing harder than ever on recapturing the team's early season points scoring form. Frentzen is determined to recover from his disappointment in Canada to score well in Magny Cours, France, next week, while Damon Hill is confident that his luck will change and the team remains firmly behind him.
It is not certain that Frentzen will be able to take part in this week's testing in Magny Cours, but Damon Hill will be there, and the team is looking forward to running a new-specification Mugen-Honda V10 engine in qualifying for next week's French Grand Prix. Mugen-Honda have promised a good performance improvement, and the team is seeking to make progress on several fronts in order to protect its third place in the Constructors Championship.