Category: Archive

Hill to retire from Formula 1 racing

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

Damon Hill, the Formula One racing driver for Jordan Grand Prix, is to retire at the end of the current season.

Hill, a 1996 Formula One champion, was, at age 32, a late starter in what is the premier league of world motor racing. Nevertheless, he went on to win 22 grand prix, and the world championship itself, in just seven seasons.

Among those tipped to replace Hill on the Jordan team is Irish driver Eddie Irvine.

Jordan Grand Prix’s other driver is the German Heínz-Harald Frentzen, who’s 32. He lives in Monaco.

Motor racing commentators had noticed that Hill’s performance of late left something to be desired. Hill will turn 38 at the end of this year and is currently the oldest driver in Formula One. In addition, his two-year contract with Jordan Grand prix is up at the end of this year.

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Jordan Grand Prix spokesman Frank Madden described Hill’s decision to retire as "courageous." Speaking to the Echo from Jordan Grand Prix headquarters in London on Friday last, Madden described Hill as "a gentleman."

"The one thing that can never be taken away from him is that he was the first guy to win a race for Jordan in Belgium last year," Madden said.

A resident of Killiney, Co. Dublin, Hill is the son of the late Graham Hill, the only man to have won the coveted triple crown of motor racing: the Formula One world championship (in 1962 and 1968), the Indianapolis 500 (1966), and the 24 hours of Le Mans (1972).

Jordan Gran Prix is a 60 percent owned and managed by Eddie Jordan, of Bray, Co. Wicklow. The New York investment company E. M. Warburg, Pincus & Co. bought a 40 percent stake in the team last October.

Eddie Jordan, chief executive of Jordan Grand Prix, in a statement to the Echo, said that Hill brought to Jordan a level of professionalism, dedication and determination that enabled the team to emerge from its worst-ever start to have its best-ever championship finish in 1998.

"In his whole career, he has never shirked a challenge and together we will work doubly hard to ensure that he retires in the stylish, gentlemanly manner that has been the hallmark of his conduct from start to finish," Jordan added.

The next Formula One race is the French grand prix in Magny Cours on June 27.

Jordan Grand Prix will race in the United States next year in the U.S. grand prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sept. 24.

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