|Formula 1 world championship|
|First start:||1994 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|Last start:||2003 Japanese Grand Prix|
|1994–1996 Sauber • 1997–1998 Williams • 1999–2001 Jordan • 2001 Prost • 2002 Arrows • 2002–2003 Sauber|
|World Cup balance:||Vice World Champion ( 1997 )|
|World Cup points :||174|
|Leadership laps :||151 over 754.5 km|
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (born May 18, 1967 in Mönchengladbach ) is a German racing driver . He competed in 157 Formula 1 Grand Prix races from 1994 to 2003 and was runner-up in 1997 there. From 2004 to 2006 Frentzen drove in the DTM , then he was active in endurance races and in the Speedcar Series . In the 2011 and 2012 seasons he competed in the ADAC GT Masters .
Beginnings in motorsport
Frentzen, the son of a German and a Spanish woman, was 13 years old when he got into karting in 1980. In the following years he amazed the spectators, his father and his fellow drivers time and again with his basic speed. Heinz-Harald immediately became German Junior Champion in 1981. In 1983, Frentzen met Michael Schumacher for the first time on the kart track in Kerpen. Father Harald Frentzen remembered this encounter: “Schumacher was the best in Kerpen, nobody could beat him, but then Heinz-Harald came and won. Michael finished second - for the first time. ”In 1986 Frentzen switched to Formula Ford 2000, from where the promotion to higher racing classes should begin. The first year in Team Reynard went very well: A 4th, two 1st, two 2nd, two 3rd and one 5th place are on the credit side at the end of the season, compared to a failure. The second year in Formula Ford 2000, on the other hand, did not go as Frentzen had imagined: In the final accounts, he is only eighth with 18 points. In 1988 things went better again after switching to the German Formula Opel Championship. "HHF" won the title with seven victories. In the following year, a thrilling three-way battle for the crown in the Formula 3 championship developed between the Austrian Karl Wendlinger , Frentzen and Michael Schumacher, at the end of which Wendlinger was ahead with 164 points - ahead of Frentzen and Schumacher with 163 points each.
These three drivers met again a short time later to compete for the Mercedes-Benz junior team in the Group C sports cars in 1990 . There they should be qualified for higher tasks under the direction of Jochen Mass . Mass recalls: “All three were very fast guys, but each had different strengths and weaknesses. What surprised me about Heinz-Harald was his ability to be quick right away. He hadn't done a flying lap on a day of testing in Jerez, but he was joking with the mechanics until I went over and told him to focus on driving. He was a bit nervous, but he drove out and made his first flying lap - which was promptly the fastest of the day. "
However, Frentzen left the team at the end of the season to switch to Formula 3000 in 1991 , which at that time was considered the springboard to Formula 1 . In Eddie Jordan's team, however , Frentzen and his teammate Eddie Irvine could hardly achieve any success due to non-competitive material. In 1992 and 1993, Frentzen was forced to work in Formula Nippon because the Jordan team had switched to Formula 1 and he had no lucrative offers - neither from Formula 1 nor from Formula 3000.
In 1994, after almost 40 years of abstinence, Mercedes-Benz decided to return to Grand Prix racing. To do this, they bought into the English engine manufacturer Ilmor , renamed the engines Mercedes and continued to develop them there. Since Ilmor also supplied Peter Sauber's team with engines, it was only logical to work with the Swiss racing team. The Wendlinger, who had been under contract with Sauber since 1993, was given Frentzen as a team colleague.
Sauber I (1994–1996)
Frentzen's Formula 1 career began brilliantly in Brazil in 1994 with a 5th place on the grid, even if the Mönchengladbacher spun out in the race. In the second race he was able to score his first world championship points with fifth place. The rest of the season, however, turned into a catastrophe: After the fatal accidents of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger , Frentzen's team-mate Wendlinger had a serious accident in Monaco and was in a coma for a few weeks, which put the team and Frentzen seriously. HHF was only slowly able to recover from the shock and even turned down an offer from Frank Williams to drive for his team instead of the fatally injured Senna. The solidarity with his boss Peter Sauber , whom he did not want to leave alone in an emergency, was too great .
Towards the end of the season, Frentzen even made it into the second row three times. However, he was unable to convert his good starting positions into corresponding results in the race. In the years that followed, after Mercedes left for the McLaren team, Frentzen was able to achieve some respectable successes with Ford engines, but overall there were no results worth mentioning. After all, in 1995 in Monza, in a race marked by many failures, he achieved his first podium finish in Formula 1 in third place. In 1996 he failed in Monaco due to his own impatience. After Eddie Irvine, who was lying in front of him, could not be lapped, he started an attempt to overtake, which ended in the end for both of them. In the fall, however, he announced the biggest milestone in his career: the move to the world championship team Williams, where he would replace serial winner Damon Hill .
Accordingly high expectations weighed on Frentzen in the 1997 season, whose teammate Jacques Villeneuve also knew how to put him under psychological pressure. It quickly became apparent that the sensitive HHF could not cope with the work atmosphere described as cool and harsh in the Williams team, which was used to success. He failed because of the difficult aerodynamics of his racing car, the nerve strength of his team-mate and a lot of bad luck, which thwarted good results several times. In Melbourne, three laps before the end, a too thin brake disc exploded, in Monaco he had to start with dry tires in the rain on instructions from his team, in Silverstone he stalled his engine because he accidentally pressed two buttons at the start and collided at Hockenheim Frentzen with Irvine and on Hungaroring he was in the lead before a defective fuel filler cap set his car on fire. Nevertheless, he was able to celebrate his maiden victory at the Grand Prix of San Marino and a pole position in Formula 1 for the first time in Monaco . In this one triumph, however, it remained despite the fastest car in the field, with which Villeneuve drove towards the World Championship. At the end of the season Frentzen became vice world champion with 42 points due to the punishment of Michael Schumacher, who was deprived of second place in the drivers' championship after his collision with Villeneuve in the last race.
For 1998, the rules in Formula 1 were fundamentally changed (including reducing the vehicle width from two to 1.80 m and introducing grooved tires). Williams coped with this move worse than other teams and fell behind McLaren and Ferrari . In addition, the engine partner Renault had withdrawn from Formula 1 at the end of the 1997 season, so that Williams had to pay for the maintenance of the previous year's engines . Williams' star designer Adrian Newey also switched to McLaren. The great success did not materialize, so that Frentzen only got a podium finish. At the end of the year Williams separated from Mönchengladbacher, who could not meet the expectations placed on him. He swapped the cockpit with Ralf Schumacher and returned to his old team boss Eddie Jordan.
Jordan, Prost (1999-2001)
In 1999, Frentzen gave the lie to all critics. At the side of ex-world champion Damon Hill, he gave the Jordan team the most successful season in its history, in which he won two races and had a say for a long time about the world title. After his retirement at the Nürburgring, however, where he retired while in the lead, he had to be content with third place in the drivers' standings. In 2000, Jordan could not give his riders the competitive material, victories or even the world championship title were a long way off. Only two third places jumped out in the end, both achieved by Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The following year also began difficult, although Jordan is now equipped with Honda factory engines. In the middle of the season, team boss Jordan dismissed the seemingly demotivated Frentzen - for cost reasons, as it is called today.
Then Heinz-Harald Frentzen moved for the rest of the season to the chronically underfunded team of four-time world champion Alain Prost , which, however, had to file for bankruptcy at the end of the year. But before that he achieved a respectable success for the French racing team. In Spa-Francorchamps , Belgium , he started with the far inferior Prost from 4th place. Although the freak weather played his part, “but you have to drive this lap first”, as Alain Prost beamed after qualifying. Unfortunately, at the second start, first gear could not be engaged, so Frentzen had to start from the back row. In the end, he finished ninth out of 13 pilots who saw the target.
Arrows, Sauber II (2002–2003)
Frentzen received an offer for the 2002 season from Team Arrows , where he was able to prove his class again and the inferior car, which, however, had aerodynamic potential, scored twice before Arrows also went bankrupt in the middle of the season had to. Once again without a team, Frentzen served his old team boss Peter Sauber, who put him in the car for the accident-prone Felipe Massa at the US Grand Prix . For the 2003 season, Frentzen received a place in the Sauber team alongside Nick Heidfeld , who also comes from Mönchengladbach. At the US Grand Prix , Heinz-Harald Frentzen sensationally drove the Sauber to third place, the last podium finish of his F1 career. At the end of the year, however, his contract was not extended because Sauber could no longer justify his sponsors to two German pilots. So Frentzen decided, despite an offer for the 2004 season from Eddie Jordan , who publicly admitted the dismissal of Frentzen two and a half years earlier as a mistake, to end his Formula 1 career.
Instead, Frentzen signed a contract with Opel for 2004 as a driver in the DTM . In his first DTM round, the opening race at Hockenheim , Frentzen started from 16th place and crossed the finish line in eleventh place after 37 laps. In the further course of the season, however, he was able to achieve some respectable successes. For the 2005 season, his contract with Opel was extended by one year. The following racing season went much better for the former Formula 1 driver. Although Opel was still visibly inferior to the competition, he was the only Opel driver to make it onto the podium twice (in Brno and Zandvoort ) and also made it to the points in the remaining races. Accordingly, he ended the season as the best Opel driver in eighth place overall, as the second best German behind multiple DTM champion Bernd Schneider . At the season finale in Hockenheim, of all places, Frentzen was hospitalized with a concussion after a serious accident, where he had to stay for a few days.
After Opel left the DTM at the end of the 2005 season, Heinz-Harald Frentzen contested the 2006 season for Audi in a works Audi A4 belonging to the Abt Sportsline team . This year, in addition to two third places in the final qualifying session at Hockenheim, he achieved the first pole position of his DTM career. In the course of the race, however, he was passed through to the rear and shot down in sixth position by his team-mate Mattias Ekström . In the subsequent interview, he complained that he had not received equal treatment in the team in terms of technical support and racing strategy and announced that he would draw his conclusions from this and consider saying goodbye. This was already very likely due to the obvious snub from Audi sports director Wolfgang Ullrich. On the evening of October 30, 2006, Heinz-Harald Frentzen announced the separation from Audi, as no common denominator could be found even in a final conversation. He then took a year off from racing in 2007.
Long distance / sports car
At the beginning of the 2000s, many sponsors withdrew from motorsport and instead turned to more environmentally friendly sports, which made Frentzen an advocate of initially hybrid and later electric drive technologies in motorsport. In 2008, Frentzen started the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring with the specially developed HHF Hybrid Race Car and its own team. A purchased Apollo street car with a 3.3-liter V8 biturbo with 382 kW (520 hp ), an electric motor 100 kW (136 hp) and a traction battery from the German Gaia-Akkumulatorenwerke GmbH served as the basis. Frentzen was able to finish the race with the hybrid technology that worked without any problems, but was not counted because of two damage to the conventional transmission.
In the Speedcar Series , founded in 2007 and discontinued in 2009 , the races of which took place exclusively on Asian tracks and which was launched to bridge the Formula 1-free winter season, Frentzen initially took part as a guest starter and later as a regular driver. Other former Formula 1 greats were also active in the series: Jean Alesi , Johnny Herbert and Jacques Villeneuve .
In August 2010, Frentzen announced his temporary withdrawal from active motorsport.
ADAC GT Masters
In the 2011 season , Frentzen competed in the ADAC GT Masters alongside former ski jumper Sven Hannawald with a Callaway Corvette and finished 30th in the overall driver standings. In the 2012 season , Frentzen stayed with the series and the Callaway Competition team, but drove with his new team-mate Andreas Wirth , who has competed in the ADAC GT Masters since 2009. He finished 17th in the overall driver standings in the 2012 season.
In 2012, Frentzen was a guest starter in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia in Melbourne as part of the Formula 1 supporting program. The whole thing was a promotion by the American rapper Flo Rida , who had a concert the following Sunday as part of the Formula 1 GP.
In 2010 and 2011, Frentzen acted as race steward for a total of three Formula 1 weekends .
Frentzen has been married since 1999 and has three daughters. He lived in Monaco from 1994 to 2011 , then moved back to Germany with his family and currently (2020) lives in Lank-Latum . He has a friendship with the German Formula 1 reporter Kai Ebel . At the end of the 1980s, Corinna Betsch ( dating since 1991 and married to Michael Schumacher since 1995 ) was his girlfriend.
- 1981 German junior kart champion
- 1987 German runner-up Formula Ford 2000
- 1988 German Formula Opel Champion
- 1989 German runner-up in Formula 3
Statistics in the Formula 1 World Championship
Grand Prix victories
|1994||Broker Sauber Mercedes||Clean C13||Mercedes-Benz 3.5 V10||15th||-||-||-||-||-||7th||13.|
|1995||Red Bull Sauber Ford||Clean C14||Ford Zetec-R 3.0 V8||17th||-||-||1||-||-||15th||9.|
|1996||Red Bull Sauber Ford||Clean C15||Ford Zetec-R 3.0 V10||16||-||-||-||-||-||7th||12.|
|1997||Rothmans Williams Renault||Williams FW19||Renault 3.0 V10||17th||1||2||4th||1||6th||42||2.|
|1998||Winfield Williams||Williams FW20||Mecachrome 3.0 V10||16||-||-||1||-||-||17th||7th|
|1999||Benson & Hedges Jordan||Jordan 199||Mugen-Honda 3.0 V10||16||2||1||3||1||-||54||3.|
|2000||Benson & Hedges Jordan||Jordan EJ10 / EJ10B||Mugen-Honda 3.0 V10||17th||-||-||2||-||-||11||9.|
|2001||B&H Jordan Honda||Jordan EJ11||Honda 3.0 V10||10||-||-||-||-||-||6th||13.|
|Cheers to Acer||Cheers AP04||Acer 3.0 V10||5||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2002||Orange Arrows Cosworth||Arrows A23||Cosworth 3.0 V10||11||-||-||-||-||-||2||18th|
|Clean Petronas||Clean C21||Petronas 3.0 V10||1||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2003||Clean Petronas||Clean C22||Petronas 3.0 V10||16||-||-||1||-||-||13||11.|
|green||-||Placement in the points|
|blue||-||Classified outside the point ranks|
|violet||DNF||Race not finished (did not finish)|
|red||DNQ||did not qualify|
|DNPQ||failed in pre-qualification (did not pre-qualify)|
|White||DNS||not at the start (did not start)|
|Light Blue||PO||only participated in the training (practiced only)|
|TD||Friday test driver|
|without||DNP||did not participate in the training (did not practice)|
|INJ||injured or sick|
|DNA||did not arrive|
|no participation in the World Cup|
|other||P / bold||Pole position|
|SR / italic||Fastest race lap|
|*||not at the finish,
but counted due to the distance covered
|underlined||Leader in the overall standings|
Le Mans results
|1992||Euro Racing||Lola T92 / 10||Charles Zwolsman senior||Shunji Kasuya||Rank 13|
|2008||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin DBR9||Karl Wendlinger||Andrea Piccini||Rank 16|
- Literature by and about Heinz-Harald Frentzen in the catalog of the German National Library
- official homepage
- Official fan club
- HHF RACING TEAM
- "Frentzen before being kicked out at Audi" (Motorsport-Total.com on October 30, 2006)
- Thinking holistically: Exclusive interview with former Formula 1 vice world champion Heinz-Harald Frentzen about electric mobility, hybrid technology and his future as a racing driver. Flotte.de, May 1, 2017, accessed January 26, 2019 .
- Frentzen declares his retirement from active racing. www.motorsport-total.com, accessed on August 24, 2010 .
- Comeback: Frentzen drives GT Masters! www.motorsport-total.com, accessed on March 16, 2011 .
- "Frentzen in Valencia third FIA commissioner" (Motorsport-Total.com on June 22, 2011)
- Podcast "Starting Grid with Guest Kai Ebel" (meinsportpodcast.de/motorsport/starting-grid from April 20, 2020, from approx. 23:00 minutes)
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German racing driver|
|DATE OF BIRTH||May 18, 1967|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Mönchengladbach|