Motor Racing: Hill approaches Williams for long-term security: Britain's front-runner makes a claim for commitment as compromise reached in technology dispute

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The Independent Online
FRANK WILLIAMS was away from the circuit, engrossed in a five-hour meeting that found a bloodless solution to the technology warfare, when Damon Hill tabled another motion for his consideration. 'Now I'd like Frank to get me signed up for next season,' Williams-Renault's No 2 driver said.

The teams reached an expected compromise, agreeing to 'radical changes' for next year in exchange for permission to see out the rest of this season with active suspension and traction control. Details of the 1994 regulations could be finalised within the next 48 hours.

Bernie Ecclestone, the president of the Forumla One Constructors' Association and a vice-president of Fisa, the ruling body, said the pact would be rubber- stamped, rendering any appeal or protest following the recent world council edict unnecessary. 'Everyone has made a compromise,' he said. 'Everyone has given up something. Frank Williams, chief among the objectors to the stripping of technological aids, said: 'Nothing has been rubber stamped for '94, but we can go on using everything for this year.'

Meanwhile, Hill's bold appeal was perhaps a measure of his emerging stature and self-confidence. His near-miss at Silverstone a fortnight ago left him 'infuriated' yet fortified in spirit and stimulated in ambition. More than half-way through his first full season in Formula One, Hill approaches Sunday's German Grand Prix here full of positive intent.

He said he and Williams had been involved in 'loose negotiations' for next year but clearly he senses the moment has arrived to press his claims. 'It is still early days but I have to think about my career,' he argued. 'It would be a shame if, having given me the opportunity to grow, he didn't sign me up.'

Hill talks a good case. More importantly, he drives a good race. If he delivered his maiden win here, his prospects would be all the brighter. This is a power circuit and, although the home idol, Michael Schumacher, might run a strong third in the Benetton-Ford, the contest proper ought to boil down to another in- house duel between Hill and Alain Prost, the world championship leader.

Hill's objective is to finish second in the standings, which means he must overtake Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, of McLaren-Ford, in the remaining seven races. To achieve that he requires the freedom to race - as he apparently had at Silverstone - and again he felt sufficiently self-assured to publicly request similar licence here. 'I want to be able to run and compete on equal terms,' he said.

Previous visits here have proved unproductive for Hill and he could be excused for adding his voice to those who dismiss the circuit as uninspiring. He, however, begs to differ: 'There is a certain crazy thrill about travelling at more than 200mph down a narrow road with trees on either side. You do feel you are riding a bullet.'