For the first time ever, three current motorsport world champions have driven a Formula One car in a special two-day test session for the Winfield-backed world champions. Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve was joined by World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen and World 500cc Motorcycle Champion Michael Doohan, to drive the championship winning FW 19 Williams Formula One car in Winfield colors in the unique two-day test session at the 4,725km(2,963miles) Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain on April 22 & 23.
Michael Doohan of Australia has won the 500cc World Championship for the last four years and has already participated in the Japanese and Malaysian Grand Prix this year. The 32-years-old Australian has won 46 Grand Prixs before the Malaysian event on Sunday and last year was voted Australian Sportsman of the Year. Doohan drove the FW 19 Williams car for the first time on the morning of April 22 while Villeneuve drove the car in the afternoon. There was a press conference at 12:30hrs for the two World Champions in the media centre.
They were joined that afternoon (Wednesday) by Finnish driver Makinen for a photo-shoot at around 17:30hrs. Makinen, who has won the World Rally Championship for the last two years, rushed from the finish of the Rallye Catalunya which ended the afternoon of 22nd to be at the circuit. He drove the FW 19 Williams car on 23rd (Thursday) which was followed by a press conference in the media centre.


World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen walked away unhurt from a 175mph spin while testing the Winfield Williams Formula One car in Barcelona, Spain on 23rd morning.The Finnish driver was in his eighth lap round the Circuit de Catalunya when he mistook the gear change in the Williams car for the gear change in his newly debuted Mitsubishi rally car, 'Lancer Evolution V' and spun off the track causing extensive damage to the car. "I am so disappointed but at around 175mph I tried to change up a gear from fifth to sixth but thought I was in my rally car and tried to change down and all I could do was wait until I stopped spinning," said Makinen who the previous day had finished third in the Rallye Catalunya. "To drive the Formula One car was a dream come true for me and it was an experience I will never forget. I have never flown in a moon rocket but I'm sure that is a similar experience. There is no time to think driving a Formula One car. I'm just so sorry the test ended in this way.

The World Champions comments after driving a Formula One car :

Tommi Makinen
I loved driving the Winfield Williams. The acceleration and braking are unbelievable. They have double the power of our rally cars, and weigh half as much, Jacques' car is brilliant, like a moon rocket, but I am much more aware of my rally car. I can do that almost without thinking.

Michael Doohan
I respect the Formula One drivers, Driving the Winfield Williams even for a few laps told me, it is not as easy as they make it look. They know what they can or cannot do, what they can get away with.

Jacques Villeneuve
I identify with Mike and Tommi, they are in a different trade, but we share the same house. What makes a champion different to the rest is his ability to respond to presser. He must make all the right decisions at the right time.



Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.