Friday December 8th, 2000
Williams technical director Patrick Head has claimed 1999 Williams driver Alex Zanardi did not put in enough work to be successful when he was with the team.
1997 and 1998 CART champion Zanardi was dropped by Williams following the 1999 season, after completing only one year of a two year contract. This was due to a season in which Zanardi failed to score a single point, while his teammate Ralf Schumacher scored 35. After staying out of racing this year, he recently announced he would be returning to the CART series in 2001 earlier this week.
Head said he got on well with Zanardi, but felt that Zanardi was too laid back, lacking the focus and determination that he needed to succeed.
"When Jacques came into F1 I think he thought 'oh this is going to be tough'. To his credit he went away and worked his arse off to get himself fitter and tougher and harder and everything else," Head told Autosport.
"To be honest that is basically the thing that Alex didn't do.
"He thought 's***, this is a bit different from what I was expecting'. He still went into the motorhome and had the espresso and was full of jokes and laughs.
"A lovely character and I am sure that the talent was perfectly high enough, but what it required was total abstinence, total dedication, six hours a day in the gym, chop all the hair off, and I donít think in truth that he was quite prepared to do it."