F1 Winter Break
Schumacher says the hardest word
Schumacher says the hardest word
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Aug 2010   |  5:25 pm GMT  |  277 comments

Michael Schumacher has apologised to Rubens Barrichello for trying to put him in the wall in the closing stages of yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Writing in German only on his website (the English version of the site does not yet have the post at the time of writing) he says,

“Yesterday right after the race I was still in the heat of the action, but after I watched the scene again with Rubens, I must say that the Stewards are right with their assessment: the manoeuver against him was too harsh. I wanted to make myself of course difficult to overtake. I wanted to make it hard for him to pass me. I clearly showed him that I didn’t want to let him pass. I wasn’t trying to endanger him with my move. If he had this feeling, then sorry, that was not my intention. ”

The reaction against the move has been quite strong and it has kept the media busy this last 24 hours. There have been calls for him to be banned for a race or more and for him to retire, from some quarters. His former team mate Eddie Irvine was very critical of his behaviour and called for him to be more severely punished than the 10 place grid drop he received at the next race.

Although many of Schumacher’s fans have stuck by him and supported his move, with plenty of supportive words among the 400+ comments on this site, 73% of a sample of 8,500 readers on the JA on F1 site said they felt the move was “outrageous”, while 22% said it was “hard but fair.”

The appearance of a photo on the internet showing just how close Barrichello was to the wall, has added to the debate. It is much more graphic than the TV images from yesterday.

Schumacher has rarely said sorry in the past. It is not in his character to accept pressure from other people, particularly the media, to apologise. He was forced by Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo to make a public apology after Jerez 1997, when he drove Jacques Villeneuve off the road and he famously said sorry to the tifosi when he crashed early in the Monaco Grand Prix in 1996, but he has always refused to apologise for parking his car at Rascasse during qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix.

It is amazing to think that Schumacher and Barrichello, with a combined age of 79 and a combined total of 556 Grands Prix, who once dominated F1 in Ferraris, were fighting over a single point for 10th place!

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I already thought he had, from aerial footage, yesterday, showing tyre marks on the pit wall, but from this picture it indeed looks like Barrichello actually touched the wall.


The thing that really annoys me about the maneuver on Barrichello is the fact Schumacher isn't the only driver that has been guilty of this over the past few GP's. It sadden's me that an incident such as this, needed to come so close before actually been looked at by the Stewards. People need to look at the method of Vettel's starts and question his race ethic.


Couldn't agree more.

However in all these moves they have failed to do anything other than lose positions and earn disapproval. Makes you wonder why they still do it.


Wan't it called the Schumi chop back in the day...


I totally second that. MSC started it and others are following. Vettel is the latest.


The main difference was the wall and the way Schumacher did it. With Vettel, Webber never complained during or after the race. That should tell you all you need to know. Webber has done alot of questionable blocks in the past, but the drivers involved never complained.

Rubens said 20 seconds after it happened that he should be black flagged. That tells it is.

Other things in the past were similar but this was alot worse. One of the worst blocks I have ever seen to be honest, outside of online sim racing, where the danger is 0.


He didn't touch the wall.

And yes, it was hard, no, it wasn't really fair, but this shows just how much determination it takes to win 7 World Championships. You rarely win that many by being nice. Absolute hard-nosed ruthlessness it may have been, but without it, he certainly wouldn't have won all the titles he has.


@ Noelinho

I'm inclide to say that Rubens did at least brush the pit wall. This http://joesaward.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/d10hun1484.jpg" rel="nofollow">larger version of the Daily Mail photo shows that it was at least very, very, VERY close.



It was close but I don't think that picture actually shows you any detail. You cannot tell from that picture how close the wall is to him. Where in the picture is the portion of wall that is parallel to RB?

I thought the video from behind shows how close his rear wheel came to the end of the wall. I'll bet it was a few inches.


I've got the photo high red from the photographer himself. Will post later - it's amazing


I dont think MSC is in a WC fight...


Button and DC would have similar fights (and even collided) when scrapping for 17th place, when both their cars were bad. Bahrain 07 or 08 is one example.

I don't think anyone was saying that DC's over zealous driving was a positive though.

It seems once you win 7 WDC's you can spin anything to sound like a positive.

To me Brundle said it best post race.. Schumacher would have won one less WDC, 3 less races, but would be revered all over the world.

Instead he is the flawed hero. Where only the most diehard of fans believe otherwise.

I don't hate him, he is what he is. What I do hate is seeing blind faith for anything. Nothing is perfect. Blind faith starts wars that get people killed. Especially when it involves religion.

Self critical thinking is a greater level of respect for someone then blind admiration. Blind admiration one of the unfortunate sadder aspects to the human psyche. When you are 4 years old it's understandable, when you are 40 it is not.


No, but that doesn't make any difference to him. He'll fight like that over 17th if it comes to it.


it was a weak,late.I am no longer amazed at his fans/apologists.If he didnt do anything wrong ,why is he almost apologizing?


I'm not saying it was right, I'm saying that trait of utter ruthlessness is sometimes the mark between a good driver and a highly successful multiple champion.


"Hard-nosed ruthlessness" is certainly what won him the world championships but it's that some people actually admire those qualities that worries me.

F1 is sport, not war. I don't want to see someone killed. Behaviour like that practised at times by MSC -- and emulated by a few others -- should be stamped on with hard-nosed ruthlessness by the stewards.


You don't want to see someone killed? Why do people keep saying that? Do you assume Schumacher would be unscathed had they touched? Not entangled in mass destruction involving wall and flying into T1? I highly doubt Michael would put his own life or anyone elses in danger, so to assume a close killing is just over the top, really.


I think you mean win at ANY cost, and the cost has luckily been more often his credibility. People admire skill and talent more than calculating, hard-nosed and ruthless.

Ultimately if Shumi didn't consistently try to cheat with moves like the hairpin park or crash people into walls and himself then he may has lost one championship. Add the early season team orders (that really he didn't need) and you have the character of what most people see as a floored, lesser champion.

However all those moves (with the exception of Damon Hill) gained him very little other than a reputation. Without them he would have been the 6 times champion with an impeccable record AND still be known as an uncompromising, hard but fair racer.

Noelinho, if you love the win at all cost as you say then you hopefully Shummi can manage to crash out some competitors in the remainder of the season. Won't win him a championship but it will confirm to many more people that he is very far from the greatest.

I am not saying that ruthlessness isn't a required ingredient of every champion. However in all aspects of life and competition there are lines. Crossing them may get you a win but cross them regularly and all you get is a debilitating reputation that takes from all your achievements.

Winning isn't always beating a competitor and if you can't work that out then you are welcome to your champions. I will support the greatest.


Different people draw that line in different places, and it's not like Barrichello lifted. I guess I'm closer to the "win at all costs" camp than most.


Better this than nothing...

It is very difficult to find a more appropiate answer to Schumacher's move that Rubens' words to Spanish TV just after the race: If he is back just to do this kind of things, he'd better stayed at home!!


Firstly he did not apologize for trying to

put Rubens on the wall, he apologized mainly

for the perception that some

people have, that there was some malicous intent

in his agressiveness yesterday.The statement

was clarifying and not apologetic in spirit.If you

like it was a begrudging apology than a wholehearted

one.Barrichello should have attacked on the

outside.I never heard Rubens apologizing

for throwing his streering wheel onto the racing


But I'm not suprized at the media storm, it

takes very little to galvanize the British

media against him.

Schumachers TRUE fans like me will always adore him


It is easy to blame the British media for everything we dislike. Actually, many times they are a little pro-home drivers biased, aren't they?

But this time, I think it is not the point how the British media are treating this situation. I have read very similar comments in Spanish and Italian media. And now, if we could have any doubt, this is what I read in German press (http://www.bild.de/BILD/news/bild-english/sport-news/more-sport/2010/08/02/micheal-schumacher-shame/schumi-nearly-forces-barrichello-into-horror-crash-in-formula-1-hungary-grand-prix.html)

"Schumi, you should be ashamed of yourself for this life-threatening maneuver!"

Need any other evidence?


Schumacher's move was sick.


....astonishing how revisionists can spin something into that which suits them.




Ok, that's your opinion. By the way, I have read the same "media storm" in the Spanish media...

I'm not a Schumacher fan, but an F1 fan, so I will NEVER adore him.

Finally, I am very pleased with all this noise, as it keeps my admired Fernando Alonso and Ferrari out of the focus...


I agree with schupologist. He states: "I wasn’t trying to endanger him with my move. If he had this feeling, then sorry, that was not my intention.” He is only apologizing for Ruben's feelings, not for the actions he committed.

I would ban him for one race just for that stupid statement.

Eamonn Mc Cauley

I cant wait until November 2011.


I thought he had signed a 3 year deal....????

Eamonn Mc Cauley

He will win the championship then.

Eamonn Mc Cauley

And Alonso will win it this year, Schumacher next year. Remember these words at the end of the two seasons, please.


Will you put your money on that?? I can not believe you are serious..


Lol remember if he gets a car worthy of the championship he still has to beat his team mate :o)


I'm amazed you're so sure that he'll have the car to win, let alone, beat his teammate!!!

Zobra Wambleska

Why, are you expecting Rubino to end up WDC?


SChumi moved once to defend his position, as is allowed. The pic above clearly show Schumi was ahead of Rubens when he started closing the. Rubens could of backed off.

Hard but fair!


He didn't move just once though. MSC moved to the right on the straight, then straightened out. RB saw a gap that was still large enough to dive into and Schumacher the started moving to the right again leading to the picture above.

Look at the picture, really. At that time they are alongside each other and MSC's car is still pointing slightly to the right. Schum should either have moved a bit more to the right at first rather than levelling, or not have moved that far once RB was next to him.

His 10-grid penalty for dangerous driving is wholly deserved.


So by your logic, if a driver makes one move that kills another driver, a few spectators, and, what the hell, let's throw in a few marshals, it's "hard but fair"?


I have been a long term Schumi fan and think its quite unbelievable what he has acheived in f1. Should be an inspiration to many. However this time he went way way too far. I think this really does damage his legacy. He knows he went to far this time.

In terms of the incidents he has had in the past I never thought they were that bad (perhaps apart from Monacco). Many other drivers would do the same(eg. Senna, Barrichello with the steering wheel at Monacco, Hamilton swerving back and fourth across the track, Alonso blocking the pit box) they just havnt been consistently in the spotlight like him for 14 years. But this was way too dangerous.

On another note I do get sick of hearing Eddie Jordan and co bitching away about stuff which is unrelated to this incident. They took much pleasure from this recent incident. Why is Coulthard bringing up the incident with him at Spa? Why do they think Senna was different? They are too biased in their analysis. They sound like such bitter losers. (Never heard Mikka Hakkinen or ex Ferrari bosses bringing up any tenuous incident they can think of).


I agree his judgements with the others including the media hate schumi but they never admit it, they are always talking behind Michael's back and to me that is not honesty but being 2 faced.


There are a lot of fans out there who are muting the Beeb when Eddie Jordan starts talking!!

Eamonn Mc Cauley

Well said.


Please note that I value Martin Brundle's commentary these last 14 years. He can really be valued as an expert, but on Schumacher I just wish he would employ the same fairness of thought.


"Schumi moved once to defend his position?" It seems to me that his "one move" began at approximately the back of the grid markings and continued in a gradual rightward drift as far as the end of the pit wall.

In that sense, yes, I agree that Schumacher was indeed ahead when he started closing the door. Sadly he didn't stop closing the door until the Williams was within a few centimetres of the wall.

I suspect that's not quite what most drivers have in mind when they think of the "one move" protocol!


Rubens is clearly alongside Michael, with the Merc just a touch in front. In addition, the number of moves is irrelevant if the manoeuvre is dangerous. Would you excuse Senna's move on Prost at Suzuka in 1990 because he just moved once to ram Prost off the circuit?

And how on earth could it be a fair move? Exactly how much room did Michael leave Rubens? Slightly further to the right and it could have been like this:


But that's all right. It's racing!

Oh, and it's "could have", not "could of".


Being a schumi fan for the past 12 years, I was very disappointed with his yesterday's move. But I am glad that he apologized now.


That's a very roundabout way of saying sorry!


Is it really though? Yes, when he actually says sorry it's in the context of being sorry for the way Rubens feels about it but don't forget he's already said that, having reviewed the move, he agrees it was too harsh. He's admitting fault which, as James points out, is a rare old thing for Michael.

I'm glad he's come out and said he was in the wrong. Had Rubens only been level with his rear wheel then he'd have been entitled to close the door the way he did, but that might've given Rubens a run on him into turn 2 and I'm sure Michael knew that. He wanted him to be more committed to the move before he scared him into backing right out, granting Michael a reprieve.

When Rubens didn't kept his foot in, Michael really should've left him a car's width on the track. This would've left Rubens with an unfavourable, dirty line into turn 1 where Michael may well have been able to outbrake him (difficult to say for sure as the Williams was clearly working better at the time). Instead he just kept on pushing, even past the point where their wheels were interlocked.

To push Rubens so close to the wall was dangerous, as they could feasibly have tangled and struck the wall high up where people are sitting. Forcing him across the pitlane exit was just as bad too; what if someone had come in for a late tyre change? The speed differential would've made for a horrendous accident.

There's only one possible criticism I'd put to Barrichello, which is that when he exited the final corner, Schumacher had positioned himself in the middle of the track. Did Rubens have time to force him to start a move one way and then pass on the other side? It's a split second decision, but the Williams had a good speed advantage and I have to wonder if it might've been the smart way to go about things.


My feelings exactly


"It is amazing to think that Schumacher and Barrichello, with a combined age of 79, who once dominated F1 in Ferraris, were fighting over a single point for 10th place!"

Really!!! This is Schumacher, to whom every point counts! That's what makes him a champion and what makes Rubinho the most experienced F1 driver.


But he hasn't actually apologised though, it was carefully worded to avoid doing that.

He is still implying he was right, he's only "sorry" if Barrichello thought he was trying to endanger him. He hasn't apologised for the move at all!


I think this kind of apology was fair considering the 'dramatic' outburst and over-reactive way that Rubens went about the situation with the press after the incident.

"He tried to kill me"

"He tried to send me to Heaven"

".. if he is ever going there himself (Heaven)"

This wasn't just about the blocking incident, this was something personal. Rubens used this incident as a base to pour out all the bitterness and hatred he had accumulated of the man throughout the years, and inflict maximum damage upon whatever was left of Schumacher.

Hey, Schumacher's no saint but he ain't a murderer! In the end I think Schumi is lucky because all the major media would print in big headlines 'Schumacher apologizes ..", even though it might not be too precise, but the big headline would lead everybody to think that he did.


My thoughts exactly

He seems to be apologizing for the way Rubins felt.

He should take responsibility for his actions and apologize for them, not apologize the way he made Rubin's feel.

Seems an insincere apology to me.


Agree with you. I wondered if his 'apology' too was a forced PR retreat after the fan backlash.


Schumacher DID NOT say sorry for what he did. He apologised if Barchicello felt that he had been in danger: "If he had this feeling, then sorry, that was not my intention". There is a big difference!


He ISN'T saying sorry.

In essence he's admittiding culpability for the transgression that lead to the punishment - probably in order to head off further punishment.

Additionally he's saying 'if Rubens FELT that way' then 'I'm sorry HE feels like that'.

Turning round to someone you've wronged and

saying "I'm sorry you feel like that" is not an apology. Nor is admitting an error an apology for the action.

There's a very important difference here, James.


what you have to realise is that for a guy like MS to say sorry even in the way you just described is very hard and I think that's why there is so much attention on it.

Schumacher is never remorseful and never wants to appear like someone who doubts whether he acted fair or unfairly.I have watched him over the years even after the Jerez incident he was reluctatant to say sorry at first.


He said sorry, so that is the end of it. I for one would like to see him race next year. He adds to the grid and that's all I ask. I'm also interstested in whether he will bed in to f1 racing again and regain his extra second that be had over the rest of the field.

Anyone whom said that Senna was the same style of driver as MS and no one criticises him, have to remember that racing then was a lot more cut and thrust. Thus it was more acceptable. Right or wrong that was the way it was.

Off topic I would Like to see the Hungary race binned. If it wasn't for the safety car the race would have been a total yawn. They may as well have been trains following each other for the amount of overtaking there was at the front. Bar Rubens move which was awesome. Well done to him.


"He adds to the grid..."

I hadn't noticed anything positive added to the grid that most other drivers couldn't manage!

With rookies beating him to Q3 in lesser cars and failing to gain a point even though Rosberg, Hamilton and Kubica have all retired the only way he can add to F1 is by giving his car to another driver.


In Senna's day, going into the wall meant a fiery death, as did a majority of the high speed crashes.

That's why most other drivers jumped out of his way, more often than not.

No comment from Ross Brawn anywhere? Too embarassed?

Eamonn Mc Cauley

Seeing how the stewards were influenced by the internet/press at the German GP RB discracefully asked the people watching the after race show to Twitter in and complain about the move. He should be made to say sorry. Where will all your daggers be come November 2011? Someone tell me I'm wrong.


He did not ask them to twitter and complain, he asked for their opinion. He said let me know what you think.

Eamonn Mc Cauley

This is to you all. RB has a history of placing his car in stuipd places. If this happened between two different drivers, say two at the front nobody would have cared as much but because the two have history and with Austria 2002 fresh in our minds everyone is feeling sorry for RB "subconsciously". Also, this is the only time that people can attack MS because he is down at the moment. When he is winning next year in the car that Mercedes money built you won't be able to. So enjoy it now. I was there when MS broke the most race wins records just at the start of his dominant years.(2001 2002 2004)All the other years he had to fight. If he was in todays Red Bull this years championship would already be over. There is a prize to the person who can tell me(without going on the internet and looking it up)what race track the record was broke. F1 over the last ten years or so has become,how can I say this,very knee jerky. Its almost become like a realitly TV show, where the public decide what happens. Sorry James for debacing your site. Your articles are the best in the world, from what I can see. The only thing that taints your reputation is Hungary 2008. Before the race you said "There is an air of invincibility about Lewis. Like the way there was with Schumacher" Then Massa out breaks Lewis into the first corner and goes around the outside of him. "Invincible". Your silence for the next 10 seconds was priceless Your tongue didn't get much sun burn those first two seasons of Lewis'. Please can someone tell me I'm wrong!


Do you have proof that the stewards were improperly influenced? A level of proof that would stand up in court, say, if they decided to sue you for defamation of character?

And what on earth has Rubens to be sorry about? Asking his fans to show their support for his position? How awful. Lock him up and take away his superlicence.

So yeah, you're wrong. Sorry to break it to you.

Eamonn Mc Cauley

You can't prove someone was influenced subconsciously. You seem a very literal person so I'll say sorry for introducing you to abstract thought.


I read JAonF1 every day.

I have done from the start.

I also used to comment on many articles and greatly enjoyed the intelligent debate and informed opinion the site generated.

Quite simply, there is none better.

And then 'contributions' like this petty exchange started to appear, from people who seem to hold anger and animosity against a fellow contributor they've never met simply because they hold a different view about a driver they've also most likely never met.

It was inevitable I suppose as the popularity grew.

James, it's still the pinnacle of motorsport journalism as far as I'm concerned. I'll keep reading your articles, but as for the comments, I'm finding it harder and harder to find the golden nuggets within amongst these purile entries and it's becoming more effort than value I'm afraid.


Sorry you feel that way. We try to keep a tight rein on it and will redouble our efforts to keep the standard high.


your wrong !


Ummmm, that is not at all what he said. He said, and I quote directly:

"I'll let the stewards say what they have to say. His view is always that I am a big crier, and so on, I would like the public to vote and have a look on what they think. I think its a fair point what I said and if he thinks he is right I want the public to tell me, tell me on twitter."

So he is actually simply asking the public to tell HIM if he is in the right or wrong.

So please, if you are going to criticise someone, get your facts straight. Or if not straight, at least in the same ballpark as the truth.


To be fair I think the comment was in the same ball park.


Exactly. I felt sorry for the poor guy when he was saying this. It almost looked like he was on the verge of tears.


Hopefully in spread evenly between Schumacher's and Alonso's backs! 😉


Ha. Nicely said.


"Someone tell me I’m wrong."

You're wrong.


Well said Michael, not that he had much to apologise for anyway, as he said he wasn't trying to endanger him with his move, lets hope this draws a line under it, and stops all the hyperbole.


He's hardly going to claim that he was trying to stick Rubens in the wall, was he?

You're just going to take Michael's word for it? If I drive at 180mph down the motorway and cause a huge accident, and tell the police I wasn't trying to cause an accident, does that mean I get off scott free? Must go out later and try that out!


But he (Schumacher) didn't cause a "huge accident", how can he get punished for something that didn't happen?

And yes I'am going to take Michael's word for it.


Yes that is true Michael is innocent and Rubens is a whinging cry baby.


This does not constitute an apology from Schumacher.

He has not apologised TO Rubens for his actions (which is what an apology is) - he has apologised IF Rubens THOUGHT "he had this feeling" (that he deliberately tried to endanger Rubens).

Once again, Schumacher doesn't accept any responsiblity for his actions. The mark of a true egotist.


and a true world champion.


"and a true world champion."

I can't remember Jacques Villeneuve, Mika Hakkinen or Damon Hill deliberately putting their competitors in life-threatening situations in what is already a very dangerous sport. They were 'true world champions'.

True greatness doesn't need to buckle the wishbone of your closest rival in order to secure a championship victory.

And that is the whole point of not only Schumacher's comeback, but its reflection on his legacy. His status of 'true world champion' has I believe been damaged beyond repair with this desperate and potentially life-threatening move on Rubens, because it consolidates all the lamentable moves of the past.

He has got away with this disgusting on-track behaviour one too many times, and the public outcry really testifies to this.


Well said. Give me the likes of sportsmen like Moss any day.


You consider them 'true world champions'? Most people would look at Schumacher, Senna and Prost as 'true world champions'. But okay.


A good point, basically he said: "I'm sorry you feel that way Rubens".

That said, I don't think there have been many non-egotistical F1 World Champions in the last couple of decades...

Alan Goodfellow

Do you think Schuey would have apologised like this in his first career James?

It was ruthless but I don't think it was quite as ruthless as his altercations with Hill in '94 and Villeneuve in '97.


I think what he did to Hill and Villeneuve was more dramatic because there was actual contact, but in both cases the speed and nature of the contact was nowhere near as potentially dangerous as this time.


Good point Alan. But then again he was winning left right and centre in his first career.

Sounds like something they train guys in call centers. Dont say you are sorry for the incident. Just say if you feel that way, I am sorry that you do feel that way.

I think thats the best he'll give to be honest. I doubt Rubens will be waiting for a phone call ;0)


To be honest I thought it was far more ruthless. At least on the previous two occasions he didn't really endanger their lives unlike tis time!


Great question. I don't think so, no


James don't you think this incident goes way beyond anything he did in his first career?

He may have been ruthless and took risks before but in this case he probably knows he went to far and its why he has apologised.


this like everithing else in f1 it's been blown out of proportion. He was a little too hard trying to protect a point, and showing brawn that he still has the will to fight,at a moment when i imagine there are people in the mercedes camp that are having second thoughts about his commitment. That at least was made clear with the move. He deserves a second chance in 2011. If can't match barbie then with the new pirelli tyres, he will be done with f1 for good.


if he was winning like in the old days, he'd be less inclined to be politically correct, the way he is trying to be now.

Is he going to do it again if the situation arises? I would love to see that.


Schumel says sorry in the most cowardly way - some weasel, conditional words on his website ("If he feels this way, then sorry").

At least have the balls to make a proper apology!


I expect he will at the next race or by some other personal communication.


As others have noted, this is far from a real apology. It's a bit like me trying to pick your pocket, and then saying "If you thought you felt my hand on your wallet, then I'm sorry, but that wasn't my intention."

I'm ashamed of myself for having supported Schumacher from the very first race of his F1 career, right up until Monaco 2006 (other than a brief lapse until the "apology" after Jerez 1997.) He fooled me once with that insincere PR effort, but he won't do it again.

A true sportsman doesn't repeatedly cheat, doesn't lie about his actions after the fact, and nor does he endanger the lives of his fellow drivers in an attempt to hold onto a single point.

Schumacher isn't -- and hasn't for a very long time been anything remotely resembling -- a sportsman. I wasn't looking forward to his comeback for fear of precisely this kind of "racing" (although that said, I'm enjoying seeing him fail to perform on a regular basis).

The sooner he goes back into permanent retirement, the better.


"I wasn’t trying to endanger him with my move."

It speaks volumes that he felt it necessary to say this since really it should go without saying. They were, after all, just racing!


Good point, actually.


It was clearly out of order and I am glad Schumacher had acknowledged this. You don't often see drivers apologise so hopefully Barrichello can accept the apologise.

It does seem a lot of sour grapes have come out though from ex-team mates. I think some of them could well have done with thinking before they speak. Particularly Eddie Irvine. I seem to remember him causing a ridiculous accident at Brazil 1994 which resulted in a three race ban.


I can think of only one group of people powerful enough to convince Michael to apologise to Rubens for this very dangerous move... his own kids and his wife Corinna. I guess Michael's kids are now old enough to watch their dad race and like the rest of us they got scared by what they saw and told their dad this time he was badly wrong and could have killed Rubhino and himself. It is only my guess but I feel he got a mighty bollocking from his family and only that forced him to make amend.


Now that is something I just hadn't thought of. You might just be right.


Good. I should think so too.

An how scary is that photo? I need a high resolution copy of that for my wallpaper...

James, Vancouver

A graphic photo, but also an optical illusion. While Schumacher left a restrictive amount of room (especially at approx. 300Kph) there was more space than suggested by the photograph. I still remember Mansell overtaking Senna down the same straight. At the end of the manoeuvrer there really were only cigarette papers between them (but no wall!). I'm not a Schumacher fan and nor do I condone what he did, but lets stick to the facts rather than be swayed by a single incendiary photograph.


James, I for one am glad to see the fire burns as bright inside the German master.

I think it was a very legitimate -- albeit tough -- block, very similar to Senna on Prost in Estoril 88, and I think Schumacher knows he did nothing wrong.

This is less of an admission of guilt than a fact that he feels sorry (regrets) that Barrichello would consider that he wanted to physically harm him.

And good for him. These are the moments that show the spirit is strong even if the wheels are weak. Schumacher and Brawn are not fighting the FIA and just biding their time till the 2011 championship. For now, as I've said elsewhere, Michael isn't scrapping for points, he's scrapping for scraps.

Viva Michel!


I think you are correct , the problem is we have a 7 time champion in a car that was supposed to be unbeatable. It has turned out to be a pos.... Maybe MS has lost a bit of speed but he did not come back to be passed by his one time no. 2 driver. He came back to win. I am not a fan of his but if he was in a red bull I think he would probably be in 2nd or 3rd place in the championship now..


Schuey was livid when Damon Hill (driving a Jordan) weaved, while being overtaken by him in Canada, some years ago... he even said that despite his reputation for controversial moves, he would never do what Damon did, at such dangerous speeds...

So yes, I'd say he's right to apologize.


That was the race where Schey drove out of the pitlane and directly onto the braking line for the corner, pushing Frenntzen off the circuit and out of the race. it could have been a very serious incident. He was penalised for it.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up34H43ZTCk

The criticism of Hill, who only followed what was the norm in those days, was a tactical move to take a bit of the heat off his back.

Such was the authority of Schuey in those days many news outlets followed what came off the news feeds. They highlighted the criticism of Hill, despite him not being penalised having done nothing wrong, and only mentioned Schuey's penalty in passing.

I seem to remember that Schumacher's defence at that time was that he'd done nothing wrong and that he was sorry if it inconvenienced HH.

There was a certain antagonism between Hill and Schuey at that time, it was only four years after Adelaide, and the press picked up on that, suggesting Hill had done it deliberately. However, Schuey came in for a lot of stick from other drivers for his move and the specialist press gave him a bit of a kicking.

It was a very nasty incident. I was a bit of a fan of HH and reckoned him as a driver, so it quite upset me. But, I assume, not as much as it upset him.


No, actually, that's not the incident I was referring to. It was with Hill, in a Jordan, and it happened in the short straight before the last chicane - a few years after the 1997 incident you mention (Hill was driving that Godawful Arrows then, I believe).


Spyros, I believe Harvey is right about the race, as are you. It all happened at the Canadian Grand Prix 1998. Schumacher served a 10-second Stop-Go penalty, and came out behind Hill. Damon weaved in front, and did so again when Michael was alongside.

After the race, he was filmed telling a driver about it, and using his hands to explain ("he went this way, so I did this, then he went here, so I went here..."). He was also interviewed, and said "If somebody wants to kill you, they can do it in a different way".

I think, after 12 years, Michael has finally found that different way.

For those who say Rubens should have backed out, their wheels were interlocked, and Schuy was still coming over onto him. Had he braked, the Williams would have flown over the wheels of the Mercedes causing a different kind of big accident. The only thing that prevented a huge crash, was the wall coming to an end where it did.


Unless the translation misses the mark, Schumacher did not actually apologize.

I have never gotten into "this" debate and I will try to never do it again, but I have to get this out of my system. Schumacher fans, look at that picture again. Imagine yourself in the Williams cockpit going flat out. Your life could, very well might, end in a few heart beats. If you still want to defend your favorite Schumacher, you and I have no common ground in this matter.

Schumacher has no concept of sportsmanlike conduct. The grid penalty is nothing. If I were King of F1, none of this current ugliness would be going on because he would lost his Super License long ago, never to get it back. I do not care in the least how talented any driver may be - if they purposefully (and repeatedly!) try to do harm to another driver, they should become a line in the history books. How does it go, "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me"? Well shame on the FIA for allowing this rubbish to become synonymous with champion like behavior.

Go ahead, trash me on this (as if any fan boy needs permission). But please, unless you have someone new to say ... I am not listening. Heard it ad nauseum. And do not even try the, "but others did thus", logic fallacy. The topic is Schumacher in 2010, here and now. And the evidence is IMO, very damning indeed.

Michael Grievson

Nice to see him apologise. On a side note. I'm genuinely interested if anyone is actually interested in what Eddie Irving has to say?

I can't remember him actually saying anything nice about anyone.


I for one don't care what Eddie Irving has to say.


Who is Eddie Irving?


I'm glad that he didnt apologize(this is not really an apology). The media has a massive role in deciding opinions, and I can easily list atleast 3 instances similar to this that went absolutely unpunished. Kimi on Schumacher Brazil 2006, Webber on Massa Fuji 2008, Senna on Prost Estoril 88, Vettel on Alonso Germany 2010 and more ! All of these had no response from the media or the FIA at all.

I'm sorry to say but Brundle is really pathetic when it comes to Schumacher. He cant stop criticising him for every little thing on track, and he makes it clear that he's still suffering from being shown up as a mediocre driver as Schumacher's teammate. The same guy that worships Senna at every given instance goes insane when he sees Schumacher do stuff Senna did every race day ! I'm sorry BBC, please grow some perspective and kick out the loonies !


I couldn't agree with you more mate.

I mean what's so big deal. Others have done similar things, no one cared. Now he, at least, say sorry. Let's move on.

I have respected JA as the most objective journalist but I feel that this time he is taking the opportunity to generate more traffic by portraying it in a very wrong way.

MS indicated that he will take the inside line. RB CHOOSE to dive in as MS closed the door. Then he backed off immediately. It may be a bad move but not as bad as the way it was portrayed.


You're nuts, this has nothing to do with JA, some of the comments on this page are getting out of hand. What happened to the more objective comments that used to be posted? The axe grinders are getting out of control, they should go back to the websites that encourage that kind of thing as leave this one alone. This is without a doubt THE BEST F1 website available. Please stop clogging it p with this kind of rubbish.


Couldn't agree more.


I've watched all those examples of the 'same' over the past few days and none came close. They were all ruthless hard blocking, but none put someone as close to being in the wall as Schumi-Barri last Sunday.


Barrichello has been gunning for Schumacher recently, particularly in the aftermath of Hockenheim whereby memories of Austria '02 are revived. Whilst the move was potentially dangerous, it seems to me that the knives are out for Schumacher regardless this season, as aggrieved drivers (former and present), team owners and pundits line up to twist the knife.

Barrichello once more is playing the downtrodden nice guy card and seems to be looking for some closure on his past. With his long career coming to an end he feels he should have bagged a WDC or two. In this respect, lies his downfall, a reasonably skilled driver yes, but he wears his heart on his sleeve and lacks the mental ability to cope with his own inflated expectations. Irvine, Schumacher and Button to name a few all made him crack.

However, Barrichello earned 45 MILLION GBP during his 5 year tenure at Ferrari. He honoured his contract, played the no.2 role and banked the money. He fitted well into the team thanks to his malleable nature. However, had Schumacher not been driving for Ferrari then I very much doubt that poor little Rubinho would have either. Instead of being bitter, he should thank Schumacher for taking him this far and stop whining.


Good on you, Michael, for apologising. It looks incredibly close from this angle. As you say, it's not the last corner of the last race for the world championship, is it? But once a racer, always a racer.

Has this apology been prompted by the fact that Schumacher has been more on the receiving end of hard nosed overtaking moves, and wants some media sympathy?

Or do I hear the soft voice of Ross Brawn in his ear: 'Michael, It's Ross, apologise'.


I've seen worse.

Certain Hamilton weaving all over the track. Punishment- none, media hype-zero.

We British are so biased.

James, can I make a suggestion, for this excellent website.

All post should include the team individuals support.


Hamilton did his weaving several car lengths in front of the other car. Whatever the rights and wrongs of his actions he has never deliberately put another driver in any danger.

In comparison MSC closed the gap slowly but at the last minute pushed BAR towards the wall as he came alongside. To compare the Hamilton weave with this Schumacher incident is ludicrous. If I want to see that sort of 'sport' I'd watch Stockcar racing.

Oh, and I don't support any team, BTW; I just want to watch good, close racing where drivers display their skill -- not their ruthlessness or vindictiveness. At this moment BAR was considerably faster than MSC; just what was Michael trying to achieve other than intimidation? That's not my idea of sport.


I really don't think you can compare the Hamilton weaving incident to this. Very different things.


When did Hamilton, or any other driver, come that close to putting another car into the Pit Wall? I'm a fan of Schuey and British. I expect him to be ruthless during races. I suspect that your comments would have been tempered if the two cars had made contact with the wall. This time Scuey crossed the line!


I'm not condoning Hamilton, but when did his weaving put another driver within inches of a pit wall? Get real.


Credit to Michael.

Move on.


barrichello is crying again. He did a good manouver and that's it. Be happy with it. Schumi couldn't hold the position and they say he has to apologize on top of it.?!! What is this? a kid's game? He gave room, they didn't crash. I hope he get's a chance next year at mercedes.


"I clearly showed him that I didn’t want to let him pass."

This is a bad translation (actually it was in autosport too).

He said : "i clearly showed him that i didn't want to let him pass me on the inside."

Just a clarification.

Good thing he admitted he was wrong. But the whole incident was overblown just because he is Schumacher. And these two guys (MSC and Bar) still have some old scores to settle. A perfect storm which ended in a bad situation.


Thanks for showing the picture - it's even more scary than the in-car shots on TV. I know a lot of MS fans can't see it, but there's a huge difference between putting someone off the track, and putting them in the wall. The question is, did MS just it to within a mm so that he knew Rubens would be able to go into the pitlane exit and did he KNOW there wasn't someone coming out the pitlane, or was he just incredibly lucky no one was sent airborn.

All through both careers he has taken it past what most people consider sporting - the only reason he still has the luxury to do it is that no one has been injured by any of his chops, swerves, parking on the racing line incidents or serving the penalty when the race is over nonsense.

I was starting to feel sorry for him this season, but once again he has shown that there is no room in a sport, for someone as unsporting as him.

I was glad when we were rid of him the first time, I'll be doubly so when he goes again.

stephanie isherwood

Way too much over-reaction on this. It's distracted from everything else that happened in the race. What about the collision in the pitlane - is that not worthy of investigation?

Glad that Michael said sorry but many will not be satisfied until they get his head on a plate.

As a Michael fan though I'm glad that he's still getting the headlines after Villeneuve said he would be forgotten. ha!


Has anyone ever heard of Parallax error?

This photo looks like he is way closer to the wall or touching it because the photographer is not standing in a straight line from the wall. Period.

It was a tough move on Schumi's part, but like he said, he is not the one to give presents on track.

And for the record, I'm glad that Rubens did not lift off and won the position.


im not saying michael was in the right yesterday but i find it strange that the same people complained last week about ferrari not letting their drivers race are now complaining when they see hardcore racing. i just think some people just are not happy unless there complaining about something period


it is always the media. They need to focus on things like this to keep the fans attention, at to sell their papers. I am not interested. They are racing drivers, let them race. If barichello thought it was dangerous, retire, or slow down and give up on the poition.


Completely agree.


But wasn't Barichello actually at fault as well, passing the white line and thereby partially leaving the racetrack in order to pass?

I do feel that Schumacher was too harsh, but Barichello was over the white line.

Also, these are split-second decisions, most analyses in the various forums are way too elaborate.


Where else could Rubens have gone? Michael left him no room. Should he have tried to drive up the wall like the car in Men In Black?


He could have backed off.


Check the video on the BBC website. He didn't need to go down that side.

However I agree that it was too hard by MSC, but Rubens didn't have to put himself in that situation. No one put a gun to his head.


He couldn't have backed off - his left front was interlocked between Schumi's right hand tyres. RB stamping on the brakes would not have helped the situation...


I always love the way British people insist on apologies as though it fixes everything. So ridiculous!


Can't understand anything... what the hell do Brit people, or Roman Catholics, or Buddists, have to do with this.

By the way, I think that in Roman Catholic Church the damage has to be repaired to achive a complete relief of your sins...


I think James was saying in catholic religion you can do anything but so long as you repent afterwoods you will be absolved from punishment.. haha good one James 🙂


What do British people have to do with this?


I think Schumacher just looked at the latest footage and realised how bad it looked. He realy had no option but to make that statement. Never liked him and wish he would just retire, he has been doing this all season


He has? Strange how there hasn't been any media outcry, isn't it.


Michael choose his words very carefully indeed,

he is sorry for Rubens but no apology. However, I dont think he should be bashed for those careful words. At least it sounds like Michael, a sincere Schueys wiev, not some statement censored to death by Mercedes.

Rubens went for the hard way, that ever closing gap. But the guy that closed that gap wasnt that smart either. If he kills himself this year(fighting like an animal for already lost championship) then the whole Mercedes deal is blown. What a waste that would be...


Racing drivers put their lives on the line every time they go racing (yes, inspite of all the safety we have in the sport today). If a driver knowingly endangers another drivers life, he disrespects not only the other driver but also his own profession. Not cool, Michael. Not apologising the way he should, totally Michael!


He said he was sorry but the calls for his head continue. The basis for these calls range from "it wasn't really an apology" to "he didn't apologize properly" (my paraphrase). So, what exactly does MS gain from apologizing? Zero. Those who hate him will continue doing so. Those who support him continue to do so. What he did was absolutely worthy of a penalty and is worth criticism. But all the people that Schumi has beaten in the past (DC, Brundle etc) coming out with such vitriol is just old axes being ground. The sanctimony and maneuvering for moral high ground is a farce. Schumi made a hard move on Rubens. Rubens chose to force his way through. It was actually a seriously hardcore move from RB's perspective. Hat's off to him.


At their relative speeds BAR was committed and couldn't have backed off once his front wheels were level with MSC's car if he'd wanted to. At those speeds, up close, you make a decision and stick to it. Dithering is what kills people.

No reasonable person would have expected MSC to do what he did.


First off the position of BAR wheels to MS's wheels plays no role in whether or not he decided to back off. Absolutely zero relevance. Secondly, you admit that it was BAR's decision to stick to the move. Thirdly, "reasonable" is a relative term and lacks meaning in your example. In short, you have no point.


Really, SchumiIsGod?


We've seen far worse over the years Senna v Prost at Estoril in 88 springs to mind as Senna totally altered his line to block and squeeze Prost. I would love to see Schumacher's steering trace as I didn't see him alter his line from the initial move therefore heading on diagonal towards the wall so in that sense Ruben's put himself in a position where he was always heading for a closing gap and let's not forget Ruben's kept his foot in when he didn't have to so in that respect Hard yes, fair ??, within the rules yes. I personally think what Vettel and a few other's have done at the start of race's squeezing towards the wall is far more dangerous as they're still pulling upwards of 100mph except you've got 20 odd other car's following in close proximity, how much of an outcry have we heard about these ?? very little to my knowledge. What is your opinion on the Estoril 88 incident in relation to sunday and also the squeezing of the start's we have seen recently James.


Go back and have a look at the very start of the 88 Estoril race and you'll see Prost cut right across Senna, the sort of maneuver Schumacher would go on to make his default start. Senna squeezing Prost later in the race, rightly or wrongly was payback!


Squeezing at starts is similar to what Schuey did for a while in early 2000s, there's nothing new under the sun


Yeah I totally agree James, Schumacher started it and made it common practice for years,didn't agree with it then and I certainly don't now it needs to be stopped. I still however believe Barrichello went for a closing gap and the angle of the cars from on board Rubens backs my view up, the question is really should Schumacher have yealded earlier ? almost certainly or he should of at least covered his bases sooner that was his big mistake in my eyes.


Quote: "This is Schumacher, to whom every point counts! That’s what makes him a champion and what makes Rubinho the most experienced F1 driver."

Damn straight. What a bunch of whiners and arm chair racers there are pissing and moaning about this move. How many of you have ever actually raced an open wheel car at any level?


When someone says that apples are not tasty, would you ask him if he has ever actually tried to be an apple?

You obviously liked the move, many do not. My driving instructor would probably say that Michael lacks the sense of vehicle dimensions.

Well, he is not alone there( think Turkey and Vettel for example), chopping across seems to be a standard nowadays.

Drivers racing in sixties were created using the same technique like today´s hamiltons and vettels were done. Even the materials that they are made of are the same, blood, flesh and head and one heart. But I cant remember any case of fellow racers nagging like "he shouldnt close the door like that" or "he is effin mad!" Or maybe the history books of F1 are idealising the story of that era (sky was blue, grass used to be green...)?

James, can you name any on track incident(from fifties to early seventies, before cars got "safe")involving a world champion, or top drivers which led to serious disagreements off the circuit later on?


No. My Dad raced for Lotus in the sixties and he said that no-one would ever have driven like that because the chance of a double fatality was too high.


I bet your dad has some great old stories to tell.


"How many of you have ever actually raced an open wheel car at any level?"

I've road-raced motorcycles -- sorry but your macho

posturing about "open wheel cars" doesn't impress me

in the least. You've got roll bars, seat belts, a frame

protecting you from impacts, etc. We bike guys have a bit of leather. So save the macho stuff for some girl you're trying to impress at the bar, because we on this forum are not going to be so easily fooled by it.

What Schumacher did was stupid, and it was a calculated move which risked human life for TENTH place in a season in which Schumacher is not even in contention for third place in the WDC.

Apparently you are unable to discern that the potential reward was not justified by the risk. And that makes me glad I won't share a race track with you. come to think of it, I hope you don't even live within 1000 miles of me, because I wouldn't want to share a public

road with you either.


Believe me, nobody is impressed by 'We bike guys have a bit of leather', either.


If you were a real racer you wouldn't be on here pontificating on Monday morning with a bunch of internet nerds.


The photo is deceiving. Rubens was never closer than 2 feet from the wall, the cars get much closer to the barriers at Monaco. Sure, it's scary if you are getting pushed towards the wall at high speed, but it's not dangerous driving because these professionals know what they are doing. When did F1 become a sport for wimps? Punishing Schumacher is just plain silly. He is a real, proper racer, and is only saying sorry because of this stupid media pressure.


A picture is worth a thousand words

This photo from Mark Sutton is priceless.


Mark's web site -> http://www.sutton-images.com


That photo masks a slight visual illusion, so it does make the gap look a little less (see the perspective of the tyre against the pit wall top). Hence I think the gap is slightly more than really a tyre width, so nothing out of the ordinary for exiting the tunnel at Monaco...


Putting yourself close to the wall at Monaco is ordinary. Putting someone else off the track and nearly into a wall - while getting into their wheels so they cannot let off - is not ordinary.

The topic is THIS incident. THIS incident was deliberate and dangerous beyond the pale. If you cannot defend your point about THIS incident solely on the evidence available on THIS incident, then you (the Royal you, if I may - not to single out Josh because I honestly have not noticed where he may stand or fall in the question) cannot defend your point. Logic matters.


I too would like to see Schumi continue racing : I have to confess to a near saddistic enjoyment in watching all the youngsters push their way past him on the track. To see Rubens make it stick past Michael yesterday was even sweeter. It's almost as if Michel is living in the next life and paying for the previous.

"What goes arround comes arround".


"t’s almost as if Michel is living in the next life and paying for the previous.

“What goes arround comes arround”."

Well put.

There's little as satisfying in this life as witnessing someone who richly deserves a comeuppance get that

comeuppance. I've seen a few old enemies suffer greatly, and I am not going to lie, I enjoyed it

immensely. The Germans even have a word for it :



In so many words he has apologised and possibly looking at footage and photographs,realises how close he came to not only injuring himself but seriously injuring another driver by such a move,i think it frightened him enough not ot try it again,i find it hard to watch a 7 times world champion fighting for one point,but he wishes to be in F1 now for all the right reasons i,m sure,this action though only shows how frustrated he is becoming,yet he has ackowledged his mistake and we shouldn,t ignore that.


With Ross Brawn and Norbert Haugh both defending Michael's move (even after seeing the footage) in the post race interviews, it seems unlikley the Mercedes Benz team brought pressure to bear on him.

Given Michael's history it seems unlikely to have been spontaneous remorse (although we can not know that. Maybe he has mellowed).

Mercedes Benz have been very sensitive about safety ever since that terrible accident at Le Mans 1955 which involved one of their cars and in which dozens of spectators lost their lives, following which they immediately quit motor racing for many years. Even now 55 years on I believe that Mercedes-Benz are still sensitive to the tragedy that day.

May the unseen hand of Mercedes Benz, car manufacturer, have played a part in the 'apology'

I agree with others that the translation available to us in English has the appearance of a belated, damage limitation driven, apology delivered in a way that, even now, suggests, that Michael still 'doesn't get it'.

German (I believe - I speak none) is a notoriously difficult language. Are we sure that we have the right sense in what has been said in the translation?

Whatever the true position all Michael can do now is to apologise, and he has.

The last few weeks have shown us the immense power of Formula 1 on brand image, whether it be wanting a smiley young face in place of 'aussie grit' on the side of a can, or a driver's world championship at the cost of devastating disappointment to a loyal team member for whom the team has genuine affection, or the issuing of a public apology which I am sure bookmakers would have given long odds against. I wonder who is the happier this evening, Bernie or Rubens?


Norbert Haug was defending Schumacher's driving, albeit with an uncomfortable look on his face. Ross Brawn was also pretty supportive in the press.

I am not sure that Mercedes had a lot to do with the apology


I was drawing a distinction between the Racing Team and the Car Company but you are quite right Monktonnic. I had forgotten that Norbert Haug is a part of Mercedes Benz car company. Its a valid point.

Nonetheless I still suspect that a rather uncomfortable Mercedes Benz Board, having just breathed a sigh of relief when Nico's flying tyre did not cause serious harm, may have thought Michael's far more dangerous manouevre something their brand could do without being associated with - especially after the unnecessarily arrogant justification of his manoeuvre by Michael. The press were not going to let that rest.

Rubens' public "Call to tweets" may have worried them a bit too.

I just think MB wanted to take the very lenient penalty they were given and draw a line under it all the next day. apology is the obvious way to do it.

It's all speculation on my part of course. It may just be a genuinely remorseful Michael! Does watching too much Formula 1 makes one too cynical do you think?


You have a point there.

Overall it was a bad day for Mercedes in pr terms.


Well he did say the same in RTL live interview with Kai Ebel, if I recall correctly.

I'm not a native German speaker, but in the interview, he was a bit confused about the risks and was almost as smiling - the "still in the heat" part of the apology was probably because of the smiling, but nevertheless the interview and the apology are quite the same.


You are right, the hype of the last few weeks has been amazing, even by F1 standards. That gives me an idea for a piece. Thanks


James, did you note Martin Brundle's second question to Bernie on his (Martin's) grid walk?

"You must have been delighted Formula 1 was still on the breakfast news four or five days after race. Isn't that good for a sport in the end? ... "

Not that Bernie answered the question put to him - does he ever? 😉 Here in the US, I have to go looking abroad for all of my F1 news. I must say though, that from afar it does appear to be a hype-filled few weeks of late.


This sounds exciting!


Schumacher's driving was acts were despicable and he should have received a ban, as he should have in 1994 when he punted Damon Hill off the road, and in 1997 when he tried to take out Jacques Villeneuve. Of course, I am viewing this from my own historical perspective when such actions were impermissible because of the risks involved. The first GP I attended was the US in 1967, followed by the Nurburgring in 1968. Within the next few years, of the drivers in those two races, we had lost in racing accidents, Jim Clark, Jo Siffert, Jo Bonnier, Jochen Rindt, Bruce McLaren, Pedro Rodriguez, Piers Courage, Lucien Bianchi, Mike Spence. And then add in Ronnie Petersen, Francois Cevert, Helmut Koenig, Giles Villeneuve, Peter Revson, Roland Ratzenberger, and Senna. And I am also sure there were more that I missed.

Today's drivers need to think of that when they pull stunts like Schumacher's disgraceful move. Without trust among drivers in those days, they simply could not race at places like Monza where cars passed and repassed each other multiple times in a lap. Check out the results of the 71 Italian GP for an example of this.


that was a hollow apology


It could have been any driver making that move, yet because it was Michael, everybody has an opinion... nothing wrong with that.

James, do you think Michael has an attitude problem? We have witnessed many incidents like this over the years from a variety of different drivers.

It's moments like this that keep the sport alive...



Schumachers move was clearly out of order yesterday. But didnt Senna do the same to Prost at Estoril in 1988. Why are people's attitude towards both drivers so different?


because senna was a more carismatic indivudual, and he died on the track. Two good reasons. And on top of that, in the eighties the mentality was more like drive and shut up, now it's more like, how dangerous it's everything.!!!


Actually, those are two bad reasons.

Stuart the old geezer

Amongst all the media outcry, lets not miss the other point, - in a 'straight' fight the Williams passed the Mercedes. So the Cosworth engine cannot be that bad and furthermore a sign that the Williams team is resurgent with both cars finishing in the top ten. A bad day for Mercedes perhaps, but a welcome lift for Frank Williams and his team.

Thankfully Barrichello survived unscathed, - I'm looking forward to reading his autobiography.


I like what your selling. I'll buy a copy.


They should have banned Senna after Japan in 90 and removed him from the results, that would have sent out a clear message. Then it would have been easy to ban Schumi in 94, the precedent having set.

I don't think either man would have acted in the way they did if they were driving a Lotus 49.


It wasn't a srtaight fight. Rubens had a tyre advantage which he was trying to exploit before the tyres degraded.

Still it was good for Williams though.

Gordon Harrison

He didn't think twice about trying to ram his own brother into the concrete wall at the Canadian Grand Prix several years ago (one move straight across until Ralf thought death was on the way). He won driver championships due to team orders (drivers told to let him pass), rammed into Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve (up the back of David Coulthard - and blamed him!)and has runied the race of several drivers already this year. What a guy!!


MS won 91 GPS and 7 titles.

And could you please also clarify that how many of those were won by team orders, how many of those were won by the help of FIA, how many of those were won by driving people off the track?


Please clarify how was team orders involved in 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004 WDC? As for 2002, he did give away Rubbens a win in the United States Grand Prix in return of the Austria 2002. And he would have won the WDC in 2002 even without that team order. He won 11 races that year, so even if you count out Austria it is still 2 times more than anyone else that year.

FYI, He did give away his Malaysian 1999 win to Eddie Irvine, just because Irvine was a WDC contender and he wasn't.

So really, get your facts correct before saying something.


Well said. I think that applies to a lot of contributors on JAF1. If one wants to debate or put their point across, least they can do it be objective and factually correct.


Does anyone else has the feeling that the Mail Online picture is fake? I certainly do by carefuly comparing it with second 12 on this video: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8878400.stm

At the moment they are closest to the wall it doesn't seem like there's nearly as much wall left as in the Mail photo...


It's not the angle, it's the fact that http://twitpic.com/2aq2l4 is taken a little later. This is the moment when the Williams is closest to the wall. Schumacher, as he said, is discouraging Barrichello; he is not preventing him from overtaking. To describe the original picture as "... showing just how close Barrichello is to the wall" is a bit overwrought considering he soon moves closer still. It invites us to mistakenly accept the illusion of tire against wall.

If his interests lay with finishing the race a cool head like Schumacher wouldn't put his rival into the wall when it would rebound and end his own race. And he didn't because he executed as he intended. With more on the line I could see Schumacher resisting Barrichello's move to the right. Sufficiently motivated, he could have held Rubens onto the grass and consequently won the corner.

At Mosport 1973 I witnessed Clay Regazzoni make certain Carlos Pace did not pass him by pushing him, not bumping him, mind you, but driving him him with clear purpose into the pitwall. You'll recall he put Stewart into the woods at the Ring in 72. So much for the Age of Chivalry.

Fact: video of this incident will be used for years to come to illustrate the intensity of F1 competition and the excitement that its inherent danger generates. How memorable would the pass have been if Heidfeld had been defending?


I posted a link to Mark Sutton's image. It is the same image Mail Online uses, but follow the link to a much higher resolution version. There are a few more shots of the sequence in this week's web-mag at gpweek.com

The image looks legit to me, btw.

Alan Goodfellow

Nah, I it's certainly not fake. It's just a different angle from the TV pictures that makes the wall look longer.

Sutton Images have added the original picture to their Twitter page: http://twitpic.com/2aq2l4


James, not sure how else to contact you - http://jaonf1.wpengine.com/features/ is linked to from the top banner, but none of the links on that page work any more.


Once a cheat always a cheat. Time waits for nobody, Schumacher should just walk away.

I expect several stories to be told once Rubens retires, Schumacher, in my opinion was not nearly as good as the records show, not once was his teammate allowed to race him in a fair fight.

His move on Sunday was disgraceful ad at the very least he should have received race ban, I mean a 10 place grid slot is hardly going to hurt him or |Mercedes this season is it?


listen to what eddie irvine says about being a team mate to schumi-there is no love lost there, but he tells it straight. In a "fair fight", with identical cars, setup (almost) the same, he couldnt come close to schumi's lap times.

Fair play to Eddie for admitting that he was not as fast as schumi.

I also think Brundle gripes and moans about it because what did HE achieve when they were team mates?


From what I can see, the penalty is more illusory than real. The grid only goes back so far.

The stewards have drawn a bold line in the sand though. With this goes a warning. To transgress again, especially in a way that can be construed as endangering others, would not have a positive effect on MS' career.

It was a difficult decision for the stewards when opting for a penalty and I think they have got it about right. Any fine would be of no account. But it is a shame that Merc have been punished for something which they had no control over.

I’m not too happy with the post incident behaviour of MS. His barbed dig at Rubens was not what one would expect of a an ex WDC. I thought Rubens behaved impeccably. I’ve always liked him but he’s really grown on me this season and the last.

The concern is that this might have been personal.

But is was an unsatisfactory GP with regards to safety. There were three dangerous incidents.

Those in the pitlane were down to the unsatisfactory safety car rules. These should not be looked at, they must be changed. That freewheeling tyre was a risk too far.

Whilst the chap on the spanner was at fault, his actions were excusable given the pressure he was under. A driver makes a slight mistake and all he has to do is apply a bit of opposite lock on and lose a few tenths.

Mechanics come into race day tired and grumpy (mind you my experience is that only the tired bit is not the norm). They then sit around for lap after lap and are then expected to perform under pressure with a few seconds notice.

We’ve had warnings this season with pitlane incidents. Let’s not follow the example of the Senna/Ratzenberg deaths and shut the door after the horse has bolted. There is no excuse for those in control.


I'm amazed you've said 'I’ve always liked him but he’s really grown on me this season and the last.'

The past 12 months have seen behaviour and statements from Barrichello that have made international news beyond even the F1 media, such has been their erratic nature. The steerwheel incident, his blatant implication that Brawn were virtually sabotaging his WDC campaign, his insistence on dragging up his dissatisfaction with the Ferrari years of his career...even the rumours that he used pretty homophobic language a while back to insult Schumacher that don't seem to want to go away...

I think that it's been this season and the last that RB's attitude's have become thoroughly unlikeable...


Most of the crowd find that Schumi was wrong -so am I.

But, something similar happened with Massa and Webber back in 2008.

After the race noone mentioned the dangerous move from Webber. You can clearly see him choosing the inside -as Schumacher did-constraining Massa to the left. Massa then chose the inside and Webber did another move towards him. Luckily for Masaa the wall ended just in time.

Just check it out on:



I'll add to that and say there does also seem to be naughty jink to the right from Mark, but it's well after the wall finishes, in fact it's after the red painted section and into where the pitlane rejoins. I'm not even sure if it's really a jink to the right or just looks like that because the pit exit line is moving left into the track.

Perhaps there is a double standard but when I saw that move I remember being amazed by Massa's audatiousness rather than thinking Mark had been unfair or dangerous.


I don't really think that's exactly the same, Mark is already way over to the right before Massa is alongside him.

IE by this time:


there is already insufficient room to the right of Webber for Massa's car to stay on track (ie within the white line).

I think the Schumacher-Barichello case was different. Schumacher was drifting right but significantly Barichello started pulling alongside while there was plenty of width between him and the side of the track which Schumacher then continued to close out.

A subtle difference, particularly at speed, but I think it's reasonable to say that Massa went for a gap that wasn't there while Barichello had his gap shut down after he was in it.


Jerez 1997 was as much JV's fault as MS's. JV went into the corner way too fast.


Michael? Is that you?



Watch at about 3:20, Schumacher turns in, then back out when he sees Villeneuve, then back in again. That's not on.


Schumacher had worn rear tires and was correcting for turn in oversteer.

Here is MS earlier in the race correcting oversteer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dfJjONIDts

He opens the wheel and then adds back lock.

Here in this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E5Pxmvz0r8&feature=related

You can see, from JV's onboard at :55, two corners from the incident, MS has turn in oversteer.

Same vid, starting at 2:10, the slow motion shows MS having turn in oversteer.

Same vid again, starting at 1:07, you can see how far off line JV is because he's going into the corner so fast. The racing line is on top of the curb, but JV ends up all the way across the road trying to slow down. This part also shows JV behind MS even after MS has already turned into the corner. JV's attempt at passing was brutish. MS's mistake was to keep fighting for the corner. Although he didn't have much choice considering the speed JV was doing; if MS tried to give more space, he would've ended up being bullied into the gravel.


Lol!!!!! Lol!!!!!!!!!!!


As a Schumi fan, i still think that the block was outrageous and he deserved more than a 10 place penalty. Perhaps a suspended 1 race ban along with the 10 grid place penalty would have been right.

Having said that, the distance between Rubens' Williams and the wall was about the same Kimi gave to Michael in Inerlagos 2006, if you look back. Curiously that never drew so much outrage....


Not the greatest photo. Because it's such a low angle you can't tell how close to the wall Rubens car is.

Anyway, Schumacher went too far, he's been punished, he's admitted as much and has apologised (Schumi-style) to Rubens. Case closed. I love a nice bit of controversy but let's not indulge in too much tabloid over-reaction.


I'm concerned that this move was the result of Schumacher's age showing through. His statement after the race was basically that he expected to Rubens come by on his left. This apology confirms to me that this move was not aggression but a mistake.

He didn't maintain awareness of his surroundings. He reacted too late. He misjudged his position. I know that at 41 his mind should still be pretty sprightly. But maybe he's just lost that superhuman reaction time that F1 drivers seem to possess. Whether that's due to age or his abortive retirement, I can't say.

What I can say is that if he can't take the fight to his team mate next year, he'll have to go. Right now, he's trading on his name. If he were an unknown, he'd be lucky to make test driver next year.


From a telephoto lens things can look really exaggerated. This kind of thing happens everyday with normal drivers in the streets of New York and LA. I fail to understand why the press drums up these incidents specifically for some drivers (Vettel, Schumi). If Rubens felt otherwise- Michael said sorry. There were equally more dangerous situations like the one with Renault. Did anyone apologise to Sutil? No wonder Kimi took off not willing to hire a nanny.


I think Schumacher got carried away in the moment and possibly regrets that he didn't commit to the right earlier thus forcing Barrichello to the outside. I still think he possibly misjudged a bit but it wasn't then in his nature to back down.

Like a lot of other people on here I have seen plenty of other battles that are as aggressive as this and think that Schumacher's move because it was him has bought things to a head. Was the penalty right? Yes, but you could argue it was 20 years too late! I will be interested to see what happens the next time something like this happens but have a slight feeling unless its Schumacher there won't be quite the same level of fuss!


Judging by some comments here. clearly there are many Schumacher fans that see F1 as being some kind of modern day Deathrace 2000.

F1 drivers are gladiators, but it doesn't mean that they should be driving to the death. As a follower of F1 for 35 years, during my time of watching F1 there has been 7 deaths and countless nasty accidents. Yes, F1 is a dangerous sport; it's made dangerous by drivers racing around circuits at 200 mph. Clearly this isn't enough for some people. Sorry, but because F1 is dangerous does not mean it is okay to push drivers off the circuit or into pit walls. If you want that kind of thing then watch stock car or banger racing or, better still, play on your Play Stations.

I feel very disappointed that some F1 fans (and I use this word advisably) feel that what Schumacher did was acceptable.


I got to say I was totally wrong about this season, the drama, intrigue and sub plots developing is very impressive. Not only that but being in the digital age, the way we connect with people on the track is totally different. With all the timing screens, and maps with cars on it. Let alone all the blogs, twitter feeds. Also we have teams doing factory tours. We can connect with the sport in so many different levels. Roll on the rest of the season!


The photo at http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/48566000/jpg/_48566348_barrichelloandschumacher640.jpg shows the situation better, where there is about a tyres-width between Rubens and the wall and the same between the cars. To me that is acceptable and Rubens should not complain, this is after all the pinnacle of motor racing and things are meant to be on the limit. Having said that, Micheal was moving right all the way down the road and Rubens chose to go for a closing gap, so really he has no-one to blame but himself. Of all people, he knows Micheal will not lift and will not give an inch.

It has to be said that the armchair critics are getting funnier, using worse spelling and grammar, and feeding the media machine with some great hyperbole. Thanks for your good work James!


Armchair critics don't like being taken for fools. Media don't like being taken for fools.

After the race Schumi said "I gave him a gap on the left and said go left, there is more room for you there (while smiling)".

You really think Schumacher wouldn't have turned left, if Rubens chose left instead of right? Button said the same thing after watching the video. So it's not just armchair critics it's drivers, ex drivers and most importantly the stewards.

Delusion man. That's the only word I got for it.

I am not a fan of Rubens but he handled the situation perfectly. He waited until the exact right moment to pick a side, he kept his foot in and he spoke his mind about it after the race. Victors write the history and Rubens got one up on Schumacher for the world to see.

It must sting when you can't have enough faith in yourself and your own choices (who to be a fan of) to be self critical of that choice. It's okay to like something or someone, without them having to be 100% perfect. It's like religion.

When you can acknowledge the flaws, and still give support.. that is a true fan. Rather then some brainwashed notion that someone can never do anything wrong, and everyone else must be persecuting him for no reason.


You're basically saying that because there wasnt an accident, its ok. People could have died if there had been an accident, and Im not talking just about the drivers, people on the stands, track marshals, people in the pits. What MSC did was just stupid, and that picture doesnt help your argument. Look at the rear wheels, do you see how close they are to eachother? Also, at the point where the pitwall ends, Rubens car was just inches from it, MSC kept moving to the right, he never stoped moving, thats blocking.


Pretty sure that wall is curving, hence the telephoto gives a different view, but watch the in-car and you'll see that at the very end of the wall there wasn't much in it at all.

Still a bit bemused about hard but fair when the rules say you can't push a driver off the track.


You might be looking at the front tires. Have a look at how much narrower the gaps are between the rear tires of the two cars and between Barrichello and the wall. At any rate, you may say Barichello had the choice but he was already beside Schumacher when the big squeeze was put on. Giving someone a choice between crashing or taking emergency evasive measures to avoid a crash (which just as easily could also cause a crash) is not much of a fair offer.


Agreed that I am only looking at the photo - I have no footage here (thailand) until f1.com decide to release their edited version. A tyre-width would be "hard but fair", but less is silly. But I still wonder about Rubens choosing to go for a closing gap when he *knows* what Micheal is like.


Wow that picture is crazy! I have to agree with the others that Schumacher was way out of hand. Defending his action is a bit like saying "sure he shot a gun at Rubens, but he didn't hit him, did he?"

If he was another couple of inches over and caused a big crash would his actions then be considered reprehensible by more people? I don't see the difference other than it was sheer luck he didn't cause a crash.


From someone who has never been much of a schumi fan (and who wanted Rubens to win the title last year) I think the move falls under the hard (very hard) but fair. Michael had made it perfectly clear in previous laps that he was going to block the right hand side of the track, Rubens complained about this over the radio as we all heard, so Rubens knew exactly what he was up to. There is clearly history between the two that has been stirred up by the whole Ferrari team orders thing and neither wanted to give an inch.

Michael did not suddenly veer over the track, he gradualy squeezed Rubens over, Rubens had the opportunity to bail out of it, (if Rubens went left at the last minute i think he would have got him anyway as Michael would not have been able to chop left to defend (that would have been changing his line more than once)).

Its a case of two men with some history, one hardlines racer who does not want his supposedly inferior ex team mate beating him at any cost, and one very emotionally charged man who was scarred by their time together and who would give anything to put one over on him. Net result, two men who are not going to give an inch.

I think the penalty is probably fair enough but think about this, he only got the penalty and it was only dangerous because Rubens kept his foot in it, if Rubens switched line then no one would have thought anything about it. Its tricky because you cant realy blame Rubens but Hopefully people understand what I mean?

Schumacher I think will be gutted with his grid drop. Spa is a race with a lot of history for him, first race, first win and all that. I would have put money on him doing quite well there and im sure he would have had that race marked as one he wants to really shine in. Aint going to happen now Michael...

To summerise another of my ridiculously long comments, I think Michael was pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable, theres no doubt he saw Rubens in his mirror. But Rubens could have backed out, he knew what Michael was going to do but due to his determination fueled by memories of their past he kept his foot in it. If the wall was a foot longer there would have been the mother of all crashes but there wasnt, it was spectacular to watch and I think Rubens will be quietly smirking to himself...


Whats all the fuss about?

Havent we seen driver's pull such stunts in the past.Common folks - its this ruthlessness that separated men like Senna,Schumacher etc from the boys.

Michael still left a car's width open isnt it?Where's the point for Rubens to cry?And what the heck is that past history that Rubens talked about?Who has a grudge to grind - Michael or Rubens?Once again Rubens has prooved he is such a looser.He prooved it last year at Brawn like he has done numerous times before and he did it at Hungaroring now too

After reading some of the comments here,I was wondering if Rubens hit the wall,had a huge shunt and fighting for life in a hospital bed.Outrageous,isnt it?

Ok.Finally Michael has tendered an apology,which I am still not able to understand why.

Leaving that aside,how many here support "I am holier than thou" Rubens throwing away his steering wheel into the racing track?For all we know that wheel could have bounced off the racing track and could have done a "Felipe Massa" to some unfortunate guy coming behind

Was there so much hue and cry then?Did Eddie"Bullshit"Jordan open his motor mouth and go "Dangerous move of the career \ history" etc

Why such hypocrisy?Is that because Michael achieved so much?Is it because the man ruled the sport like no one ever before him did?Is that becoz the man was so ruthless and achieved results?

To conclude,Formula 1 is not for the sissies.If someone is so afraid and freaked out about being pushed close to the wall,sit tight at home.Dont get into that stupid car,for you never know,even when you cruise around an open track,you might have a spring coming straight to your head


...the people I most admire are courageous as hell, they have personal integrity, they are driven to win whilst having the presence of mind to know when the fair fight is up and they treat others with due respect... in short; sportsmen.

If you think differently. If you admire the borderline underhand 'win at all costs' rationale and feel that any other way equates to weakness then we cannot agree.


So much testosterone here!


You would think with all he has accomplished over the years he would feel more secure-instead of being so "ruthless";if RB gets by pass him back.That's entertaining.This way isn't,and could have been a disaster.

Say what you will about Piquet Sr.He did not treat competitors like that.And it isn't an "old school" thing.It is all about doing a Grand Prix properly.And this is the antithesis of Grand Prix driving,Mister seven time.I am not happy,but he says he's sorry.

Psychos need not apply for GP superlicenses.


It's good that he said sorry.

It won't stop his delusional fans from thinking he is always right though.

The survey was convincing however alot of his delusional fans don't speak English. I'd be surprised if the results were the same on those sites.

One thing most people in F1 are unable to do (teams, drivers, Bernie, fans) is seperate their own interests for the good of the sport.

Or to look at something like this in an unbiased way. Sometimes being fair is more important then who you like or not. It also gives a foundation for knowing why you support something, rather then doing it blindy. Which is really lame.

Being passionate is a good thing, being deluded is another thing altogether.


James, I am changing the topic slightly. I do not know whether you are planning or have any need to write something about Ferrari - the team overall, who is doing what, why they are making so many operational mistakes since JT, MSC and RB left the team? They did not set any trends in recent year and they no longer look and behave like a famous, mystery team from Maranello. What is the future for them? WIll Luca leave? Will Stefano stay? How will they find ways to attract people like Newey to shine again? It would be so nice to understand it.


usual comments there.Even when Michael apologizes people always manage to look for a bad point.As MS has said he is not there to give free gifts on the track.There have been equally dangerous situations,heck even in the same race itself ,its just that since its Michael he has been criticized heavily.was penalty justified? yes it was.but was the media response justified? no not at all.such things are common in frmla 1.

Ted the Mechanic

It makes the gap that Mark Webber left Vettel at Turkey look like a courteous invitation "and would you like fries with your easy pass sir?"


Firstly let me say that even though I am a Schumi fan I voted that it was outrageous in the previous poll, and although I don't agree with the wording of the poll he deserved a penalty.

Since then I have watched this move again and whilst I do stand by my original position, I really feel that MSC didn't try to do this in a dangerous way, and Rubens shares some of the responsibilty.

If you can be bothered please watch the clip and try to follow my thoughts below.


If you watch from the in car footage from the Williams (starting at 20 secs) you see that Micheal goes slightly wide and then begins to move across to the right.

By 25secs he has moved across enough to leave a car's width to his left and continues to move across. To me this is clear: he is intending to block to block the inside line and force Rubens on the outside. At this point Rubens is not getting a tow from the slip stream and actually has a clear choice.

At 26secs Rubens starts to accelerate in the tow and begins to dive to the right, whilst Micheal has continued to move right. Basically Rubens is following his actions at this point and must be aware that the door is being closed. He could easily have taken the tow and moved left and MSC would not have been able to move back (We have seen Alonso do this recently and go around the outside, although I can't for the life of me remember when).

At 28secs Rubens is now fully committed and his front wheel aligned with Schumi's rear wheel, but at this point there is not a car's width between the white line (i.e. the edge of the race track) and Schumacher's front wheel. In short Rubens is diving into a closing gap.

Once he is alongside Michael seems to jump to the left to avoid contact as Rubens points back towards him (quite reasonably) to avoid an accident.

Rubens was catching Michael and had a decent tow down the straight. Once Michael began to move right he is not allowed to move left until the braking zone, and to be honest it is pretty obvious that he is going to close the door. He is completely entitled to do this on the straight. Yes, it was a bit too close for comfort but he wasn't initially doing anything wrong.

I think that Rubens was desperate to get past the Mercedes on that lap to take advantage of his fresh tyres, which is exactly the kind of thing the no refueling era is supposed to give us, I applaud him for that. I think the penalty was correct in that it will discourage serious blocking, particularly on tracks where it is impossible to overtake.

Over the past couple of years I have done quite a bit of karting and there is a rule about overtaking and who has the corner. Basically if you are going into a turn and the car on the inside has the front of his kart level with your front wheel it is his corner and you should yield. Otherwise it is your corner and he must back off to avoid an accident. Martin Brundle suggested in the previous laps that Rubens should "send one up the inside and let Michael sort it out" which is exactly what he did. I am just not sure what he (or MB for that matter) thought was going to happen.

Michael was right to apologise, it was hard racing but probably unneccessary. But whilst it is easy to villify Schumacher we should all remember that if this was a move between Senna and Prost (with Senna in the lead) it probably would have ended in an accident. Many people use these kind of incidents as ultimate proof that Schumacher is nothing more than a cheat and a bully who shouldn't be racing. I take a different view. If the difference between Senna's heroism and Schumacher's demonisation is on track behaviour then I honestly don't think there is a case to support that view. Senna and Prost both drove each other off the road and won championships by doing so. When you consider that Schumacher's success in terms of wins is greater than Prost and Senna combined and his championship count is the same as Prost and Senna combined, even though his first career was only 3 years longer than Senna's (albeit that it was ended tragically early) I feel that if you judge all those men equally based on their performance and behaviour Schumacher is still the greatest.

Your mileage may vary.


You know where you are with MS. He is consistent at least.

The onus is on the sport to define the parameters. Should this behaviour be encouraged with leniency or discouraged with sanction?

Motorsport has always been dangerous and it is up to all of us to decide if we want death race ( remember that awful film ) or a gentlemanly duel with rubber tips atop the foil.


In my view, Schumacher has gone too far on this, like so many of his previous incidents. If you watch the video, Schumacher exits the corner and they both drift centre. Barrichello switchs to the right and then Schumacher starts, and continues to move to the right.

What is most telling is that, once they are past the pit wall, Ruben moves further right to get out of the way, and so does Schumacher, he continues to push right until he switches left to take the corner.

To me, this is going beyond a reasonable move. Every time I see the move, it looks very much like a single continuous movement all the way down the straight. In other words, Schumacher is continuing to squeeze all the way - he isn't saying "There's a car's width, get through", it is more like "you are not coming through that way".

That, in itself is fine, but Rubens was already alongside. If Rubens had have backed out, I think there would have been a massive risk of wheel contact and another airbourne occurance.

I also feel that he would have done exactly the same if Rubens had gone the other, pushing him on the grass.

Ruthless? No doubt.

Right? No. This one is a step too far. Drivers should not be deliberately pushing other drivers into a wall.


Wrong, MSC begins to move and Rubens follows him.

I agree that it was too hard though.


James, lots of comments, but I've not so far seen any discussion of the initial cause of the incident.

His Mercedes gave him a horsepower advantage over the Cosworth down the straight. And, as we'd seen in the preceding laps, ordinarily he would/should have been able to keep Rubens behind.

However, Michael made a significant mistake by over-steering under pressure entering the final corner. Giving Rubens chance to get a tow at the start of the straight which ultimately led to the squeeze and overtake.

Perhaps his momentary embarrassment (self doubt?) over this elementary error triggered his excessively aggressive attempt to defend.

Can you share your opinions of this and what it reveals about MS mark II ?


The main point is that Barrichello was on new soft tyres and Schumacher on old hard ones. The speed difference was very significant and made a pass inevitable


Even Senna wasnt this cold hearted. Racing is tough business and risk is part of the game and yes, to be the best you must have a ruthless streak but what Schumacher did can be described as attempted murder. He is well past his sell by date and is doing his image and reputation no favours. Be gone!


You mean when Senna deliberatley drove into Prost in suzuka 1990 after stating before and after that he would put himself in this position because the grid position for pole wasn't changed over. Here is an excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayrton_Senna:

So I said to myself, "OK, whatever happens, I'm going to get into the first corner first — I'm not prepared to let the guy (Alain Prost) turn into that corner before me. If I'm near enough to him, he can't turn in front of me — he just has to let me through." I didn't care if we crashed; I went for it. And he took a chance, turned in, and we crashed. It was building up, it was inevitable. It had to happen."

Schumacher is capable of some ruthless, calculated and dangerous moves, no question. To suggest that other drivers of that era weren't is disingenuous.


At least Senna told you what he was going to do and out of the Car, Senna, in my opinion had a big heart. Spa 1992 Qualifying, Senna got out of his car to help Comas. Cant see Schumacher doing that. Schumacher's manoeuvre on Rubens was, yes Senna like ruthless but his attitude out of the car was totally unlike Senna and showed no remorse. Schumacher's apology has been ordered by Mercedes and Ross Brawn as a face saving gesture. Schumacher is attempting to prove that he still has what it takes. He doesn't, not any more. He quit while he was ahead and should have stayed out.


It is a moot point, but I don't personally see how saying that you are going to deliberately drive into someone (and it was premeditated from before the start of the race) and refusing to take responsibility afterwards is better than the incident on Saturday. You describe Schumacher's move as attempted murder, but if someone had been killes in at Suzuka in 1990 that actually would have been murder as it was premeditated. Follow that link I posted and read what Senna says afterwards. He showed no remorse and I don't think he ever apologised.

I can agree that Senna was a more inspiring person out of the car, and he certainly did a lot of good with the power and influence that his fame and adoration bought him. I can see why the majority of people feel he was the greatest. Many of the other drivers have very warm personal stories about him. It adds to the enigma and the legend.

But for me the actions on track of both men speak very loudly, good and bad.


I've seen some outragious moves by Schumacher in the past, the worst in my view, being in Canada a few years ago when he put HH-Frentzen on the grass ... But the move on Rubens on Sunday was a heart-stopping moment! I had to watch it again and again because at first I didn't believe it was that close to the pit wall!

Good job on Rubens for keeping his foot down in such a moment, but I'm most thankful that nobody was exiting the pits at the same time ... The resulting crash (if there had been) would've been horrific.

I have no respect for Schumacher, he has gotten away with so many dangerous moves in F1 in the past and well done to the stewards, it's about time he was punished for his exploits. It's one thing to race hard but fair, but quite another to put another competitor in such a dangerous situation ... It shows a lack of respect to the others on the race track.

I'm glad he has apologised, but has he done so because he means it or is it because he has been caught and punished for it and doesn't like the backlash from fans?


That is magnamous indeed. He is a True Champion.

I am still expecting an apology form Rubens for throwing the steering wheel on to the track at Monoco.


That is magnamous indeed. Michale is a True Champion.

If Rubens is a soft spoken, fantastic person grat driver etc etc., why has he not spologised for throwing the steering wheel on to the track at Monoco.

That is the diffrence between a True Champion & an oridinary F1 driver.


That is magnamous indeed.

If Rubens is a soft spoken, fantastic person great driver etc etc., why has he not spologised for throwing the steering wheel on to the track at Monoco.

That is the diffrence between a True Champion & an ordinary F1 driver.


blah, blah, blah!

I hope we have some needle in Interlagos. Schumacher will need to arrive/leave by helicopter!


Don't get the anti-british sentiment at all. Schui is/was the best driver of his generation. he is clearly frustrated at having an inferior car and a set up that works quite differently to 3 years ago. But he should have the skill, experience and knowledge to know what is fair but hard and what is dangerous - and the grace to accept that in the heat of racing he may cross that line as judged by the stewards.

Apologies just show people that you accept that decision - nothing more. Not sure this was an apology though so I don't think that Schui realises how dangerous that move was. Still a great driver.

What has this got to do with "the british"?


Technically, Schumacher DIDN'T apologise and I'm very glad he didn't. If you look at the frankly ludicrous display of yapping, whining, bitching, moaning, crying and bleating by Barrichello since I'd have been appalled if Michael had decided he'd been out of order. Whither your flung steering wheel Rubens?!!

Here's an interesting tale that I find quite pertinent to this episode though. Professor Sid Watkins related an anecdote once of how he'd been a passenger in the safety car in the late 80s, and a driver had gone off track somewhere at (I think) the German Grand Prix and ended up in the trees. Close to the accident spot was a gap in the fencing through which the safety car driver of the day aimed, and made it through at very high speed with no problems.

The F1 driver was taken care of, but afterwards Watkins was curious about that gap, so he went back long after the race had ended, and measured the exact width of it, and then measured the width of the safety car. He realised the gap in the fence was precisely ONE INCH wider than that of the car, and estimated that the safety car was doing close to 100mph at the time. He was staggered at the sheer precision of the driver, particularly given that this was a driver who WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH to make the cut for Formula 1!

Now, my point is - if a safety car driver can display such forensic ability to guage space and gaps at high speed, how much more able should the 7 times world champion be? And if we agree that, yes, he ought to be perfectly capable of squeezing with millimetric precision without going that couple of inches too far, then what was the problem? He left a Williams-sized space, Rubens took it without lifting, end of story.

The rest is merely sensation, hypocrisy and mock-outrage.


Great anecdote about the safety car.

"What was the problem?" you say? Post race in his interview with the BBC, Schumacher said he had a 5cm wide target for the corner line and he missed it and wrecked his exit. So even a 7-times champion knows that he does not always have that millimetric precision you mentioned. He was very lucky.



I agree with Paul on many points. Yes the move on Sunday was over the top, it didn't need to happen, but the widespread condemnation is really quite unbearable for any Schumi fan out there.

Eddie Jordan's critical analysis is getting cheaper by the week, asking Rubens "Was this the most dangerous maneuver against you have ever witnessed?" was journalistic hype. It put the words in his mouth, all he then had to say was "yes" and the world's tabloids had a field day.

Further, the post race forum was so ugly. Sadly the only balance came from a viewer who emailed in saying,

"how is it Schumacher's fault? He was trying to hold position. Senna did the same thing putting the other guy in a compromising position and is stilled hailed as the greatest."

Martin Brundle shared his thoughts on why it was Schumacher's fault, which was his entitlement. However, he didn't answer the Senna comparison until the anchor Jake Humphreys pressed him on it saying

"[what about] the Senna comparison on that?.. there is a general feeling that Senna was a guy who would give no quarter, and Schumacher did something similar in that situation, [however] Senna is hailed as probably the greatest driver that ever lived, but schumacher is getting a lot of stick at the moment."

Martin's reply was unbelievable!

"The whole Senna v Prost was a different deal on a different day. He [Senna] declared he was going to do that, he didn't hide it. The problem with Michael is that this is his default. I don't want to beat up on Michael but it his is default response when he is under pressure... There is a line there is a limit when you don't expect them to clearly run you off the road"

What! How can you justify Senna and condemn Schumacher??

So let me understand this one Martin, Senna's move was okay because "he didn't hide it"? So if we just tell our fellow drivers we are going to pull an outrageous move, that's okay? Was Senna not crossing "a line when you don't expect them to clearly run you off the road?"

That's just old fashioned double mindedness. What on earth was Martin going on about?

This is just like other Schumacher stories from the 90's. Widespread british journalism that is filled with bad taste and prejudice.

James, I would like to thank you for your fair analysis in your book on Schumacher "the edge of greatness" and your balanced thoughts on the recent incident with Barrichello. Could you please comment or write an article as to why people "think Senna was so different?"

Why does the world media hail Senna as the greatest and Schumacher as "flawed" when they were just as ruthless as one another?

This needs to be answered! Thank you.


Agree completely.


Before the race I watched the highlights of the 1998 race on the bbc website. It was really good to remind myself of just how great Schumacher really was.

Sadly the guy is clearly well past his best and moves like Sunday really just demonstrate his fustration and desperation.

Inside he knows he is no longer the greatest driver but simply a good one, I suspect what you are seeing is him trying to deal with that. Knowing his personality, I can imagine it must be very hard for him to accept.


It looks like I'm one of the few guys here who supports the F1, not a specific driver or team. I like some drivers more than others, of course, but I'll never go blind and deny their mistakes, just for the sake of being the ultimate Schumacher fan, or Alonso, or Hamilton, or whoever. If one don't see that that move was extremely dangerous, then I don't know what to say. Maybe just "be a lunatic fan of some driver and support their bad attitudes until the end". And if Barrichello was in a hospital after an horrible crash, I bet that some people would still argue that Schumacher was right, it is on "his blood to be a ferocious champion", which would be an absurd. The problem with this kind of support from a part of the crowd is that this kind of things can happen again and again.


I could not agree more. Well said Gilberto!


I only will post a video ans picture extracted from that video : Rubens is stupid and at fault to start passing Michael using the safety lane on the right of Michael! the left side was wide open and much better path for the next curve after the pitlane exit.




Therefore he deserved to be pressed against the wall or what?


Not what I'm saying. However, I believe Rubens was excited about his ability to get its revenge on Michael and this is why he choosed to pass him in front of the stand and eveen if it means to start passing the white line of track's border! He didn't care about hte fact that passing him on the right at this spot would automatically makehim cross blindly the pit exit lane.

They're both culprit on that one in my opinion!


I think to be honest Martin Brundle has some needle with Schumacher as they both drove for Benetton in 1992. Sadly for Martin, Schumacher out qualified him at every single race and Brundle found himself dropped from the Benetton team for the 1993 season.

As for Martins comments on the text the BBC Forum had, I think the original texter wasn't reffering to Senna taking out Prost at Japan (the year after Prost took out Senna to win the championship..) I think the texter was reffering to the many times Senna moved across the track at Hungry to put people up against the wall to stop them passing him.. even his own team mate at the time.


OK, this might not go down too well but I've always wondered about this. First of all, yes it was a dangerous maneuver and the stewards were right to punish it. Naturally, the 'anti-Schumacher crowd' (for want of a better expression) jump on it as an example of why Schumacher is not the 'greatest of all time'. So I have to ask James if possible and anyone else - why are Senna's dangerous moves (Suzuka 1990 etc) and his ruthless aggression given as proof of him being the greatest of all time by many of the same people who find Schumacher "too dirty"? Top Gear had a fantastic film recently about why Senna was so great, and Martin Brundle cited, among many things, a pass Senna attempted on him which ended in a crash, yet he found Schumacher's move unacceptable. Personally I think it's John Lennon syndrome - an early death seems to erase all the bad points of one's career - but I'm genuinely interested to see why people think this is without rose-tinted spectacles in any direction.

As for my personal view on the situation, I think that Schumacher was over the top (despite being a fan) and deserved the penalty, but I'm a little saddened by the fact that the talk is on Schumacher's move, not Barrichello's brilliant pass.


It's a big subject. A bit of an imponderable and Senna's death certainly contributed to his canonisation. His education and style gave him a head start, Schumacher was always awkward in comparison. Both had the same ultra competitive drive you find in athletes like Armstrong and few others. But compare Senna closing Mansell down as he passed him in Barcelona in 1991 with Schumacher slamming the door shut in Budapest.


I think that this shows another aspect of racing. A driver's decision to race hard depends on who he is racing.

I think that Senna clearly respected Mansell more than Schumacher respects Barichello.

An obvious point perhaps, but do you think that the other drivers feel that Schumacher doesn't respect them enough on the track? Is this why Hamilton gets so much flak from the other drivers as well?


I'm curious as to whether he will be able to qualify high enough in Spa to cop the full 10 place penalty. He needs 14th or better.

JA, want to start a poll?


Another good idea, thanks



I must have rewinded the tape 15 times to watch the absolutely excellent pass Rubens put on Schumacher. Funny thing was, Martin Brundle stating seconds earlier that Rubens didn't have the 'cajones' to do the work. The best way to look at the move is in real time... and not still photos.

It is two of the most experienced, and winning drivers ever, giving each other centimetres of space. The move takes place in a time/ space -- call it 'reality' -- that the average bloke simply could not understand, adjust to or follow through on.

Sure, subsequently, Rubens could call it the most dangerous moment of his driving career but it was also one of his finest. He had his eye firmly planted on the end of the edge of the pit wall and knew precisely how much driving was needed to pass Schumacher.

Unbelievable. And to think that in that same instant, Schumacher also knew just how much was too little a width to offer. Within centimetres and at 180mph.

These guys know each other better than you and I could ever do. There may be some competitive angst towards each other but it is balanced against a knowledge of their 'craft' that makes them one of the hundred or so people ever to win a F1 GP.

It is the kind of thing that sets apart an F1 pilot from the rest of us.

I'm pleased about the penalty. It wasn't 'reckless' driving in the sense that both drivers put their cars into spots which only left the likelihood of one coming out in front. Rubens persevered.

So I answer the survey as "tough but fair".


Andrew C.


Skilled though both drivers were, it left no room for error on what was a dirty part of the track -- in fact it was off the track; by which I mean over the white line. Both drivers were gambling on a mixture of luck and ability.


James, what must the Mercedes Board of Directors think of this unwanted attention surrounding their brand name? They weren't too enthusiastic about taking over the Brawn operation in the first place and now this happens. One wonders if they will find cause to look again at Schumacher's contract?


It's part of the game. All companies involved in F1 realise that. There were some who got uncomfortable over the breakaway last summer and others who didn't like the Singapore crash scandal, but this is grist to the mill



I just wonder how much airtime this move would have received if it wasnt schu and furthermore a supposedly bitter ex team mate. I mean the pass massa made on webber at fuji 08 down the pit straight with webber squeezing him could have ended in tears but it didnt and was a great move and noone talked about it. I remember Legard saying on Sunday "What if a car was coming down the pitlane?"Noone said it during the fuji 08 occasion.

I answered tough but fair.


I think a lot of the "hype" over the move was stired up by the BBC..


It is interesting to see all the comments here and the various opinions stated.

But there is one opinion on this incident that really annoys me - that of David Coulthard. How can he, someone who deliberately caused an actual accident in 1998 at Spa, comment on this with a straight face?


I cant help but feel (with all due respect) if it was a better driver than rubens, i.e. a World Champion, then he would have dealt with schumacher a little more skillfully and the move wouldnt have looked as bad. I still don't think it was as bad as people are making it out, i think the fans opinions are being a bit manipulated by the tv pundits and other drivers, couldn't help but detect a hint of hatred/jealousy in some of their voices.



Why, in heck, M. Brundle would be envious of Schumacher?

Qualifying results :

afs92 = 6. MSC 1:17.635 / 8. BRU 1:18.327

mex92 = 3. MSC 1:17.292 / 4. BRU 1:18.588

sma92 = 5. MSC 1:23.701 / 6. BRU 1:23.904

mon92 = 6. MSC 1:21.831 / 7. BRU 1:22.068

can92 = 5. MSC 1:20.456 / 7. BRU 1:21.738

fra92 = 5. MSC 1:15.569 / 7. BRU 1:16.151

ang92 = 4. MSC 1:22.066 / 6. BRU 1:23.489

all92 = 6. MSC 1:41.132 / 9. BRU 1:42.136

hon92 = 4. MSC 1:16.524 / 6. BRU 1:18.148

bel92 = 3. MSC 1:53.221 / 9. BRU 1:54.973

ita92 = 6. MSC 1:23.629 / 9. BRU 1:24.551

por92 = 5. MSC 1:15.356 / 6. BRU 1:16.084

jap92 = 5. MSC 1:40.922 / 13. BRU 1:42.626

aus92 = 5. MSC 1:15.210 / 8. BRU 1:16.562



I am a serious devoted fan of Michael since 1991, and i will not tolerate the media and such like to keep on critising Michael, this was just a race incident and Michael did not mean to shock Rubens, why cant you just leave Michael alone and stop bringing up the past to what he might of done or said. after all you would do the same if you were frustrated like Michael with a grotty package and a grotty car, all everyone including Rubens seems to harp on him and whine and whinge like a spoiled load of children. I have found no fault with Michael okay he has some but i have never seen them yet. just give him a break and stop hounding this poor great sportsman. if he decides to leave after next season, i cant blame him, this motorsport is getting to bitchy.


Message to all of the people complaining that motorsport commentators such as ex-F1 drivers are merely envious of Michael Schumacher, or have a grudge, therefore they should be ignored.

Those complaints are irrelevant. They add up to nothing of substance. They are ad hominem fallacies, and have no credibility whatsoever.

The correct response is to focus on what the commentators are saying.

The response "xxx is merely envious" is roughly equivalent to a salesperson saying "you should not buy my competitor's product because I hear that he cheats on his wife". Any sensible buyer or prospective buyer would interpret a statement like that as nothing more than irrelevant bitching, and ask themselves: why is the salesperson not talking about how good the product is, and why it is the right product?

So when I read commenters saying things like "Martin Brundle is merely jealous because Schumacher out-qualified him all of the time in 1992", I merely shrug my shoulders and move to the next comment. Because that assertion is fallacious nonsense, and conceals the reality that most of the time, the comment makes no argument worth the bandwidth.

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!