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Schumacher/Barrichello: A Clearer View
Schumacher/Barrichello: A Clearer View
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Aug 2010   |  7:17 am GMT  |  487 comments

I’m grateful to Russell Batchelor, the photographer who took this amazing photo, for sending me a high resolution version so you can see more clearly exactly what was going on between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello on the Hungaroring pit straight, late in Sunday’s race.

There’s a full size version at the bottom of this post which really does it justice.


We’ve had hundreds of comments about this incident, with some calling for Schumacher to be banned and others arguing that Barrichello should stop bleating.

I’ve picked out one recent comment from Andrew C, which I thought was very interesting and well written to go with the picture for a calm re-consideration of the situation now that a few days have passed. What I like about it is that he isn’t bogged down by a partisan pro Schuey or anti Schuey mentality, he’s approaching it from the point of view of someone who loves F1 because it is the best drivers in the world doing things the rest of us cannot imagine doing.

I’m not saying he’s right or wrong about his conclusions on Michael’s ethics, but I found the approach really refreshing and it reminds us all of why we are so passionate about F1, whether we are insiders of outsiders.

Here it is:

Andrew C writes: “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’.”

Almost 10,000 of you have responded to the JA on F1 poll in the last two days and Andrew C is one of the 21% who said the move was “hard but fair.”

Unfortunately for Michael, 73% went for “outrageous”.

FIA steward and former racer Derek Warwick says that he would have called for Schumacher to be black flagged if the race wasn’t about to finish and said he was ‘disappointed’ by Schumacher’s attitude when interviewed by the stewards after the race.

He added that a 10 place grid drop penalty might not sound much, but at a place like Spa, it will effectively ruin his race. So although he’s there and the fans can see him, he won’t take anything from the weekend so it has a similar effect to taking him out for a race.

That’s fine, but as we know at Spa with rain and safety cars, anything can happen…

We are moving on from this story now, but before we do, we have a JA on F1 competition.

Predict where Schumacher will start the Belgian Grand Prix on the grid and where he will finish it. Remember that he will go back ten places from where he qualifies. So if he qualifies 10th, he will start 20th.

The first entry that gets it right, or the nearest, will win a copy of my 2008 biography of Schumacher, “The Edge of Greatness”.

Usual rules apply, you can only enter once and if we have more than one correct answer we will go back through the comments log to find the first one submitted chronologically.

Good Luck!

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I found it very strange that Shumasher wasn´t penalized for pushing Rubens out in direct danger for anyone who would exit the pitlane. Any driver exit the pit would never be able to see what´s coming after that wall.


He will start 23 and finish 13.


Start 18th, finish 11th.


What a refeshing view! I don’t really see what the fuss is about on this move. They are two professional drivers, they drove giving themselves a perfect minimum allowance. It’s shows their skill more than anything else. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been watching since the early nineties, when these kinds of moves were more common place – I think Gerhard Berger got that one right:

A pro-Schumacher fan can say Barrichello chose to pass on the side of the wall when Schumacher was drifting to the right, and to be honest, I agree. Schumacher left the perfect amount of room for Barrichello to fit through, and then it was up to him to see if he had the balls to fight it out or back off. Good for Barrichello that he proved he has the balls.

If Barrichello argues that the wall is unsafe, he shouldn’t have been passing on that side. Any real racing driver accepts there’s a risk in motor-sport and decides where to draw his own line. If he wants his competitors not to take any risks, perhaps he should be driving the simulator instead…


Schumi will Start 18th and finish 6th.


Seven consecutive wins by Michael in 2010 wouldn’t bother me at all.


start 19th and finish 11th


qualify 7th-start 17th-finish 5th… 🙂


Quite simply : thanks God that Bari is alive. bar none.


Schuey will start in the pit lane and end on a recovery truck.


I don’t agree with Andrew’s post at all. One thing that struck me while watching the replays was Schumacher’s head angle. As soon as Rubens started the move to the right, MSC’s head was leaning to the right.

This tells me he was watching Rubens intently and NOT the race track!

Even in the picture on James’ post, his head is to his right – he’s watching Rubens (who he obviously knows is there) but NOT the track in front of him!!!!

If he was watching the wall, his head would be pointing more forward.

That’s why he made the mistake and it’s also why he hasn’t really apologised – because that would be to admit he wasn’t aware of his position on the track. Not a good quality in a racing driver….

Hang up your helmet Michael, before you kill yourself, another driver or a spectator.


Start 16th

Finish 4th.


start 24th, finish 11th


I think Schumi will qualify 8th, start 18th and finish 5th


Well, if he has to start 11th, so be it. No problemo.


He will start 22th and finish 6th just because he loves Spa 🙂


BTW James, a great book. I bought it couple of weeks ago and I love the way you wrote it. Hopefully, you will write some more soon 🙂


will start 16th, finish 1st.

I agree with the post mentioned, that was 2 expert drivers driving at the limit. It was fantastic to watch and made the race great instead of just ok.


andrew c would like to think that there are people capable of this level of judgement but that would be foolish. one of the greatest drivers of all time made a mistake in judgement, pushed it too far and ended up dead. his name was aryton senna. it is very dangerous when a driver thinks he is invincible.


schumacher will gather info for the team, and will be on totally different strategy than rosberg, as last race, so no more comparing their times, because its not relevant.


schumacher will finish 8th.


schumacher will qualify 10th but wont be bothered, because he knows he will most probably be at the back of the grid due to penalty, so he will do some more testing and gathering info for the team, this season doesnt matter to schumi, next season is where schumacher shows real form, new car made for him, no understeer, which he has never liked since he began racing, everyone will be on same pirelli tyres, in other words , no more tyre advantage, and hopefully that rocket red bull car will be slowed down, after they have all their toys penalised.

wondering if red bull will be found out this week, for that flexi front wing, if fia do nothing, their credibility for running f1 is in doubt.

their wing scrapes the ground, thats how low it goes, causing massive downforce, and allowing red bull drivers to take corners at full speed, and stick to the track ,unlike all the other cars, who have to back off a bit, and red bull tyres get looked after better also, as webber showed.

do your job FIA.


There is a photo showing rubens behind schumacher, and his front wheels are not past schumachers car back wing, and you can see schumacher has pulled over to the inside of the track, so why didnt rubens use them things called the brakes, and back out, because he must have known it would be tight inside, yet what did he do, charged into a gap, that was tight, i think what we saw there, was not schumachers fault, but rubens ego, because in his mind , it was such a big deal to overtake schumacher, no matter what, and as schumacher said in an interview, rubens was on fresh tyres, so he had more speed than schumachers car, so why didnt he go on the outside , which i left wide open.

i think its called the red mist, and ego of rubens.


Agree! 🙂

Also, agree with Rubens having an ego. It’s the same Rubens who told the BBC last year after Germany (I think?) that the team was plotting against him. He’s a great talent, but his ego is quite annoying at time. I suppose people could say the same about Schumacher’s ego, but at least Schumacher is an arrogant type ego, which is understandable, Rubens ego is so much more manipulative and underhand, one-side and selfish. He’s good at manipulating the side of the public who aren’t too clued up on F1, or who already hate Schumacher or whoever he’s having a go at.

Still, good move in Hungary Rubens… Now stop whining!


Start – 22nd.

Finish – 10th.


Starting 21st, finishing 9th


He will Qualify 17th and finish 8th

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