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Michael Schumacher gets 10 place grid penalty for Vergne collision
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Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Sep 2012   |  6:12 pm GMT  |  179 comments

FIA Race Stewards in Singapore have handed Michael Schumacher a 10 place grid penalty for causing a collision with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in the Singapore Grand Prix.

In front of the stewards, Schumacher is reported to have accepted the blame for misjudging the braking distance to Vergne in front and smashing into the back of him on lap 39. Schumacher had just pitted and was fighting Vergne for 10th place. The race had jet restarted after the first safety car period. Vergne’s tyres were 14 laps old, Schumacher’s had done only five laps behind the safety car.

It is the second time this season that he has hit another car under braking, causing it to retire. A similar incident happened in Barcelona with Bruno Senna.

The stewards took this into account when handing down the penalty.

“The driver admitted the collision was his error due to the failure to anticipate the braking performance of the car with lower grip following a safety car period,” said the stewards’ report.

“The penalty takes into account that this is the second similar offence by the driver this season.”

The stewards took no further action over the incident before the restart after the first safety car period, where Jenson Button had complained that he almost hit Sebastian Vettel as he stopped and started while the pair were warming their tyres ready for the restart.

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1

So once again F1 fans are denied the possibility of seeing Schumacher win a classic race, Suzuka….

2

James,

Hi. After reading all this and some other news that indicates that possibly there was a failure in Schumacher’s car I want to ask if you know how’s the relationship between Michael and Ross Brawn (and for the matter all the Mercedes team).

Thanks.

3

+1

I too would like to have an insight of how Brawn and especially the engineers and mechanics still support Michael.

For some time I think that Michael may not have the team behind him, and even though he is pretty tough I don’t think he could excell in an environment where he does not feel full support behind him. At Singapore he looked like his self confidence is gone and he is thinking too much about other things.

It would surprise me a bit as I think he is performing well on the track during the last months but something is not right there.

4

+1

I hope James will make a feature of this. “What happened there?” sounds very wry now in light of the Hamilton deal.

Schumacher (after crashing in Singapore) looked crestfallen to me. He even took his helmet off. I will never forget the expression on his face. The machine has become human. Even Brundle starts to like the new Schumacher. He needs a warm family like Ferrari. It’d be great if Massa would offer his seat to Schumacher like Schumacher did for Massa in 2006 …

5

Mika Häkkinen talks about Schumacher and his retirement/return. Funny … and many words from Mika!

For those who don’t speak Finnish, switch sub-titles on (the little button under video that looks like a piece of paper, to right of flag button)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D3ZyfHiPfM

6

Hahaha. Some of the comments on this thread are just hilarious. I didn’t see the accident so won’t comment on whether the penalty was justified or not but some of the comments in Schumy’s defense were just priceless. Someone even insisted that he was a ‘humble sportsman’!!!! Hahahahaha.

James – a suggestion: can we have like and dislike buttons on the comments.

7

+1 for like and dislike buttons…

8

Btw: As far I recollect Schumacher had some braking problems on Friday, so can it be the he had that kind of problem again?

Any information about Friday’s braking problems ?

I doubt if this is the only human mistake, I think some car braking problem presented, moreover he apologized to Verne and right after said that he was not sure what the problem was as he could definetly say, at that time, that was just “his mistake only”.

9

Vettel brake tested Button and in 2010 nodded off behind the safety car. This is clearly age related decline. In fact drivers should retire at 22 now to make way for the next generation. To be honest puberty is probably the end of youth, let’s get the foetus formula underway…

I’m no Schumacher fan but you’d think 43 was 103 from some of the comments out there. You do know the average age for Test pilots is 46 – it’s bizarre how we think age related decrepitude affects drivers more than elite level pilots who push aircraft beyond their limits. Yes 43 is old for a physical sport like sprinting where sheer muscle reaction is required but it’s not like Schumacher is in bad physical shape (from what I hear from a couple of team trainers he actually outperforms some of the younger guys in the gym).

Schumacher admitted fault, he had a brain fade, but then Vettel and Button and Hamilton and Grosjean and Maldanado amongst others have all had crashes this year and last into other cars. If Vettel is too young to know better which category do Hamilton and button (late 20s and early 30s) come under?

Every driver has some comedy moments of awful driving and total lapse of concentration. I’d say possibly only Alonso keeps that to a minimum and even he’s binned it into walls and other cars in silly mistakes before.

Schumacher clearly doesn’t suit formula one with zero testing and he may not have the full reaction speed he had at say 33 but it’s just bizarre to write him off as too old. He’s just capable of a lot of mistakes like the other 23 on the grid. Is he at his peak? No. But then is Hamilton? Is any of them? If you balance youthful aggression and age experience where is the final tipping point? Is there only like a 6 month period where drivers have both? Nonsense.

10

Schumacher’s reluctance to call time on his career is causing a log jam in the sport for the most talented up-coming drivers 20 years younger than him.

When German newspapers call MSC “Schussel-Schumi” (Clumsy Schumi) and laugh at the fact he calls JEV “Jean-Marc”, muddles up timezones, insists there are 20 points for coming 2nd in a GP and goes to the toilet at the wrong moment … you know the time has come.

Even the normally pro-MSC Motorsport Magazin wrote a damning article. Michael may not have been liked before, but he was well respected. Now the respect is slipping away.

11

As a long time Schumi fan I have to admit that I’m torn about the crash. As far as the penalty goes I definitely think it was too harsh – 5 place penalty was enough for the next race, the stewards already penalized him for the last incident.

As far as the accident goes, it looks as though he did hit the brakes early to try to avoid hitting JEV. But it seems like he had no control over the car and as David Coulthard said in one piece that in a case like that all you can do is hit the brakes hard and go straight ahead. Which is what Michael was trying to do. At the same time he has being doing this long enough that he should have had a better inkling of what condition his brakes would have being in after the safety car period and that was a rookie mistake not one of a 7 time world champion.

With regard to talk of him being past it and its time for him to retire, I do feel sad for him that his eventual retirement, whether it is this season or next, will probably be determined by management at Mercedes rather than by him. The body language of the pit crew when he crashed and the radio message from Ross Brawn or his race engineer gives you the impression that all is not well where Schumi is concerned. In an ideal world he could come back for one last year and take his 8th and final title and then sail off into retirement with his reputation intact and act as an ambassador for Mercedes the team that gave him his start way back when. The reality is that the 7 time WDC that re-wrote all the record books will probably be unceremoniously replaced by some spoiled kid like Hamilton or maybe an average driver like DiResta because every driver has their era and this just isn’t Michael’s anymore!!

12

you know without schumacher F1 would be even more dull.

i mean those guys, the buttons, the alonsos, the vettels etc are such personalities and so interesting, ha ha, no wonder F1 ratings are the worst they have ever been.

13

WOW! DEJA VU!. Honestly, Schumi must retire as he’s mega rich and famous before its gets real embarrassing. Sorry to loyal Schumi fans for the high expectations. Lotsa pain and no gain at all.

14

Don’t know why Schuey is bothering really. His car really isn’t up to it and all that incidents like this are doing is making him look like a tired man at the end of his career.

15

I came not for the meaningless arguments. I am just wondering if James Allen can come up with lastest as to what exactly happens? The speed difference is simply too great at the impact, and this is not the first hard braking point of a lap, so I am indeed wondering if that was a technical failure. Or if it was a driver error, how could that have happened?

16

Quite disappointed with some of the comments here. If Maldonado had’ve been the one to hit someone in that manner, people would be calling for his head and asking why he is in F1. But if Michael Schumacher does it, or even does it for a second time in a season, people are questioning why he’s even being given a penalty. And then in the next breath state they want more consistency!

While I do think some of the stewarding leaves a lot to be desired, an incident like this for the second time in a season must carry some sort of penalty. There’s been a lot said about the legacy of Prof Watkins over the past week or two, but without his work, just imagine how nasty this sort of accident would have been. Do we really want drivers causing these sorts of incidents with regularity (be they seven time world champions, or rookies)?

17

+1

And for Schumi-fans: consider what your reaction would have been had the roles been reversed. If JEV had collided with MS, would you have complained of “rookie errors” and “quality of driving from junior formula”? Would JEV be one of the crazy young-generation Playstation drivers with no respect for the safety of others?

18

It would seem that all around the stewards were blind this time.

First this, but then they give Webber, not Kobayashi the penalty for that incident at the end of the race? Are they insane?

So we’ve gone back to “it’s okay to run drivers out of road” again?

And those incidents that involved lots of broken wings and punctured tyres – stuff all done there either? Exactly the same thing. There’s just no consistency at all.

Please don’t ever bring these stewards back.

19

Having recently read “The Edge of Greatness”, I’m not surprised that James Allen hasn’t weighed in here on the fact that the penalty imposed was disproportionate.

While I enjoyed the book, I found it focused too heavily on some negatives in Schumacher’s career, and relied too heavily on the obviously biased points of view of people like David Coulthard (very biased commentary as well), Eddie Irvine, and Rubens Barichello.

Furthermore, the standard and consistency of the stewarding is seldom properly analysed or even criticised by the media as a whole. Formula One is clearly a little incestuous world filled with many big fish in one little bowl, with “journalists” failing to provide a fair critique of the sport for fear of jeopardising its credibility and therefore their livelihood, or damaging their relationships with team and FIA personnel.

Benjamin

Cape Town

20

James – I think a point that should be made is that Schumacher’s “mistakes” arose in my opinion due to the time that he grew up in the sport. He watched the Senna/Prost ruthlessness and that was considered the norm. Then times and attitudes changed subtly during his time in the sport. It was no longer acceptable to do everything it takes to win. Combined perhaps with his being German (would people have said the same if he was British or Australian – look at the attitudes of the Cricket teams for their definition of “fair play” and “win at all costs”) and some nationalism against that meant that people’s attitudes shifted against him.

21

I’ve read the book, and found it to be balanced throughout.

Regarding negatives during his first career, there were plenty.

22

Yes there were negatives, and while James did seem to provide a very balanced view, your comments clearly show that you failed to note the negative tone of the theme throughout the book [mod]

23

If James presented a balanced view,as you state in your reply to my comments, then surely the negatives equal up to the positives?? Or is my understanding of English poor?

As to my comments clearly showing I didn’t pick up on the negative tone of the book, I disagree completely, it is purely your opinion that it has them.

I have read the majority of Senna biographies that have been published and I have read them objectively.

Any driver capable of ramming into another to win a championship is disgusting, but Senna possessed many other qualities which I admired. To claim the man was a saint would be quite absurd.

Yet it’s illuminating how many “Schumi” fans cannot accept any criticism of the man!!

24

Surely that’s the point with the Schumacher book. I presented a picture of the man and the driver far deeper than anything that had been written elsewhere, not shirking the negatives but also highlighting the incredible work ethic and the way he looked after people

Even now I’m learning about his charitable donation which is mind blowing and which he keeps private. He’s a complex man

You cannot reduce it to ‘good’ or ‘bad’

25

I’m sorry but those who think there continues to be a vicarious pleasure from their worship of Schumacher are just deluding themselves. Stop worshipping the man (look up “vicarious” in a dictionary. It’s a book that tells you what words mean) and realise he is an absolute liability. At the sad end of his career he is as much trouble as Massa was at the the beginning of his.

26

The penalty is way too harsh and those saying that he should go are the usual anti-Schumacher lot. He’s been faster than Rosberg this year and has shown he can still do it. We need to wait and see if the at was at fault but even if he made a mistake, we see things like that happen in F1 with other drivers, it’s just when its him, the crowd bay for his blood

27
val from montreal

Just been reading , actually google translating , various important German media outlets and its readers comments about the Schumacher singapour 2012 crash , and 98% of all those germans are behind Michael … Their points of you is that Mercedes are doing more bad to MS’s image than good …. The German people are pretty ashamed of that team … Midfield team at its best !! Poor in-season devellopment , poor strategy calling , VERY poor reliability on Schumacher’s Mercedes during the last 3 years ( Schumacher =24 mech failures , Rosberg = 3 mechanical failures !! ) …Engineer’s reaction to MS has’nt helped Mercedes(Ross Brawn and co) …. What a let down for Schumacher …No BODY can turn that team around , not even Schumacher himself .. .. People have to realize that without Schumacher in that ”team” , the german population would’nt mind seing it withdrawing itself from F1 … Its making Mercedes look bad , and the germans could’nt care less about a briton driving the AMG next season, even its Hamilton … It seems its only in Britain where Schumacher is hated the most … Go Michael !!

28

“Go Michael !!”

You have 6 races left to enjoy your demi God. Enjoy x

29

He has won more than twice what your “demi god” managed in his career – and that’s after team hopping multiple times looking for the best cars, fighting with everyone from FISA to fellow drivers, and even kicking a track marshal who was trying to get the so called “greatest ever” to get off the back of Mansell’s car.

At nearly 44, he is battling with drivers half his age, and despite 24 mechanical failures in 3 years, and a substandard car, he has proved that he more than deserves the drive.

Keep enjoying the “glorious past” of someone who is not around, as it is convinient to create myths around those who cannot answer.

30

Did Webber get one when he took the literal meaning of “Gives you wings” ?And how different is that to what happened here in this boring dumb race?

31

It looked to me as if Schumacher expected Vergne to attempt a pass along the outside, as his car was completely beside Perez. Perez is allowed to defend, but has to leave a car width and not force the other car over the white line, meaning that he would have to take a different line through the corner. Schumi looked to be setting up to brake close to Perez, hoping to perhaps undercut one or both on the exit of the corner.Unfortunately Perez and Vergne realized they we headed 2 abreast into the corner, and broke early, ostensibly to avoid a collision, and Schumi was caught out with nowhere to go. Most certainly a racing incident.If he was coming up behind Alonso and Webber in the same circumstances, I think there might not have been any collision at all. He was counting on the drivers in front reacting to the situation they created quickly, and he failed to take their inexperience into account, so ultimately he’s to blame.

32

Surely that was a racing incident and Michael was harshly punished for it. Bot cars appeared slower that his car as he closed in quite fast…then bang. I don’t intend to start an argument here but…what about Vettel? He did accelarated then braked suddenly and Button nearly collected him. So we have a near miss vs collision and impressive judgment from the race stewards. Amazing…anyway. That MSc guy on the radio was the “moegoe” of the day. That was uncalled for and I expect Ross Brawn to address it before it goes out of hand. DS.

33

TV viewers are not privy to all Pits to driver conversations.

Sometimes what you hear is maybe a lap or two late, and/or only part of what is said.

I think many people jump to conclusions too quickly, assuming they know everything that has happened.

Semms to happen with commentators, too.

34

Even though I dislike MSC, I say this is a bit harsh. An accident is an accident, unlike Maldo’s “all or nothing” attitude.

Though in Barcelona, didn’t he call Bruno an idiot or something like that??

35

very much deserved, understand his engineers remark because he couldn’t believe such a blunder had happened, an ‘are you ok?’ should’ve followed unless schuey had already radioed back

36

Utterly ridiculous ! It was clearly a racing incident and should have been treated as such.It does seem like those drivers who have personally achieved nothing in their careers, but end up becoming stewards for a race, try to grind axe on current drivers,and Schumi has been targetted in the past by such “stewards”. Why is it hard for them to see he locked up in a difficult part of a circuit, and Vergne got pushed outside by Perez ?

James, who was the engineer on the radio with Michael ? I think that guy needs a new job.

37

McNish has won Le Mans………twice!

reckon that counts for something and 99.999% more than most posters on here.

It is clear that MS was a sunstantial distance from Vergne when he initailly locked up. He made a mistake and it was not he first one he has made since his comeback. Time has caught up with him.

38

Yes Mike J. I was aware of McNish’s record, I’ve been watching him from his early days.

I was responding to Post 38 with irony. Mistake!

39

No, Allan McNish has achieved nothing in his career, but

I bet he could drive your sofa quicker than you.

40

I tried figuring out what the radio message to Schumacher was and I found a replay on youtube. It sounded like “Welcome back, what next?”. Which makes me ask, is Schumacher really appreciated in the team or is this just a personal grudge the guy on the radio has with Michael?

41

A hearing test, I think.

42

Unfortunately, I think this may have greatly reduced Schumacher’s influence on whether he’ll be driving next year. Mind you, Suzuka’s up next!

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