F1 Winter Break
Michael Schumacher gets 10 place grid penalty for Vergne collision
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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As a professional, you know it must be you – not your work - tools, when the silly mistakes mount up.


What about Webber crashing into Kovaleinen? Valencia 2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kNZzqqdhM0

Or Lewis crashing into Kimi. Montreal 2008.


I take it then that all F-1 drivers are expected to not only know the state of their tires but the state of every other driver's tires---at all times. Ridiculous! It was a racing incident and would have been acknowledged as such in every other racing league.


Michael admitted it was his mistake; he misjudged his braking point (by quite a bit, as it happened). Think about it from Vergne's perspective: he was focused on his own race, in the points, and he suddenly gets hit from behind and its race over through no fault of his own. Not that much of a racing incident from where he was sitting.


Also, that was a massive difference in speed between the two, it wasn't just a small misjudgement.


Absolutely Hero his closing speed was ridiculous. I think MS thought he had another 200 metres. Maybe a case of being blinded by the light .. It was very unusual to say the least.


He drove into him from behind. 1st rule of the road, leave enough space and anticipate breaking if you are behind another car.


Mark, I'm a bit shocked by your comments re Schmakers age affecting his judjment! You're saying at 40 something he is old and suffers reduced brain powers! Those ridiculous comments indicate to me that you're probably in your 20s (and haven't grown up yet) and are certainly not an athlete! I venture to propose that when reach Schumi's age, you probably won't hold the same opinion! Its funny how many people just seem to thrive on critisizing other people! Have you noticed how often the YOUNGER drivers are getting into trouble? Personally I'd prefer to see the grid filled with older more mature and experienced people, (who we can identify with), (eg Webber, Button, Barracello, Schumaker, Allonzo, Massa, Kubica, Raikenan etc., etc. My advice to you is -- be cautious who you rubbish unless you know YOU are better than they are! PK.




Michael has been a top driver for many years, and is still a good driver. However, surely there must be some deterioration in his mental capabilities and reactions, partley as an ageing factor, but maybe of more concern, the number of years that his brain has been bouncing around in his skull piloting an F1 car.

Ther would also be considerable jarring when coming to a rapid stop in the case of a crash, and I believe that he also had a crsh or two when racing motorbikes.

There has to be a limit to which the human body and in particular the brain can be subjucted to such adverse forces.

Do the powers that be, FIA or whomever, ever consider that there might be a shelf life for drivers?


Perhaps not at all times, but.....Michael had just come out of the pits so his tires were as good as anyone's in the field. And since he hadn't followed him out of the pits he should have know Vergne's were worn. He doesn't need to know the condition of everyone's tires but he should be paying attention to the drivers around him.


That they used a similar incident in Barcelona---9 races ago---they ruled to be

a 'racing incident' with no blame to any

party just makes it worse. Clearly this

was a 'Let's show them we're cracking

down' exercise of power.


You may want torevise your comment.

Schumacher was given a 5 place grid penalty for the following race because of his collision with Senna.

Remember? He qualified on pole for Monaco and started 6th...


It might be harsh, but you can't argue that it was Michael's doing. A man with 300 GPs behind him knows the state of his tyres and brakes at a restart. So the question is why didn't he pull up? I think he got caught up in the moment and momentarily lost track of his tyre condition. Which ultimately boils down to a mistake (which he owned up to). A mistake he would not have made 10 years ago. In a word - old.


For goodness sake, he just drove into the back of him! It's a shame because in my opinion Rosberg is being outperformed by old Schumi this year (never got caught up in the Rosberg hype in the first place) but there you go. Did Schumi cause this collision? Absolutely.

Chris - You would be lucky to get consistency from the stewards within a season - it's madness to start citing things that happened in years past and expecting consistency across seasons!


Maybe the stewards have decided to be more "consistent". If the driver except the blame for the incident, punish him like crazy (Grosjean & Schumacher), if the driver refuse to except blame, don't punish him (Maldonado, Maldonado, Maldonado, Maldonado, Maldonado & Maldonado). I guess the best then for the driver is not to except blame.


Identical incident involving Webber at Valencia last season went unpunished. In effect schumacher is being punished again for his incident with Senna. So it's a 5 place grid drop for Singapore and a 5 place grid drop again for the previous incident with Senna. Way too harsh.


Bad call:


Lap 40: Replays show that Vergne was on the outside trying to get past a struggling Perez. The Mexican defended his line and Schumacher was caught out and smashed into the back of the Toro Rosso.


OK, William, we get your message.......all three of them.

You should start off "Am I alone in thinking...'


wilder says...

* Recommend (67)

"I find this stewards decision concerning and I think they have questions to answer as to how he could be penalised for what - going too fast? - look again at the footage. as soon as the two in front start to tangle, MS goes on the brakes, as he can see they immediately slow down at that point. . Had he not tried to slow down, then that would be correct to impose a penalty, but he braked from a long way back , but the car simply didnt slow down. I will be interested in the next driver who hits the back of another car -regardless of the circumstances to see if they also get a 10 place penalty, but I seriously doubt they will. Double standards, and bad decisions are now rife, and tin pot stewards seem to revel in making questionable decisions - I say that because of the close up footage of the incident, and that he did all he could to slow it down 200yds before the corner. - rediculous."

Posted: 23/09/12 7:36pm PlanetF1 http://www.planetf1.com/driver/18227/8104323/Schumi-gets-grid-penalty


I agree, it's not as if Michael WANTS to hit the other car, he braked as soon as he could tell there was a problem.

Absolutely ridiculous punishment.


'simonl' on the Telegraph website summed it up well:

"More importantly, was Michael Schumacher using Apple Maps today?"


This is a mistake of a rookie, not a 7 times world champion. You would have to ask is his heart in it now.


As some one who has raced on 'R' compound tires I can tell you that determining exactly what kind of grip you are going to have at any given moment when the tires are heating or cooling quickly is no where near an exact science. Micheal said he braked early just in case, it just wasn't enough.

I saw nothing malicious in what happened. I would have liked to know what the vote was of the 3 stewards.


Not'malicious' at all.

Just a bad lapse in concentration.....again.


Absolutlely unbelieveable, no need for a 10 place grid penalty. what about the start Webber and Rosberg obvisoulsly gained an advantage. No action taken.

COME ON MIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Rosberg pulled off exactly the same move start of last seasons race, I'm not disputing he may have been avoiding a collision. However, both times he gained places he should have either given back or been issued a drive through.

As for Michael, it was a tad careless but the penelty is very harsh in my opinion. A reprimand would have been more suited or at a push 5 place grid plenty, not 10!


I think this is harsh.


Punishment aside, its all getting very embarassing for Mercedes (and for Schumacher personally). So, big money for Hamilton or flash the cash in the wind tunnel and hire Di Resta/Perez instead?


embarrassing? he has been out performing Rosberg recently.


An old man who has failed to outperform his team mate in any meaningful way...4 dnf's from Schumacher to none from Rosberg,

Rosberg with more than double the amount of points. Let go the past and acknowledge present facts.


I think you need to analyse the situation a littl e more deeply. If you look at the gap between them in qualifying, say, then it has been decreasing over the last 2 years. Infact, this season Schumacher has been quicker in qualifying.

On the dnfs, you need to analyse where they come from.


He should have out performed Nico from day one! He should have proved he can drive beyond the capabilities of his car like Alonso and Hamilton! No, his return has been a huge disappointment...


unfortunately, to be at the top of any profession in life you have to put in a of lot of work. Its not a case of just turning up and being the best from day one.


@Rick easy for you to say, Button and Vettel said that it's not easy to perform at highest level right away especially been not in full racing for 3 years and not to mention Schumacher in his 40s,Raikkonen in his absence still racing and he is much younger than Schumacher plus cameback in a better team comparing when schumacher joined Mercedes. But somehow managed to beat his younger competitors and outperforming his much younger teammates this year that's something.

He proved it already can drive beyond the car capabilities, young Schumacher, last year and some of his race this year "pole" at Monaco too remember. Alonso and Hamilton is great drivers but i don't know if they can perform at that level in their 40s as Shumacher does


I cant see what is disappointing in a 43 year old man being able to compete with a young Rosberg who is not a bad driver?

Val from montreal

Unbelievable - michael , mercedes dont deserve you ... Who was that engineer in your ear ? typical ....Brackley never really liked you that much anyways and this is the respect you get ? Coulthard was more on the " racing incident " point of view .... 10 race ban is too extreme , when its Schumacher involved its amplified 10X times !! Go Michael !!


I think it may have been Brawn who said that ! Seemed a bit off at the time but now I'm really disappointed with whoever said it, really patronising, how you would scold a child.

Points to a massive lack of respect for Michael and no I don't think he should have got a penalty for it.

I really hope he continues next year.


It was Ross Brawn who was instrumental in MS winning SEVEN (7) WDC's.

But some posters on here think Brawn should go, that he is patronising (well,he is effectively the patron) etc, etc.

Welcome to the crazy world of the internet.


I am well aware that Brawn masterminded his 7 WDC, thanks, I did watch them all even if it was a little dull at times! I have watched most races since 1991, this is why I have huge respect for Michael Schumacher even if I was not a fan.

Anyway I was not suggesting Brawn should go, if indeed it was him that said it, I just found it strange the way Michael was spoken to.


agree with that. I can understand the "heat of the moment", but to undermine your driver like that is unprofessional.

The penalty was harsh; there is precedent in the Senna incident. He was punished for that already and he should not be punished again. Would be understood if it was 5 place penalty, but 10 is too far. What's the next penalty if he happens to get the braking wrong again, 15 places?


Stop. Do you guys really think that was the entirety of the radio communication?


The guy on the radio was Ross Brawn asking "what happened there? what happened there!?"


Sounded like Ross Brawn actually.


Ten place grid penalty, not 10 race ban. Although I am starting to think that Mercedes might ban Michael from driving their car forever come the end of the season.


what a numpty. what about: are you ok Mike? did you hurt yourself? Sorry we can't give you a competitive car.

Far too many penalties this year. its becoming ridiculous.


Ross Brawn a numpty? Well, I'm sure you could do better........it's just that you missed your true vocation in life - being an F1 team manager.

Had it occurred that Mercedes team could see it on live TV ?


Peter C, I could say what I think about your comments, but some things are better left unsaid... mind you, I just read some of your comments and they speak volumes.

whoever it was on the radio - even if it had been Ross Brawn (it wasn't) - acted in a very professional and caring way right???

Talking about "had it occurred" did the engineer think about half the world listening to his transmission - including Mercedes? Did he think that his driver could be hurt? did he think about defending his driver? Michael Schumacher made a mistake that a driver of his calibre shouldn't have made, but the first concern should always be for the drivers well being. Not this nonsense:


Well done Vergne for keeping calm, cool and collected.


It wasn't Brawn, it was Andrew Shovlin, his engineer.


Agree - never heard a team radio outburst like that before. Given that Schumacher took a little time to get out of the car I would have expected something like " you ok Michael?" . Unbelievable that guy should go. Have we ever heard Schumacher do the same when his car has failed him on countless occasions. No.


'That guy should go' ??

Not so easy, I think you'll find.


The trouble with the team radio on the TV feed is that you get no context. He might have been having a go at Michael, he might just as well have been thinking he had been hit by someone, not having seen the TV footage, or could have already checked he was OK and been expressing his ire afterwards.

The thing is, it wasn't as if he just say misjudged it. He was miles back and ploughed in to him at a rate of knots. Everyone else got around the corner OK, he didn't just brake a bit too late, it was far too late, to the point where he would have ended up well off the track anyway if he hadn't had a Torro Rosso to stop him. It also wasn't the first corner after the restart so he'd had some chance to get a feel for the brakes.

It may well be a harsh punishment but maybe it is also a way of telling him that if he wants to drive for fun he needs to find a less serious category to take part in...


May I know what was the radio message from team after Michael's crash? I missed yesterday race. Hope I can watch the re-run on tv.


What about Belgium 98? That's three times!


Also here last year, so that's 3 times. Spa 98 was a bit different..


AND I heard he skipped school when he was 9 and was late for Christmas lunch in 1987...


Scandalous! Guy should be black-flagged for life!


Not to mention the library book that was 2 months late one time..


Can someone explain the difference between the judgment for Grosjean and the one under discussion now?

Also, here in the 'States' (SCCA racing) the responsibility rests promarily with the overtaking driver.

Simply looking for some perspective here.

Thanks for the good work.


Ohh come on James. Not you too. Reading these comments above, most guys say the penalty is too harsh. First or second comment against Michael and you jump on it.

How about when Mark Webber flew over the Caterham? Was there even a reprimant? Can't believe these stewards..


Didn't he also rear-end Kobayashi at Silverstone last year?

I think that might have been whilst actually trying to overtake so perhaps not exactly the same thing.


Maybe he needs vision correction? 🙂




Calls that he is too old and past it are utter hyperbole in my opinion. It was a racing accident and the nature of the sport means these things will happen. All drivers get caught out from time to time.

Not sure of the intent of the penalty. It was an accident caused by a mistake. I don't see how a penalty would make that sort of accident less likely. It's not like Schumacher will be approaching corners with any more thought about the braking in future just because of a potential penalty!!


Most accidents are from mistakes. Grosjean's ban came from a mistake which caused a serious accident. This was similar, not taking enough care around other cars and with the walls close by could have had similar consequences to the shunt at Spa. Personally, I thought Roman's penalty was harsh but I think this one for Schumi is hard but sends a message.


Dear Stewards,

Please stop investigating every overtake, crash, nudge and move. It is spoiling my enjoyment. Every time something exciting happens, I immediately start thinking about a penalty.

If anything needs sorting, then put the drivers in a locked room for an hour after the race and let them sort it out amongst themselves.




They tried that. Pastor went and beat everyone up and promised to run them all off the track at some point this season.


Sir Jackie Stewart believes that the FIA are not taking a hard enough line in terms of penalties etc. as he said in his BBC interview on Saturday. As F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport it is important to take a hard stand. Not doing so will vitiate the standard of good & safe driving in general.


the senna crash in barcalona i see as being over egar and schumachers fault. todays looked totally differnt.it was a combination of vergne and perez were probally braking slightly earlier then usual durning their squable for posisition and schumacher was caught out on cold brakes and tyres that wernt up to temp. a 10 place penalty is extremly harse as it wasnt the case that schumacher was battling with vergne at that time and was apparnt for every1 to see that it was racing incident.

to be honest, when i heard who the driver was on the stewards panel this race i suspected this penalty would happen.

f1's become a circus full of needless penaltys handed out by monkeys......


The ex-driver on the Steward's panel is there to advise the main body of regular Stewards - not to carry out a one-man hate campaign, as you suggest.

When you 'heard who the driver was on the stewards panel'........

Who wozzee anyway?


If you watched mcnish filling in on sky for Antony Davidson durning the year, he had pot shots at Schumacher on different occasions and no need for it. Even after out qualifying rosberg and beating him in races, still could find reason for having a go. Hence why i wasn't surprised.


McNish, Warwick & Herbert are all anti-Schumacher? Is that right?

Include Mansell & D.Hill and you've got a clean sweep of Brits who shouldn't be Stewards.



Saw that too and it's ridiculous having people like that ruling on incidents involving Schumacher as they are obviously not coming from a neutral stand point.

Guys like McNish, Warrick and Herbert who are always trying to get in digs about Schumacher should not be on the steward panel.


Fair enough. He knows how to drive a car fast, rather than the fastest sofa/armchair.


It looked to me that Schumacher was braking from along way out so either there was a problem with the brakes or maybe the cars in front slowed more an earlier than normal. The penalty seems harsh as, at worst, Schuey made a mistake and surely penalties are for intentional silliness. He is a very experienced driver and the only effect his age would have is that maybe he just ain't quiet as quick as he once was.


@gerry mc. I was thinking about that. except that they were braking as late as possible during their squabble (as you would trying to overtake/defend) not slightly earlier as you claim. but agree, it is extremely harsh.


Pete, Perez can't take the corner at normal racing speed as his car is on the inside of corner defending his posisition. Vergne was blocked by Perez from sweeping in for the apex of the corner. Corner speed had to be compromised. Not that it matters at this stage.


The speed that Schumacer closed on Vergne suggests that he ould have crashed out on that corner if there was a clear track ahead of him. He was driving dangerously and the penalty is quite fair. There is no argument that it was a racing incident as he was not close enough to attempt an overtake (OK he did end up close but that is because he forgot to stop!).


Sorry Richard D this was intended as a general post


No worry- sounds like you were agreeing with me anyway!


This decision is spot on !. He totally wiped out Verne & would have collided with the corner at high speed if Verne was not there .He wiped out Bruno Senna earlier this year and I think the stewards have rightly taken this into consideration. Michael acknowledged his mistake- so why do all you jokers out there claim "racing incident"- I have never read any more ridiculous statements -Absolute jibberish !

As James mentioned Schumacher did the same thing here last year and I could understand the teams frustrations although they need not "air" them that's very unprofessional.

Either way its insult to injury to both Michael and the team and as said earlier this year he always had this type of karma coming to him for his many past transgressions .

He should quit before he suffers more humiliation or worse. Either way I can't see Mercedes allowing him to continue regardless of his good speed at times.


Shoomey should know the breaking point of a train differs from that of a F1 car!



do You know which voice was on the radio after the crash?


+1 I was wondering who's voice that was. Maybe Ross Brawns??


I'm not JA, but the voice was probably Ross Brown's.


The voice on the radio was Ross Brawn asking Michael, "What happened there? What happened there!?"


Interestingly enough, I have no idea who these race officials were.

Can someone please shed some light .....


Garry Connelly chief steward, Allan McNish ex driver steward


Many thanks. Always useful to know ...


10 place grid penalty smacks of hypocrisy to me James. Why didn't the stewards do the same to grosjean after any one of his numerous incidents including ruining Schumis races on more than one occasion. If they had done so then maybe it wouldn't have taken a 1 race ban to wake him up.

A lot of inconsistencies in the decisions taken this year, unless you factor in personal agendas IMO.


I don't think the overall performance of the stewards at Singapore is an issue, certainly not out of personal agendas. Mark Webber got penalised for holding position when squeezed off the track, despite the chief steward being Garry Connelly, the FIA delegate representing the Confederation of **Australian** Motorsports.


MS made a mistake in a difficult situation, it does not warrant a ten place grid drop. Penalty is totally disproportionate.

As for the engineer who spoke to the driver like that, well if he doesn't get his P45 I'll be surprised, awful behaviour towards a towering legend of a man and driver. Plus Michael didn't move for a few seconds, shouldn't the first question have been are you alright?

Mercedes though really need to behave much more seriously as a team and give its drivers a proper race car or else follow BMW out of F1.


Towering legend of a driver, yes.

Ditto of a man.....not so sure.

I remember D.Hill in Oz, parked car in qualifying at Monaco,etc.

After yesterday's effort, in his interview in 'the pen', he said that the car would 'have to be investigated' for a braking problem.


If I approached a line of traffic at twice the speed of the last car, hit it up the back, I would expect to be banned, not just have some other cars put in front of me.

If a driver is great enough to be WDC seven times, then his vast experience should tell him that his car will not stop so well after a Safety Car period.


I see a whole bunch of less-than-pinnacle of racing quality all up & down the pit lane every event (from the Team Managers on down).

I surely woulda hoped for much more from Shummi's engineer on a simple human side - let alone a professional side. but, hey. he is in good company!!

never have been and never will be a Shummi fan. I think he should retire from F1 - did not say he should retire from racing or get kicked out of F1!

I have seen guys of 60 to 70 in some pretty potent F Atlantics turn amazing single laps. it is when conditions turn sour, or in a dicey racing situation, etc., that things tend to turn bad pretty quickly.

was Shummi a super human? maybe. is he still as good as he was or as good as the best in the field today? no.

no need to retire. plenty of good options. but definitely time to move on...


James, who was that? Thought it sounded like Ross Brawn when I was watching it. Am I wrong?!! I hope so!


@17 - What "difficult situation"?

Check the in-car from Raikkonen


When you are a 7-time world champion, you should be able to look in the shaving mirror and know when your razor is not as sharp as it once was.

We all want our heroes - boxers, singers, racers - to stay in the spotlight. But sometimes it's better for their lasting legacy to retire when they still have everyone's respect.


Thanks for the clip.

Funny that Raikkonen made the corner perfectly normally a racing speed, with all the distraction going on.

Anyway, having read other posts, I am utterly convinced that Alan McNish was at fault - for skewering MS. After all, it's the only mistake MS has made all season.


Irony, Elie.


Wrong !wiping out Senna was another one or doesn't that count


Reviewing the video does maybe cast a little bit of doubt... It was still definitely his fault for not reacting quickly enough but as to how serious the mistake was... Hard to judge. I guess you need the telemetry which would make it more obvious and of course the stewards, who handed the penalty out, have that...

The two in front certainly seem to slow to cornering speed a long way before the corner. Maybe the Sauber was trying to block Vergne, they may have locked wheels, hard to judge from the overhead. All the cars behind closed up on them at a roughly similar rate, Schumi slightly faster than the rest but not by a massive amount. I suspect both Schumi and Kimi were suckered in there and Kimi could well have had an accident as well had he been closer to Schumi. Look at the gap between Kimi and the Sauber on exiting the corner - barely space for two cars between them.

What I guess you need is to be able to compare other cars taking that corner and the same cars on different laps to judge if he went in far too hot or if the cars in front slowed much more than normal.

I really wish we had all this info available as it just leaves us having to conjecture between each other as to what happened...

I must say though, I do agree with you that Schumi isn't really serving and great purpose still being in F1. He's not dragged Merc forward as much as we thought he would. We've not even got an answer as to how good Rosberg is - has he matched and sometimes beaten an old man who is past it, or compared very well to one of the best drivers in the sport still nearly at the top of his game?

Schumi may still be selling cars for Mercedes but for the good of the sport I think we need some new blood in there.


Agreed, his teams first reaction should have been along the lines of "are you okay Michael". Apparently the engineer was Peter Bonnington.

The penalty seems a bit personal from the stewards to me, already taken a penalty for the Senna incident.

Allan McNish didn't appear to be much of a Schumacher fan when he was a pundit for SKY F1 earlier in the year.


The size of the penalty does seem harsh, but I do think a penalty was warrented, he took another driver out of the race who was blamelessly minding his own business. Maldonado was given a 5 place grid drop for a similar incident in Belgium, I think that would probably have been fair.


There are so many so called "racing incidents" taking place all over the grid. I hope this doesn't end up deciding the championship.


Webber smashed into Kov in Valencia and came out raging. Never apologised. He got no penalty.

Grosjean smashed into Schumacher in Malaysia.

Schumacher is a great sportsman and humble enough to admit his mistake to Vergne immediately. And he inherit this huge penalty.

I think it is ridiculous!


I think David Croft on Sky sports went a bit overboard.

David was asking Martin that if age has caught up michael and whether he needs to be tested with his vision.

David is a good commentator but he needs to tone it down a little as warned by Johnny herbet when he tried to be too funny about Johnny's height. I bet there was some tension at that point


I'm hardly his biggest fan and even I think that's a bit harsh. Another five-place drop would have been ample, the embarrassment alone should be enough punishment.

Seems doubly ridiculous when you think of all the deliberate stuff he did that he got away with...


Sorry James to add to the list of people having problems with this site - seems I can make a new comment - only sometimes - and not reply to anyone else's comments.

I haven't changed anything at my end (email address etc) and have not been offensive.

When I hit Submit and the page refreshes, there is no sign of my entry being added for consideration, as other people


Man! The race engineer to Michael was more concerned about the car than the driver. Wonder if Michael has a good working relationship like he had with Ross in Ferrari? don't think so... Is this the ploy to get him out of driving a merc next year?


The guy on the radio *was* (pobably :)) Ross Brawn.


Whats with all the defence of Saint Michael?

He made what is infect a rookie mistake, not something a seven times W/C should be making.

Had not Vergne been there to arrest his speed, Schumacher would have been up the escape road because he would never had made the corner anyway.


Yet another tyre issue, why have the 107% qualifying rule when the tyres cause larger speed differentials during the race due to degradation on old tyres vs cars on new ones? Has to be dangerous.

Whilst there has been some exciting racing this year i have found myself for the first time in 20 years to not be too concerned if i miss the next race completely. Its all about the tyres, but as with almost all forms of entertainment now, its about mass market appeal and money making. Such a shame. Pretty soon the only sport i shall be watching is Tennis, one of the few that still depend solely on the skill and dedication of the players.


Interestingly, if you take a look at the accident footage, Schumi was driving at about the same speed as the car behind him. It was not like he was flying compared to those around him. And then - bang! wheels locked and into the poor Vergne.

Brakes couldn't have been cold at this point any more, tyres could have - but Schumi said he had braked a bit earlier than usual.

So, it really could have been some kind of malfunction.


Why did he admit that it was his fault,then?


Good question. Why did he consider it his fault in front of the stewards if before that he clearly stated that he was braking early and the car did not slow down as normally? Anyway, without seeing the telemetry ourselves we won't know for sure which version of the accident to believe.


+1, same observation here.


Absolute classic!

2 weeks ago, Grosjean has the slightest of tire rubs with Hamilton and people were calling for him to be banned permanently because of his 'ridiculous' driving.

This week, Schumacher has a total brain fart and slams into the back of another car AGAIN this season and twice in 2 years at the same corner of the same track! Yet all I see is people making excuses and saying he doesn't deserve the penalty he got!



Are you lot even serious?

If Grosjean deserved the race ban for his move, then Schumacher deserves to be stripped of his super licence for his move!

Where the hell is the consistency?


Grosjean tried to squeeze Hamilton into a concrete wall off the grid, triggered an accident which took four cars out of the race and came within a few inches of hitting Alonso's head with his car. To claim that the incident is even remotely comparable with going into the back of someone as a result of either missing a braking point or a mechanical failure is, with respect, bordering on farcical. You also err in alleging it was the same corner as last year's incident - his 2011 tangle with Perez was at turn 7, whereas this year's was at turn 14. I am no diehard Schumacher fan, but I still feel this penalty is somewhat based on reputation rather than objective fact.


So, by your logic, if a driver has only "the slightest of touches" with another driver, yet because of the speed of the incident and the resultant pile-up another driver/marshal/spectator is killed (God forbid), you wouldn't think that deserves anything more than a slap on the wrist? I do hope you can see the flaw in that argument, or else I would advise running your opinion past Sir Jackie Stewart (among others) and see how he responds to it. You cannot distinguish between an act and its consequences, particularly if there is a clear causal chain, because one is the direct result of the other. Google "causation". The reason I am "missing the point", as you put it, is because it's a pretty shaky one at best.

I am sorry to say you also err in alleging that Grosjean "had stopped moving to his right" at the time of the collision - if you look at the replay again, he continues moving across right up to the point where he hits Hamilton's rear wheel, putting Hamilton onto the grass and triggering the remainder of the accident. The fact that he straightened up after that point is quite frankly irrelevant, as he had already caused a collision and set events in motion for the pile-up which followed - but for his continued move to the right and impact with Hamilton, the pile-up would not have happened. Simple causation. The fact that there was 1-2m of grass bordering the track is also somewhat irrelevant - last time I checked, grass is neither part of the racetrack nor particularly good at slowing cars down, and had Hamilton's car not snapped back around into Grosjean the only other place it would have ended up would have been in the concrete wall. My initial analysis of the situation is therefore still a reasonably accurate one, but if you would prefer I will amend it to "tried to force Hamilton off the track at the start while surrounded by other cars". Not much of an improvement really. Either way, it's a pretty bad act of driving for what is supposed to be the pinnacle of single-seater racing, to say nothing of in clear violation of the guidance given earlier this year about leaving a car's width to the edge of the track. I must also confess I don't see the point of bringing Grosjean's personality into the equation - Ayrton Senna was viewed as being a charming individual by many, yet had no qualms about deliberately causing an accident with Prost at 190mph just after the start of the race. Neither Grosjean nor the Lotus team offered any mitigating evidence or defence before the stewards either, so if they felt it was a fair cop I'm not sure why you feel it's such a miscarriage of justice.

I agree that Alonso should have gotten a penalty for the Monaco incident, and was quite surprised that he didn't - but that is a matter of steward inconsistency rather than a justification for letting other instances of bad driving slide. I would also ask you to note that at no point did I say "Schumacher doesn't deserve a penalty whatsoever" - had they given him a reprimand, a fine or possibly even a 5-place penalty, I would have viewed that as a fair decision. But to say that his collision with Vergne was on the same level of seriousness as nearly putting Barrichello into the pitwall at 180mph two years ago just doesn't add up - yet that is pretty much what the stewards are suggesting with this choice of penalty. That is why I find it questionable and wonder whether reputation is being factored into things. I have no issue with the stewards penalising bad standards of driving and accidents resulting from them, and indeed at this level I feel they SHOULD penalise it. This is Formula 1, not a computer game, and whether the drivers like it or not they DO set an example to drivers in the lower formulae and their driving should be treated as such.

And yes, in all of the above I am being quite serious.


I'm sorry David, but your response is a bit of a joke!

"...Grosjean tried to squeeze Hamilton into a concrete wall..."


A young, talented f1 driver who seems to have one of the meekest and likeable personalities on the grid tried to squeeze Hamilton into a concrete wall?

You're not really serious are you?

Are you forgetting the 1-2m of grass that was between the edge of the track and the concrete wall?

Are you also forgetting the fact that at the time of the collision Grosjean had actually stopped moving to his right and was actually moving straight forward? The only reason they touched was because their wheels were inter locked.

But the fact is you are missing the point entirely.

The drivers shouldn't be punished because of the result of their actions, rather their actions themselves.

What I mean is this. Like it or not Grosjean and Hamilton only had the slightest of touches - regardless of whether Grosjean squeezed Hamilton or not. The result of that was a big pile up, but the action itself was hardly worth mentioning.

How many times in F1 races do we see drivers rubbing wheels and nothing happens. It was pure bad luck!

Go to YouTube and search for 'Grosjean onboard start Monaco'.

Alonso ramming into Grosjean off the start was FAR more severe and aggressive than Grosjean on Hamilton.

And what was the result? An accident!

Grosjean was pushed into Schumacher who hit the wall. However, both Schumacher and Alonso got away without any damage and Grosjean was forced to retire.

Alonso's move was FAR more aggressive and reckless, yet no penalty given and no one screaming blue murder.


Because the RESULT of the action wasn't that bad (unless you were Grosjean!).

This could have so easily been a HUGE accident - considering the tight nature of the track at Monaco and the close proximity of all the other cars!

The point is - the driving standards in these 2 cases was clearly MUCH lower in Alonso's case, yet no penalty was given.

Grosjean didn't do anything worth mentioning in reality, it was just pure bad luck that it caused such a big accident and he DID NOT deserve a ban!

They were BOTH accidents, so why did Grosjean deserve a penalty and Schumacher not???


I totally agree with you.

What destroys constuctive, objective thinking is when something happens to a 'favourite', be it any driver or Team, then the blinkers come on & vision is reduced to one eye.



this looks very similar to Schumi's crash in Germany during free practice. Was it ever resolved? Could it be a mechanical failure on the car?

Schumacher told sky that he DID brake earlier than usual. If so, the penalty seems a bit harsh. Especially as Schumacher has data from his car to back up his claim.

Also, Antony Davidson (sky) wrote that this could occur to any driver. Actually he did have a similar accident in Le Mans this year.


Davidsons accident was NOTHING like Schumachers.

MS's accident was very like my Auntie's on the fifth roundabout on the A40.


James, do you have any info on how many engines the teams have used, and who's got more fresher engines left? Or do you know where I could get this info?


It seems every steward is getting back at Schumacher for past things. There was no malicious intend. Why did Maldo get 20 secs penalty in Valencia for ramming Hamilton and now Schumacher gets a 10 place drop, while he had no intend.

On the autosport forum there is a list of penalties this year that all drivers received. Is it just me, or is the stewarding getting ridiculous? Maybe we should revert to slot car racing? Do the stewards feel unvalued when they don't diss out at least one penaly/race? Also, the grid drop penalties need to go. Maldo got one for a false start, but crashed before getting a DT. Now his next race is affected.

The chicane cutting at the start was bad. Rosberg started next to MS before the first corner and was 5-6 car lenghts clear at the end of the corner. That is a big advantage.


Short term memory decreases with age, and sometimes you tend to forget some things here and there. This time MS simply forgot to break.


No, he did break. He just didn't brake.


I think the mechanic on the radio was just abit suprised at the incident to be fair, don't think he ment anything sarcastic in how he said it. Also dont forget we only hear certain radio transmissions, I fairly sure they will of asked if he was OK!

As for the incident itself,the way i see it was it from a stewards point of view, it was nothing more than a racing incident & the penalty is way OTT. Even if he had a similar collision perviously why was that taken into accout.... he was already given a penalty for that & wasn't given any suspended one of any sort for any further incident!

I think after the Grosjean incident I think the FIA are showing everyone that do have the power to dish out any form of punishment they want.


Schumacher is still living in the past, its clear the years have caught up with him.

I did not like the way he tried to walk off without saying anything but Vergne was gentlemen enough to ease the tension with a hand on his shoulder.

Vergne may have lost a point or two.


I think you need to watch the sequence again.

Schumacher stood there waiting for Vergne for quite some time and even took some steps towards him as he approached. It also appears that Schumacher is the first to speak, although it's hard to be sure from the camera angle.

There is a lot to say about Schumacher through the years, but that was exemplary behavior as far as I am concerned.


I agree with this statement. It truly was exemplary behaviour by both drivers following the incident.

Schumacher waited for Vergne and while doing so removed his helmet. It appeared to me that Vergne noticed this gesture and followed suit. I can only assume an apology was made and accepted by the subsequent pat on the back by both drivers.

I thought their behaviour showed an enormous level of respect and sportsmanship.


Hello James,

An off-topic question - With just 6 more races to go in the current season, do you know how many engines each team have used so far? Are there any teams a little tight on this front?


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!


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?


A hearing test, I think.


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.


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.


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!


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

I bet he could drive your sofa quicker than you.


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


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??


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.


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.


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.


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?

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 !!


"Go Michael !!"

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


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.


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


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.


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.


Cape Town


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.


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

Regarding negatives during his first career, there were plenty.


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]


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!!


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'


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.


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)?



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?


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?


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.


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.


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.


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!!


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.


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.


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".


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.


+1 for like and dislike buttons...


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)




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).




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.



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 …


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

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