Schumacher under attack

The recent days have seen a great deal of criticism of Michael Schumacher’s move on Rubens Barrichello at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Mercedes’s Norbert Haug is trying to kill the story, saying that Michael has apologised and that the incident is now closed – but then he would say that, wouldn’t he? His job is keep Mercedes’s image shiny. Michael’s apology was, by all accounts, ordered in Stuttgart rather than being from the heart and a long string of top drivers of yesteryear have waded in with their comments.

“Schumacher has never been able to differentiate between hard racing and what’s beyond a reasonable line – and clearly he still can’t,” said Martin Brundle, once a Schumacher team-mate at Benetton.

“To endanger another competitor in such a way is totally unnecessary. I cannot understand why he does those things,” said triple World Champion Niki Lauda.

“It was one of the most blatant abuses of another driver that I have seen,” said Sir Jackie Stewart. “It is a terrible example from a man who has seven world titles – bully-boy tactics.”

“It was an idiotic manoeuvre that was extremely dangerous,” said Eddie Irvine, another former Schumacher team-mate. “It was incredible. He wasn’t thinking and it was just pure arrogance that he thought he could just drive another driver into the pit wall. He got punished, but I don’t think he got punished enough. He should have got a one race ban because it was one of the worst manoeuvres I’ve ever seen. He’s always done stuff like this and has intimidated people for a long time, but he got away with it because he was Michael Schumacher. He was ‘the’ Michael Schumacher, but this Michael Schumacher isn’t getting away with it.”

“Michael went over the boundary of what is right,” said former F1 racer John Watson. “He knew what he was doing. I didn’t like what I saw. He’s a proud man and didn’t want to be overtaken but he reverted to an ugly animal instinct.”

“That could have been a horrible accident,” said David Coulthard. “He never knows when to give it up — and that might be the case now with his comeback.”

“He’s a seven-time world champion,” said Alexander Wurz. “He knew exactly what he was doing, he did it absolutely deliberately. A collision could have been fatal.”

“I still have shivers after watching that move,” said Ferrari test driver Marc Gene. “It was unnecessary and very dangerous.”

77 thoughts on “Schumacher under attack

  1. Michael’s apology was, by all accounts, ordered in Stuttgart rather than being from the heart

    Can’t say I have much trouble believing that. Mercedes know what happens when a racing car flies into a crowd.

  2. I think its sad ~ Schumacher may still be a competent driver, but he has lost that amazing edge that made him one of the very best and all that is left is the ruthlessness. It really is time he simply retired and faced up to life without motor racing rather than trying to prolong something which is no longer there.

  3. To my mind, the pit wall was one issue, and I totally agree with all the criticism that Schumacher had attracted.

    I still think a possible greater danger would have been had there been another car exiting the pit lane. Both MS and Rubens totally crossed the exit lane, and this could have resulted in catastrophic 3 car mayhem.

    The layout of the exit lane at Budapest is such that there is normally totally adequate room and two cars approaching on the pit side of the pit straight would not cause the guy controlling the pit lane exit light to hold an exiting car.

    I’ve seen very little comment on this potential danger.

  4. Just a thought.

    At what point do we discuss the possibility that Rubens should have backed off…?

    I agree that the situation was dangerous, and that MS should have known better, but Rubens is the most experienced F1 driver. Ever. He is not a passive bystander in all of this.

  5. This is getting ridiculous. What Michael did was wrong. And he’s been punished. That should be the end of it.

    Schumacher went too far with an all to familiar type of ruthlessness that makes F1 Champions. Senna did it and after his death he got canonised. Schumacher acts the same, and he gets demonised.

    You’re one of the best journos out there, Joe. Don’t let your anti-Schumi bias get in the way of objectiveness.

    1. Prasoon,

      In neither of your cases was there the same level of squeezing going on. Senna left Prost plenty of room. He was roundly criticised at the time because the F1 world was not used to such moves then. The Webber one was harder but times and attitudes have changed and now it seems drivers are allowed to do this stuff. But there is still a limit that Schumacher seems to have stepped over. Why else is there all the criticism. Are they all out to get Michael?

  6. Michael Schumacher is under-fire from English people like always! Martin Brundle is always after M.S, always criticizing him.

    And Niki Lauda always has an opinion on everything like
    Mr. Jackie Stewart.

    And what has Mr. Wurz achieved in life compared to M.S? Absolutely nothing!

    So stop exaggerating thinga!

    It’s a strange world! Where Senna is seen as a great driver & M.Schumacher as the evil racing driver! Maybe (God-forbid) M.S needs to die on track to be immortalized!

    1. Ben Easton,

      I am not exaggerating anything. I am simply quoting people who have an opinion. You are allowed your opinion. They are allowed their’s, indeed one might even suggest that being triple World Champions (and so on) they have more of a right than do you… but I will leave that up to others to decide.

  7. I’ve just watched the replay and I noticed the white line on the inside of the track near the pit wall. Michael had moved his car close to that white line when Rubens dived on the inside, crossing the white line in order to pass. Michael then moved more which was the dangerous move. I’m not talking about the pit lane exit line, but the white line running parallel to the wall.

    However, I thought there was a regulation that stated that the boundary of the racing track is within those white lines? This would mean that Michael had completely covered the track and Rubens had attempted to go off the race track in order to pass. If so then perhaps it was Rubens who is partly at fault. I’m not defending Michael – his move was dangerous.

    I could be wrong though. Can someone clear this up?

  8. Mercedes have had lots of extra publicity with the return of Schumacher, good at first but very negative at the moment. Maybe now it is time to contain the damage and put Heidfeld in the car for the rest of the season.

  9. Peter Sauber has said that the ghosts of Lemans 1955 were still present in Stuttgart in 1988. Is it the same now?

    If it is, one would think that Daimler Benz would be starting to have second thoughts about whether the right man — getting ever more desperate and dangerous but not any faster — is in the cockpit of the W01. It will be even worse if his performances in the W02 — pointy and oversteery like Mother used to make — are no better.

    Time for him to discover a kink in his neck and retire with some dignity still intact, I think…

  10. Its quite funny this very same never stop racing attitude and fight for every point is what made Senna so popular.

  11. I never liked Schumacher, but I always respected him. That is, up until I heard his comments about the (apparent) Ferrari team order. He thought it was ok, if that was required to secure the championship. He didn’t have any trouble that it was against the rules. Something like if you can anything you can get away with to win.

    I think we saw that arrogant mindset in action at Hungaroring.

  12. Schumi was squeezing Rubens but Rubens was also pushing Schumacher.
    Off course it was dangerous driving but this have gone out of propotion because Michael Schumacher was invoved.
    And the usual suspects know they can get attention everytime Schumi is involved…
    Last time there was Alonso and Ferrari everybody was shouting at,before that Horner and Red Bull.
    I wondering who is it next time;-)
    And no,i’m not THE Stig:-)

  13. What has Mr. Martin Brundle, David Coluthard, Alexzander Wurz, Eddie Irvine ( who was banned from three race also in 1994) John Watson achieved in there career compared to M.Schumacher? Like I said before NOTHING!

    And the likes of Martin Brundle, David Coluthard, Alexzander Wurz, Eddie Irvine are just getting to take out there years of frustration on Schumi because the way & to the embarrassing limits Schumi destroyed them on track!

    Coming to Jackie Stewart, he is a patriotic man! When Mclaren was caught cheating & were fined 100million dollars, he was behind them & almost supporting them.So his loyalty lies with his countrymen.

    And if what they have achieved in life matters before they make a comment then M.Schumi has won Seven titles which is four more than what Jackie or Niki has won. So does that mean, what Michael says should be written on the walls?

    Niki always says different things, his statements change many a time!

    Yes I do think they are all out to get him! Have read the newspapers? It’s filled with hatred of & about Schumi! No wonder he doesn’t like to talk with the british press!

    And all this fuss is happening because it’s Michael Schumacher! The person the English people love to hate!

    And I have never said what Schumi did was right! What he did was wrong, got punished for it, has apologized.

    Now get over it!

    1. Ben,

      Why is it that people always fall back on blaming the British whenever someone who is not British is punished? It is utter claptrap. I would have the same discussion if it were another driver. It wasn’t. It was Schumacher. It has got nothing to do with one nationality or another. The stewards in Hungary were Enzo Spano, the President of the Comisión Deportiva Automovilística de Venezuela; Radovan Novak, President of the FIA Central Europe Zone; Lajos Herczeg, Vice President the National Automobilsport Federation of Hungary; and Derek Warwick, a former F1 driver. The media across the world has condemned Schumacher, the French newspaper L’Equipe labelled him “a public danger”.

      “Nationalism is an infantile disease” – Albert Einstein.

  14. Prasoon

    In both instances you pointed out, there was a lot of space left by the defending driver for the attacker before backing off back to the left. Pretty much run of the mill defending position even if looked under todays rules. One move allowed.

    OTOH Schumacher pushed Rubens to bare millimeters from the wall which was not only dangerous but reckless. More importantly Schumacher never backed off even though it was clear that he would be passed. He just kept pushing. Maybe he needs to take some anger management classes before he kills somebody.

  15. I looked at the linked videos of Senna and Webber. The Webber one in particular is pretty bad too. So, it would seem that Schumi isn’t the only one that is prone to a bout of extreme hooliganism.

    That said, the transgressions of others really do nothing to justify the dangerous stunt that was pulled on Sunday. It is wrong regardless of what Webber did in Fuji or any other case. I have often found Michael to be an exciting and entertaining driver, but when he dips to these lows, I find it very dissappointing.

    Could Rubens have backed off and tried again? Well, I guess so, but again, I don’t see how that really is a defense for Michael. What he did was very wrong IMO. The fact that others have been similarly wrong in the past, while instructive, is not a defense.

  16. I have no real respect for the opinions of most of the people mentioned because I think their views aren’t unbiased in anyway at all. You’ve got two groups:
    1.) The bitter ex drivers who couldn’t get near MS. Namely Coulthard, Brundle, Wurz, Warwick etc. These people were never going to be out and out champions like Prost, Senna, Schumacher and Alonso. They didn’t have the winners instinct, which is partially the cause of the move. Brundle and Coulthard too often use the BBC as their soapbox to whinge about people they don’t like.
    2.) The old opinionated men, Lauda and Stewart (the latter of which is incredibly biased). They like to be quoted, on everything from double diffusers to driving standards.

    Whilst I’m not defending Schumachers move (which was pretty damn dangerous, and nobody can defend his 94 and 97 moves) I’m still waiting to see if we’ll get a Prost or someone of that calibre who will criticise the move. It’s all well and good people taking pops at the guy because of the history they have with him, but tbh I’ve heard it so many times from these people that I actually think they’re always looking to try and score points on anyone they don’t really like. Alonso is a good example, he’s not British(and has some latin fire in him), not driving a McLaren and sometimes things get lost in translation, net result is the British media slates the guy whenever they can, Hamilton and Button do plenty of moaning too. It’s all just a bit pathetic, just as is all the critisim of Vettel who’d be off into the WDC distance if Red Bull had a car that didn’t fall apart so often, it’s all helpfully forgotten and all his DNF’s suddenly become his own fault etc etc.

    All that and I’m British and support Jenson Button and have no real liking of Schumacher, Alonso or Vettel…

  17. To Ben Easton:

    Slagging off the likes of Lauda and Stewart will get you nowhere. Their opinions are regularly solicited by the media because they are incisive, savvy, articulate, and they’ve been there.

    Lauda is the probably the most intelligent driver ever to win the WDC (he certainly wasn’t the quickest most days), so must be worth listening to. As for JYS, he’s one of the very few who has contributed as much to the sport as he’s taken from it. I worked for him for a year and he was 100% brilliant as a boss.

  18. It’s not racing anymore when your arrogance starts defending your ego to the point where it becomes dangerous.

    We’ve all been here before with Michael, on way too many occasions, so what has to happen, before you all accept that his actions cannot be justified? I really dread to think.

  19. I thought Schumacher’s apology was very passive-aggressive. “I am sorry if you felt threatened.” This is basically not an apology, it is an accusation of timidness.

  20. I don’t think it’s any great secret that Schumi was a brilliant driver, but a poor racer.

    Jenson’s been stuck behind MS several times this season for many laps, in an obviously faster car. JB’s been around long enough to know how MS operates. I wonder to what extent his failure to pass the German is influenced by the thought: “If I try to force a pass on MS, it’s likely to come to tears. Better to finish and take the points on offer.”

    Perhaps not, but any experienced driver has to know that MS is one of the drivers more likely than not to shut the door on a legit passing attempt. As was his brother.

  21. **Paul**

    I’m afraid to say you need get an education in the history of motor racing and its great drivers.
    “Opinionated old men” they maybe but nobody has done more for motor racing than JYS, He is also where the F1 drivers go for coaching. That entitles him to air his opinions.
    Lauda has also done a great deal for our sport. That entitles him to air his opinions.
    The following are not motor sport greats, just top drawer Professional Racing Drivers and winners.
    Brundle, World Sports Car Champion 1988, LeMans Winner 1994.
    Coulthard, Highest British F1 points scorer, look at his career.
    Warwick, World Sports Car Champion and LeMans Winner 1992.
    Wurz, LeMans Winner 2009

    “no real respect for the opinions”
    How many top line races have you won?
    That is why I respect these Professional Racing Drivers’ opinions.

    Ben Easton

    Ask yourself why JYS and Niki are respected by their peers and the “Great Schuie” is not.

    Needless to say comments like this from people on the blog are not what its all about for me, if thats your bag go to another planet(F1).

  22. Had Jonesy been in Barrichello’s position I suspect MS would now be using ice packs to lessen the swelling.

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

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

  24. It’s true Rubens could have backed off but what sort of message does that send? It says once you get behind Michael Schumacher don’t try to pass him or else, it condones his behaviour from where I am sitting and makes him far more likely to carry on doing the same thing if someone dares to try and overtake him the next time. It wasn’t even for the lead (not that it would have been excusable if it had been). His attitude afterwards to it all was terrible I felt, his apology only came because he saw how angry people were and to save face.

    Those other drivers that have spoken out all have an opinion like we do, they also have the knowledge of how they would feel if someone tried to do that to them. They’ve been there and done that and know the score. Are they biased? Maybe, but then who is totally neutral? We all have our own views and rightly so.

    Should he be banned from the sport for that move? Of course he should and so should any other driver who does the same kind of thing. Do we really have to wait before someone is horrifically injured or killed before we stamp this kind of behaviour out of the sport we all love? I sure as hell hope not.

  25. …on the other hand, if he feels for whatever reason that he has nothing left to lose or nothing to occupy him other than racing, then there’s no point in retiring to preserve his dignity or whatever — and no point in ceasing to race the way he has always raced: uncompromisingly, shall we say.

    Perhaps he’s determined to go down with his colours flying.

  26. Im sure getting tired of all of the apologists.
    He blew it ,he denied it,he backtracks,he apologizes.
    If he didnt do anything wrong,Why are we all still talking about it?
    Stop with all the excuses.

  27. “My heart was in my mouth and I had the same horrible feeling as when Mark Webber’s car took off a few weeks ago” David Hodge – old, fat Renault Scenic driver.

  28. I’m sorry, I can’t remember where or when (recent though, this season) but there have been a couple of instances of driver’s squeezing an opponent towards the pit wall.

    Schumacher’s move was simply on a far greater scale. So I think its right to repremand him so strongly, but any more (race bans etc) wouldn’t have been overly fair considering others have gotten away with it (albeit as mentioned not pushing quite as far).

    There needs to be some reconsideration of this issue. We all know and hold as an absolute that when a guy is overtaking up the inside of a corner the guy defending must leave at least a car width. However, when the guy overtaking goes to the outside it seems to be a complete contradiction that prevailing opinion seems to be that the overtaker can simply be driven off the track – where is the ‘must leave space’ argument there. The best recent example is Alonso on Kubica at Silverstone. Kubica simply ran Alonso off the track. And I haven’t heard anyone mention this without backing up what Kubica did. Another example being the move Hamilton made on Kimi in Spa – the one that precipitated the controversy over Hamilton being dropped down the order.

    If the cars are alongside each other going into a braking zone – even if one car only has nose/wheels alongside rather than the whole car then the defending car should give them room. Not let them past. Just allow a car’s width of track.

    The pit wall situation the otherday is an extention of this. If a car has clearly got the run on you, you shouldn’t push them off the circuit.

    Making this a more firm ruling that space for a car must be left – NO pushing a car off the track – can only encourage more drivers to have a go and increase the excitment. And if they are on the outside they are still not in the best place either, its not like this would simply ban a driver defending at all.

  29. Schumacher’s block was a dangerous move? Racing is dangerous.

    He left him mere millimeters? Sounds like he left him room then. Not too much, but enough.

    Blocking is always awful. This one was no worse than a dozen others this season. The potential for the tide of public opinion to finally turn against MS is what makes his critics so vocal about this latest close call. The story reads like Rubens is presently in the hospital rather than that they didn’t actually collide.

  30. Ben Easton, I think your being a bit unfair, the ranks of ex drivers you mentioned might not have scored as many wins and championships as Schumacher but that doesnt mean they dont know a dangerous move when they see it. If your reasoning is to be followed no one on earth could say anything bad about Schumacher! Stewart and Lauda both dominated their eras and retired early due to the dangers of the sport at the time. It is also worth noting that Stewart won 3 championsips in a career only spanning 99 Grand Prix.
    Schumachers move was dangerous pointless and ill judged and if Lewis or Jenson did something similar they would be rightly criticised in the Uk press.

  31. The Times 3rd leader yesterday (4th August):

    ‘There comes a moment in every career when the self-belief no longer matches reality.’

    ‘Michael Schumacher demonstrated that he has now crossed the line between genius and self-delusion.’

    ‘Schumacher’s comeback belongs to that sad tradition of men who do not know when to stop. But there is one difference. A punch-drunk boxer risks only his own life. A racing driver, as Barrichello will attest, also risks the lives of others.’

    I can’t think of anything to add.

  32. The stewards are at least consistant in being inconsistant.
    Michael didn’t hit Rubens, he left him just enough room and Rubens got past.
    Mark Webber hit Heikki and put him in the wall and gets no punishment.
    The Red Bull drivers hit each other and get no punishment.
    The McLaren drivers hit each other.
    Sebastian hit Pedro and despite Pedro complaining, gets no punishment.
    If the quotes from the steward and from Derek Warwick are true then they should be banned from being F1 stewards in the future.
    One last thing….. was it really not possible to retrieve one piece of bodywork with out sending out the safety car? or was this, as seen by the famous ‘man down the pub’ another race ‘fixed’ by race control.

  33. The added problem is that Michael currently isn’t very good. Had he been winning races, or at least taking the fight to his team mate, perhaps we’d have all been saying it was dangerous in the extreme, but hey, he was looking for a win! Instead, he was looking to preserve tenth position.

  34. Let’s just say this again: every bit of work – and it was a lot of work – that MS did to shed his old image and come across as a nice guy, with a fresh attitude which had a lot of people captivated depite his performance, those people definitely including who were not ever his fans, has been totally trashed.

    Worth about minus a lot of millions in sponsorship dollars.

    So much for Shumi hoping he gets a suitable 2011 car. I mean a car at all.

  35. Nice to see the Schumacher cult are back out in force. They have been very quiet since his comeback. Now that their god has received some criticism they have received their call to arms and are back chanting their moronic slogans and showing their inability or unwillingness to observe and analyse.

    At what point do we discuss the possibility that Rubens should have backed off…?

    Awesome. Drivers should never dare overtake the blessèd Michael. Should he shove them into a wall they should back off and let him keep his position. Are you seriously saying that Rubens should not dare overtake? This is racing and people are allowed to overtake Schumacher but he is not allowed to risk their life.

    This is getting ridiculous. What Michael did was wrong. And he’s been punished. That should be the end of it.

    This is one of the standard defences of the Schumacher cult. The incident is over so don’t talk about it. I heard this when he rammed Hill in 1994, Villeneuve in 1997, when he tried to shove Hakkinen of the track at Spa a180mph and put Alonso’s 4 wheels on the grass at 200mph on the Hangar straight at Silverstone, when he parked his car at Monaco and when he pushed his own brother into a pitwall.

    It is not over. So long as that maniac is involved in motor racing it is not over. I can imagine Schumacher fans blaming another driver when Schumacher eventually kills one.

    If you think it is over why are you commenting on it? Or do you believe only the Schumacher fans have the right to an opinion?

    What has Mr. Martin Brundle, David Coluthard, Alexzander Wurz, Eddie Irvine ( who was banned from three race also in 1994) John Watson achieved in there career compared to M.Schumacher? Like I said before NOTHING!

    Clearly you don’t know the background to the Irvine ban or you would know he did not deserve the ban. I can’t believe I am defending Irvine. Irvine was Schumacher’s doormat for years and has had a good look at him close up. To use the phrase in vogue in F1 for these things Irvine knows where the bodies are buried.

    What have you achieved as a racing driver? Everyone you have named has achieved vastly more than you so by your yardstick their opinions are more relevant than yours. Ask yourself why no independent person has come out to defend Schumacher. Or maybe you think only Schumacher is entitled to an opinion and the rest of us should just listen to him.

    Coming to Jackie Stewart, he is a patriotic man! When Mclaren was caught cheating & were fined 100million dollars, he was behind them & almost supporting them.So his loyalty lies with his countrymen.

    Read the transcripts of the McLaren and Renault cases.

    Jackie Stewart is nothing but a blind patriot unable to think. Don’t think so. Jackie Stewart is the reason Schumacher is alive today because had it not been for Stewart’s work getting safety in motor racing out of the dark ages Schuamcher could not drive the way he does and be alive today.

    You should also know that Jackie Stewart’s best friend in F1 until his death was Jochen Rindt who was born in Germany. Maybe Jackie was so stupid he thought Rindt was from Cornwall and that is why he liked him

    Why do you think Christian Danner slaughtered Schumacher? Maybe he wants British citizenship.

    Yes I do think they are all out to get him! Have read the newspapers? It’s filled with hatred of & about Schumi! No wonder he doesn’t like to talk with the british press!

    I haven’t read the papers. Never seen the point. You have to ask what is the greater offence putting another driver’s life at risk or printing nasty words about the driver who has spent his whole career since F3 ramming other cars when they dare to beat him. No doubt you think it is the newspapers who have never put a driver at risk that are worse.

    Out of curiosity why would the British press be out to get a has been racing driver? Do you think Rupert Murdoch and the other owners had a meeting and told their sports editors that they had to have 10,000 words a week slagging off Schumacher. Why would the British press do that?

    Do you really believe that he is not being criticised in no other country in the world?

    However, I thought there was a regulation that stated that the boundary of the racing track is within those white lines? This would mean that Michael had completely covered the track and Rubens had attempted to go off the race track in order to pass. If so then perhaps it was Rubens who is partly at fault. I’m not defending Michael – his move was dangerous.

    Absolutely correct. The pit wall is over one car width beyond the edge of the track marked by the white line.

  36. Andrew McCombe raised an interesting question earlier and I have seen no answer. What are the limits of the track on the pit straight and are drivers really allowed to cross the white line?

    I am not saying that Michael was not OTT, but I do worry that this is yet another area where the rules are completely inconsistent.

    If a driver squeezes an opponent off the track at a corner (e.g. Kubica and Alonso), it is often the opponent who is penalised because he ends up gaining an advantage – but what is he to do other than crash? We also see opposite happen at the first corner of most starts where instead it is accepted that cars can take a “short-cut”… the alternative often being a collision.

    However, given the existence of a hard concrete wall on the straight plus the upcoming pit exit, the white line should surely mark the absolute edge of the track. It would then be an offence for a driver to use it for overtaking… or for that matter to deliberately squeeze another car beyond the line. All of the incidents mentioned so far (Senna, Webber, Schumacher) were all potentially dangerous and it is odd that there is no ruling…. and we all debate about where the limit is. Drivers will always test the limit unless it is completely well defined.

    After all, there are all sorts of rules (max speed, release procedure) about what can happen the other side of the wall in the pit-lane for safety reasons.

  37. “Are they all out to get Michael?”

    Yes, they are, I think.

    You never become a 7-time WDC without making enemies.

    It was a dangerous move, unecessarily so, maybe to leniently punished I am more than happy to agree, but there is no way some of the people you quote are unbiased observers, they have to biased because Michael got the better of them through driving and team politics. BTW, the latter seems to be rather an important quality in a successful F1 driver, apparently it never has been just driving skill alone, no do not pretend it to be otherwise…

    Even Niki somewhat retracted in a second statement on German TV, Michael saying in an interview he thought the move was ok but that he had not seen it on TV, as well all did and were appalled by it.

  38. I saw the manouvre live and on replays, and yes, it was dangerous and yes they were lucky it ended well.

    But just a week before I saw a Top Gear episode highlighting Senna’s carreer, and they showed very much the same kind of moves. The same Martin Brundle was fondly commenting on a move by Senna which left Brundle trapped under Senna’s car.

    And I’m left thinking: why are so many people getting on Michael’s case, this hard? I find it hard to believe that they’re doing so based solely upon this one move.

    Schumacher’s move might not have been wise, but it was well executed, against someone he knew could take the heat or get out of the kitchen, if not because of his experience alone. It was perhaps more commendable that between the two of them they managed to let the other live and to get out of harms way and still pass.

    I am a great fan of F1, Schumacher, Barrichello, and all the other drivers who achieve their successes on the track and are not backstabbers and dishonest like say Fernando Alonso.
    I’m glad to see Michael fighting for what he wants, and to see Rubens showing him his own set of skills. That’s F1 for me!

  39. Prasoon –

    The two clips you’ve posted are not in any way the same as what MS did to Rubens.

    Senna – made one single swift move across the track IN FRONT of Prost, he then left more than a cars width beside him and the wall to which Prost made his move, and within a second Senna moved back across to the racing line.

    Webber – again made a more gradual move across the track IN FRONT of Massa, but held a more than car’s width gap between himself and the wall to which Massa chose to dive down.

    Now look at the Schumacher move –

    Schumacher moves across the track IN FRONT of Barrichello, with his helmet clearly looking into his right hand mirror.

    Barrichello moves to inside line and half way up Schumachers car at a point where there is more than a car’s width of space between MS and the wall.

    Schumacher CONTINUES to move across the track, thereby reducing the gap to the wall to no more than a few centimetres more than a car width, and not until they are well into the pit line exit does he relent and move back to the racing line.

    If we slowed down time you would see:

    Senna – was across the track and back on racing line within a couple of seconds and clearly defending his position with Prost firmly behind him

    Webber – moved across track and held position, leaving a gap between the wall and himself that Massa chose to dive down. Crucially Webber did not decide to move closer to the wall once Massa made this move.

    Schumacher – moved across the track, and did not react to the fact Barrichello was half way up the side of his car (a la Villeneuve in Jerez?) and continued to move closer to the wall.

    It’s downright dangerous, ignorant, and stupid. Even if Barrichello backed off, he would still be at risk of running his front left over Schumachers rear right, launching him into the air and potentially onto the pit wall, wiping out half of F1’s management (okay okay, so maybe not all that bad!)

  40. Everyone seems to have been so shocked at Schumacher’s apology that they missed what he was actually sorry for. He didn’t say he was sorry for the move, he said he was sorry that Barrichelo saw it as dangerous. That’s an apology?

  41. Both drivers were at fault.
    Rubens for overtaking in the no go pitlane exit and Micheal for then attempting to kill him.
    The pitlane exit is being used as part of the racing track by todays drivers, if not stopped I fear the worst. This is a practice the stewards can easily stamp out. Just try it on a trackday, i’ve seen a few sent home go that.

    Joe, what are your thoughts about this and driving standards in F1.

  42. the pics tell the tale::

    the video :

    Rubens wants so much take its revenge on Michael that it choose to pass Michael, in front of the stand, and being already half out off track when arriving on the german’s back wheels! He should know, too, that it will cross blindly the pit lane exit doing so!

    Furthermore, the passing on the right is not even the proper racing line considering the right hand curve following the pit exit lane.

  43. Primarily the cause of this uproar is Michael, yes, but the uproar itself is being generated by people paid to make fatuous comments. I will never defend Schumacher’s excesses any more than you will, Joe, but by far the greater concern is the quality of the coverage.

    How surprising that E. Irvine Esq kept his counsel in the team orders ‘scandal’ par example…

  44. Joe,

    You’re spot-on in putting these quotes up for all to see, since many fanboys seem to think you have some sort of bias towards MSC. When you’ve got a crowd of qualified, respected ex-drivers and world champions telling the world that this was out-of-hand, reasonable people should be moved to consider that maybe, just maybe MSC should be held accountable and be put to the full flame of media and fans who agree on the issue (not to mention the FIA, who have decided to take their time to sort this one out).

    It wasn’t about Rubino forcing the pass. It isn’t about Senna, or Prost, or the past. It’s about what happened last Sunday despite all the horrible things we’ve seen the past 20 years in open-wheel racing. It isn’t even about who we’re discussing – its the actions. People would do well to remember the rules apply to everyone, no matter their initials.

  45. I reviewed it on several Youtube clips to see if there was any validity to the comments about Barrichello over taking by deliberately driving off the track. (Over the white line)

    None at all.
    The approach is made when Michael is still in the centre of the track. Reubens is committed and on his way into the manouvre, alongside the rear wheels when Michael comes over.
    He then moves right to avoid a collision

    The whole thing is very very fast in real time.
    Some clips give you the view right from before the entry coming onto the straight.
    Barrichello sets up for it. Rear camera view from Michaels car indicates that he should have been very aware Reubens was there.
    If Michael had driven straight there wouldn’t have been a need for Reubens to cross the white line.

  46. Just like many things in the world, the ipod or iphone or Obama’s rise to fame, the social pandemic is out there. This time around, its ‘anti-schumi’. Can only shrugg em off.

    1. Arun,

      Using your logic, the pro-Schumacher movement, back in the old days, was a pandemic as well…

  47. Rubens wants so much take its revenge on Michael that it choose to pass Michael, in front of the stand, and being already half out off track when arriving on the german’s back wheels! He should know, too, that it will cross blindly the pit lane exit doing so!

    You should be able to get a refund from your optician.

    Look at the second picture in the photobucket link you posted. Rubens has started his overtake and you still cannot see the white line. Don’t let the facts get in the way of your opinion though.

    Furthermore, the passing on the right is not even the proper racing line considering the right hand curve following the pit exit lane.

    Have you seen motor racing before? The normal way to pass a driver is on the inside of a corner. The previous corner was a right hander as is the next so the normal place to pass is on the right. Why would any driver other than Jacques Villeneuve at Estoril try to pass someone on the outside? I loved that move JV made when he drove right round the outside of Schumacher. That worked for one reason only. It was totally unexpected and the layout of the corner meant that Schumacher could not see him until it was too late and couldn’t react. If Rubens put himself on the outside of the slow first corner at Hungary Schumacher would just have squeezed him wide. Rubens made a sensible move which he is entirely allowed to do and Schumacher decided to shove him off the track towards the wall.

    Primarily the cause of this uproar is Michael, yes, but the uproar itself is being generated by people paid to make fatuous comments.

    Complete nonsense. Do you really believe Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda let the market decide their opinion? Do you really think that all the people who have made negative comments about Schumacher do so because they are being paid to? Why did Alex Wurz give the statement he did? Why did Christian Danner who works for German TV do it? Are you seriously suggesting someone is telling Eddie Irvine what to say?

    Where can I find someone to pay me for criticising Schumacher because I have made thousnads of similar comments for most of his F1 career? Someone owes me a load of money. I am rich. Of course these just could be sensible people making sensible comments and I am still as poor as I was when I first read your comment.

    1. Steven,

      You need to give some indication as to which comments you are referring to, so that folk can follow the arguments

  48. I think some of the old gloss has worn off + people are now seeing Schumacher more clearly. Or they are being reminded.

    The apology seems more to say he was sorry that Rubens felt threatened rather than for the dangerous move.

    I wish Schumacher would go. I am not interested in his kind of racing.

  49. Ross Brawn must be ruing the day he let Button go to McLaren. He’s now stuck with a slow driver who brings no credit on his team and is constantly in the limelight because of the stunts he does on the track. The guy should have got a 3 race ban for what he did. As a seven time champ he should be way above that sort of behaviour.

  50. Sorry Joe but it appears to me that you’re up to your old tricks again. Can you explain to me what the reasoning was behind you posting this collection of quotes that have been well documented and over exposed on too many websites already. Was this not not just an excuse to rub salt in wounds and once more go for the jugular as the press takes its delight in attacking Schumacher while it’s the hip thing to do?

    If you can explain to me the specific thoughts that went through your mind when you decided to make this post that would be useful for me in understanding you a little better.


    Australian Autosport Community

    1. Matt,

      I posted these quotes so that you could see what the world was saying. If you do not want to read them, don’t read them. It really is very simple.

  51. It really annoys me when people accuse others of bias due to their nationality. When one reads comments by such people they often reveal the nationalistic fervour of the writer. A pot-kettle scenario you might say.

    The other argument that irks is the one that criticises pundits and other drivers because they haven’t achieved as much as the protagonist. The logical conclusion to this argument is that no one can ever criticise MS as no one has even achieved what he has in the sport.

    Can’t you come up with better arguments than these?

    Schumacher moved to the centre of the track to block Barrichello. He then made a second move when he saw which way Rubens went. Barrichello got all four wheels over the white line to avoid the collision. Schumacher left him precisely one car width with which to work. He used it.

    Hard? Yes
    Skillful? Yes
    Dangerous? Yes
    Exciting? Yes
    Penalty? Probably

  52. These quotes have been plastered all over the internet. It’s quite clear from reading Joe’s responses to comments over the months that he finds the majority of fans dumb but the numbers speak for themselves, Schumacher is still the most popular German driver by quite a large margin (source: JAF1) and remains far more popular than Sebastian Vettel. This is something that has to be extremely worrying for the German stakeholders of the sport. As polarising a shadow Michael Schumacher casts, his gravitas is infinitely more valuable to Mercedes than what Nick Heidfeld could offer.

    The incident is not as widely condemned as media outlets and “top line” drivers paint it to be (source: so this is hardly a PR disaster for Mercedes. I think as time passes, more people will find Rubens Barrichello responsible for putting his car off the track to attempt a dangerous overtaking move with the pitlane exit fast approaching. Rubens himself said any other driver or time and he wouldn’t have gone for the gap, but given that it was Michael and all the history and baggage between the two he didn’t relent and turned what was an aggressive, defensive, possibly desperate but ultimately legal piece of driving into this seasons biggest scandal.

    Australian Autosport Community

  53. MS was non PC hard but fair. Toys-out-of-pram ain’t Michael’s style either. He’s in grand prix motor racing.

  54. Isn’t it the case that if MS had been having a quiet season developing the car and getting used to modern f1 we could have looked at this as being race rusty, but when you look at the totality of the races to date , especially Canada, a bigger picture emerges. If a driver new to GP racing had driven like this no one would have challenged the comments that have been made, in the old days I imagine Mario would have taken the offender to one side for a quiet chat.
    On the subject of JYS only having three championships let us not forget that in the cars of the day that’s little short of miraculous.
    I cannot see Senna or Shumi driving a Lotus 49 or Ferrari 312 and surviving long without a radical change of style.

    By the way I don’t see Dell Boy being totally anti body contact as he used to be World Stock Car Champ.

  55. Can we just agree that Rubens’ move was gutsy and worked? As someone else commented Kimi gave Michael no more room in Brazil ’06. Had Rubens not reached for his tissues after the race would we really all still be talking about it?

    Rubens and Michael judged the overtake very well, at a speed only they can comprehend. It’s clearly the best overtake of Rubens’ career and the highlight of the race.

    I just can’t understand what all the fuss is about.

  56. Chris Page –

    You raise an interesting point about being required to leave room on the inside vs. on the outside once there is overlap between a lead car and an overtaking car. My comment here does not specifically relate to MS’s reprehensible move, but to overtaking rules generally.

    As I think about it, I am not sure there is any better way to articulate OR police the outside “rule”.

    Its (relatively) easier to leave the overtaking car room on the inside of a corner- after turn in, throttle application can be delayed/modulated such that at exit/track out the lead car stays on track surface, albeit at a lower speed. This results in a lower v min for the car being overtaken, and is the root of the classic “over under” . This is a fair ask, since absent a collision it is likely that both cars will make the corner. (This presumes the overtaking car had overlap at turn in, and wasn’t dive bombing the corner from way back.)

    If an overtaking car is outside at corner entry, the problem is more diffucult. Once a car has turned in at a specific entry speed, it is very difficult, at the limit of adhesion, to “choose” a different track-out point than the one your original line and turn in point would take you to. To turn in at a lower v min is basically to concede the corner, and I don’t think we want the lead car to do that. To unwind the steering more slowly is to concede the corner, and and I don’t think we want the lead car to do that. Either of the above options would be too much to ask, given that the outside passer may not even be able to hold the outside line through the corner; the lead driver won’t know the overtaker has successfully done so until he’s already committed to his line. I think this is why the lead car in outside overtakes is generally granted more leeway to “crowd out” the overtaking car – its physics– and why outside overtakes are often spectacular (either because they succeed, or because they fail).

    (Pardon the ramble on, but had this happen at a Club race some time ago…)

  57. Matt

    I don’t know know what you are complaining about those quotes. I haven’t had the time to check around, and was quite pleased they were posted here.

    It was a dirty move for a guy with a history of dirty moves. And he got a light penalty out of it. Which is more than he got in the past.

    Somebody asked why didn’t Rubens lift. He should have, when the wheels were interlocked, and the Sschumacher problem would have been solved for good. He’s not going to stop his dirty driving until something catastrophic happens.

  58. For me, the most telling criticisms of a driver are the ones that come from experienced drivers who know what it is to race. For so many drivers to come out and condemn Michael so widely says more than anything else. And all of them are dead right.

  59. Loti:

    Are you serious? Pickup the bodywork without the safety car? You’ve certainly never done that job. Heck, your comments make it sound like you’ve never even been to a race!

    Take my word for it, even with ‘slow’ forumulas and categories, going trackside whilst the track is hot is a lot more dangerous and frightful than it appears from your armchair, and that’s if everything goes well.

  60. Schumacher can indeed be a dangerous driver at times. The penalty sis totally justified. However, is he the most dangerous driver of all times, in F1? I don’t think so. The Master of dangerous driving, imo, is Senna. Anybody remembers that race in Hungary that was won by Boutsen? And Senna’s comments after that? He was reported to have said that he only allowed Boutsen to win because Boutsen was a friend. Senna would have driven any other driver off the track, like he did with Patrese, Mansell, and so many others during that race. Yet Senna always got away with his aggressive tactics. Even when he nearly killed Prost at Suzuka, in the most shameful incident ever to happen on a F1-track, he never got punished … How come, Joe? Maybe you already wrote about this in another post, but what is your view on Senna’s aggressiveness?

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