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.”