Michael Schumacher still refuses to explain 2006 Rascasse controversy

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher caused a furore by parking his car during qualifying in 2006
Michael Schumacher caused a furore by parking his car during qualifying in 2006

Michael Schumacher makes his first racing appearance at Monaco this weekend since the notorious controversy he caused there in 2006.

Schumacher tried to hold on to pole position in qualifying that year by parking his car at the exit of Rascasse corner, preventing other drivers from improving their time. The stewards saw through the ruse and sent him to the back of the grid.

He has never explained his actions and became hostile when asked for an explanation by the media at Monaco today.

According to Adam Cooper Schumacher turned on the press when asked if the incident was a low point in his career:

You made it ?ǣ some of you guys. I mean, let?s look forward and not backwards. […]

I mean you can keep trying absolutely, but we?re not talking about 2006 any more. There?s enough said I don?t feel that I need to go any deeper into it??
Michael Schumacher

Schumacher may not feel the need to explain himself. But his refusal to do so shows his utter contempt for press and fans alike who recognised his move for the blatant act of cheating it was. As the stewards said at the time:

The stewards can find no justifiable reason for the driver to have braked with such undue, excessive and unusual pressure at this part of the circuit, and are therefore left with no alternatives but to conclude that the driver deliberately stopped his car on the circuit in the last few minutes of qualifying, at a time at which he had thus far set the fastest lap time.

As long as Schumacher persists in his denial he will continue to face uncomfortable questions from the media. Weighed against that, would an admission of guilt be that hard to swallow?

Read more: Monaco 2006: Stewards slam Schumacher

Image (C) Ferrari spa

176 comments on “Michael Schumacher still refuses to explain 2006 Rascasse controversy”

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  1. HounslowBusGarage
    12th May 2010, 20:52

    Schumacher is undoubtedly one of the two or three best ever drivers, and certainly one of the most intelligent and reasoning.
    But sometimes, he just seems to made a wrong decision on the spur of the moment. I doubt that he started the qualifying session with that kind of move in mond. It probably just popped into his head half a second before he did it. I doubt that he considered taking Hill out or trying the same on Villeneuve for more than a moment before he actually did it.
    But having made those stupid moves, and realising with hindsight that they were definitely stupid he probably can’t even admit it to himself that he really made them. So there’s no chance he’s going to admit to anything in front of a bunch of journalists.
    If he “became hostile” today, it’s because he hasn’t worked out his position on the incident. He hasn’t been able to work out a logical and resonable riposte because he hasn’t actually admitted to himself that it happened.
    Just an impetuous act or ‘brain fart’ as The Pink Bengal has it.
    He’s never going to admit it, so we might as well get over it as Rampante says (but the incident in question wasn’t 16 years ago, it was in 2006, Rampante).
    There. Phsychological stuff over.

    1. The UK hate of Schumacher started 16 years ago with the attempted assassination of Hill and being responsible for the destruction of the rain forests, the collapse of the Roman, Egyptian, Greek, Mayan, Inca and possibly the Russia(disputed)empires and never stopped. It is also rumoured that prior to driving in F1 he created several plagues before setting off a few volcanoes and earthquakes.

      1. So on his return he might just be responsible not only for ousting Button from Mercedes, but for the Iceland volcanous, the exploded oil rig, crashed Lybian airplane yesterday etc. ;-)

        A controversial character, i love Mercedes for bringing him back, there is so much more to discuss and we have more enemy nr. 1s to choose from (Alonso for the UK, Hamilton for the Spanish and maybe Italian allso, Schumi for all but the Germans).

        This just makes it a great season.

  2. just a thought i wonder what the new stewarding system would off made of schumachers actions that day ?

    1. Well Damon Hill’s a steward this weekend so we may find out!

  3. Interesting : Another Schumacher bashing post, sorry I couldn’t resist joining in.

    Its being suggested here that Lewis Hamilton owed upto his lying, I seem to distinctly remember a slip of tongue in a press conference was the nail in the coffin and not an admission of guilt. His statement didn’t match up. As far as being apologetic was concerned, he didnt really have a choice with the PR ensuring the good boy image and his guilt being established beyond doubt. If his guilt wouldnt have been established, he too would have denied much like McLaren did in the following episode before they were also caught.

    Also, if we go further back to the spygate scandal, McLaren had almost been let off before the emails were discovered and guilt was established beyond doubt.

    So please don’t indulge in double standards, bash everyone equally, if Schumi deserves a bashing for parking in Monaco, so does Lewis for the white lies and Mclaren deserves a bashing for spying and using Ferrari tech. in their cars. (apparently without the knowledge of Ronn Dennis :D )

    1. I don’t see how you can say ‘Hamilton apologised but it doesn’t count’ and then accuse someone else of double standards.

      How’s this for double standards: Both Hamilton and Schumacher were caught cheating by the stewards. But afterwards only one of them said this:

      It is right for me as a human being and as a man to stand in front of you all and tell you exactly what went on and put up my hands. I cannot tell you how sorry I am. I’m sorry to my team and my family for the embarrassment.

      1. See, Hamilton was caught, caught with irrefutable proof, Schumacher was not, its human tendency to try and find refuge in doubt.

        1. Also, being a F1 blogger, I am sure you do realise the kind of PR that goes behind Lewis Hamilton and projecting himself as a good kid

        2. I think you have a point here: wasn’t radio traffic intercepted or something which proved Hamilton’s guilt ? He had no choice but to come clean.
          Schumi’s case however is very different.

          1. Yes, schumacher’s case had circumstantial evidence, Hamilton’s case was clear open and shut with him blurting out something in the press conference and something else in front of stewards to get a favorible ruling.

        3. Nothing refutable about it. The FIA had access to Ferrari’s telemetary which showed he’d deliberately parked the car.

          1. Yes I am sure the deliberately parking car switch was on :D

  4. The reason MS won’t admit to cheating is because he didn’t cheat. It was a dumb driving error, plain and simple. Happens to the best. MS is far too smart and calculating to have “parked” his car deliberately – he knew that he’d be severely penalized and so had nothing to gain and everything to lose. However, if any other driver had done the same thing it would have blown over very quickly. And the ONLY reason the stewards found him guilty and imposed an overly severe penalty was because Flavio Briatore – Alonso’s Renault team boss, at the time very influential in F1, and a scrupulously honest man who would never think to fix a race himself – threw a hissy fit and went screaming to the stewards demanding they punish Schumacher. Funny thing, Flavio’s out and Schumi’s back. The racing gods must be smiling.

    1. Then why is Schumacher so touchy when asked about it?

    2. HounslowBusGarage
      12th May 2010, 23:01

      “It was a dumb driving error, plain and simple”
      Spherical objects.

      1. ‘Spherical objects’ ….. LMAO… :-)

    3. I suppose, that is exactly what Schumi keeps telling himself.
      Sure Briatore had to push a lot, and yes he was probably exactly the man to judge this move for what it was, he would have thought of the same.
      But honestly the FIA was biassed towards Ferrari and Schumi that year (Monza anybody).
      I remember at the time a lot of people were questioning weather Schumi would actually be punished for a move all drivers immediately recognized as intensional parking. All were relieved, he did not go without punishment.

  5. Schumacher may be a great driver, but surely being a cheat overshadows that. Senna was the same albeit more likeable as a character. It seems that those who are driven to win in F1 are occasionally driven to win at all costs. That’s a shame. The true greats are those won and entertained without resorting to underhand tactics. Just for the record, my favourite driver of all time was Gilles Villeneuve. He was exactly what an F1 driver should be: Ballsy, exciting, quick even in a poor car, determined. All while being fair and rspectful on the track. He was flawed like all drivers, and that probably contributed to his death. However, Gilles and those of his ilk would be sickened by some of the attitudes adopted by modern F1 drivers and teams and I for one feel the same.

    1. maybe for Senna as well as for Gilles, an enormous difference is, we can hardly go and ask them, can we?

  6. Jeez, move on already. Keith, is there really nothing more worthwhile to talk about with present day F1 that you have to jump on this tired old bandwagon?

    Good to see the holier than thou brigade out to keep check on our moral yardsticks; with which we can measure their high-ground.

    Really crass.

    1. Obviously I disagree. Yes, he got caught and punished but from what little he’s said for all we know he’s learned nothing from it and will do it again. This from the most successful driver ever in F1. If he wasn’t racing in F1 any more then I could see your point but he could quite conceivably have the opportunity to repeat what he did this weekend.

      1. i doubt “he’s learned nothing”. I doubt also that he will do it again. I’m sure in the privacy of his own thoughts, that this burns, as with all the other mistakes.

      2. Fine, he doesn’t want to talk about it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he hasn’t learned anything or that he’d do it again.

    2. @psyrnrg. I think it is quite an interesting topic actually… and I guess the number of posts prove it.

      Im guessing you are a Schumacher fan, because a post like this would definitely annoy Schumi’s fans.

      I do believe that Schumacher will be upto some antics this weekend… probably slowing down on track during qualifying. I think Rosberg will be his first target, as he is less likely to get a reprimand for slowing down his own teammate.

      1. Of course I’m a Schumacher fan. I’m also a Formula 1 fan. The two are synonymous.

        Of course the incident was questionable and controversial in equal measure. Schuey received a penalty at the time. It’s a done deal. It was an interesting topic in 2006.

        1. I’ve been an F1 fan for over 15 years. I’m also German (since so many people here seem to love getting hung up on nationalities). I’ve never been a Schumacher fan. Instead of pointing fingers at Keith maybe you should take a good look at your own biased assumptions first.

          1. Not biased, I just want to get on with 2010 not a rerun of 2006.

            Oh and what’s yours called if it ain’t bias, you think being German somehow (you brought it up) cancels that out?

  7. yea keith.. I agree with pSynrg

  8. For some interesting reading, here’s the post-qualifying press conference from that 2006 Monaco GP:


    (And for those speculating about whether Alonso slowed down or not at the yellow flags, it answers that – yes, he did.)

  9. For me, this is a non-story. Sorry.

    Schumacher was never going to admit to what he did – it’s too late now – and it would give him barely any benefit, since the lines of division were drawn a long time ago. It’s not going to make people who think he’s a cheat say “at least he admitted it” and stop hating him. The difference with Hamilton is that here was a young guy, frustrated at finding himself in an uncompetitive car for the first time since his first season in Formula Renault, still probably bruised after having his victory taken away in Belgium the previous year, loyal to the team and prepared to do what was asked of him. With Schumacher, he was already an old hand, a 7-time champion, with a bad history when it came to cheating.

    I don’t see what an apology would do except to give the media its lamb to slaughter. Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t apologise though! But all things considered, for Schumacher personally it’s not going to be a move worth taking (ironically).

  10. why are we picking this old scab? Lets move on.

  11. In the end this is an example of the type of “sportsmanship” which will bar Schu from ever reaching the stature of true Champions like Fangio, Moss and Clark. It’s not the style you show when you win it’s your behavior when you lose.

    1. Moss was never F1 champion.

  12. It’s pointless going over it again now, I think any media asking/reporting on this are basically maintaining a narrative that serves their own ends and isn’t really in the interest of the fans. I don’t think it shows utter contempt for anyone.

    1. Nice point K, i agreee with you there.

  13. If that was intentional then it was unnecessary from Schumacher.

  14. Prisoner Monkeys
    13th May 2010, 2:50

    I hate it when journalists do this. There’s so much more out there that’s more interesting than something that happened four years ago.

  15. Quite a biased article, this is.

  16. Whitefirst
    13th May 2010, 4:10

    Pathetic line of qustioning from British tabnloid media just looking for a tag line for their low IQ Schumachee hating punters. Calling these bottom feeders journalists is a big stretch.

    1. A racing driver openly cheats and a journalist reports it. You apparently find no fault at all with the driver but call the journalist a bottom feeder.

      Hmmmm. I don’t think I’d want you dating my daughter.

  17. Okay, all the lashing and bashing aside, journalists did nothing wrong in pressing him on the 2006 incident as it was clearly one of Schumacher’s blatant acts of desperation which more often than not lead to cheating.
    He will never admit to it, there’s no doubt about that, in my head at least.
    Another thing, its quite amusing how Schumacher’s back to his adamant, unapologetic and disrespectful ways just after one ‘okay’ race finishing ahead of his team-mate.
    Anyway, I couldn’t be any less bothered as there are better things in F1 right now than this guy (and we can’t even be sure if he’ll be here next year). And all of this sounds so awful when I think that I was such a MSC fan in the past. But then, I didn’t or couldn’t see any further than the winner he was. I was a kid, what do you expect?!!?

  18. dosen’t some part of “Schumacher” like “Schu” translate to cheat or fraud in german slang? i swear i read that somewhere a long time ago.

    Still think he is a great champion with the “what ever it takes” mentality. He always pushed to every extreme even pushing the boundries of the rules

  19. Last time i checked Schumacher was the most successful and most popular F1 driver ever. I don’t think he will be losing too much sleep about some of the press / armchair critics craving for an apology so i wouldn’t hold your breath.

    And the difference between Hamilton and Schumacher is not cheating, it’s 6 titles

    1. “And the difference between Hamilton and Schumacher is not cheating, it’s 6 titles”

      And Hamilton doesn’t have nearly 200 races run yet. Give him time.

    2. Schumacher might have seven titles, but he will never have the respect, and the adulation of the fans that a seven time world champion deserves.

      And that my friend, is more important than having seven titles.

      If he did not pull off Adelaide 94, Jerez 97, Austria 2002, Monaco 2006, etc. He would have a title or two less, but he would be considered a worth champion and a legend.

      1. Are you sure? Look at the stands. Look at the TV audiences. They’re up substantially. And there’s no real new big name between this year and last except… Schumacher. Looks like adulation to me.

        Ask the drivers. They’ll all say they’d love to beat Schumi – which some of them are. But that shows that they think of Schumi as a target, a man to beat. Doesn’t that mean they respect what he’s done and they want to beat it themselves?

      2. James Alias
        13th May 2010, 20:24

        If he didn’t pull off Adelaide 94 he’d have one less.

        Jerez 97 he wouldn’t have been disqualified from 2nd.

        Austria 02 he’d still have had enough points to be champion.

        Monaco 06 he could have had another 10 or 8 points and finished closer to Alonso in the championship at the end.

        you’re just dramaticizing the adulation aspect. who cares.

  20. This whole thing has been blown out of proportion.

    Every (healthy) F1 fan knows that this recent attack has nothing to do with Rascasse, but with the simple fact that Schumacher is the devil, the Dick Dastardly, the arrogant German that British fans love to hate for his achievements against other British drivers.

    It’s the British F1 media who run the circus, and they know that Schumacher hatred sells copies and gets website hits. In a sport that has been dominated by spying, dodgy maneuvers and dirty tactics, it’s always Schumacher that the British media needs to chastize, because it’s the easy thing to do. Because, to put it plainly, it sells.

    Do I need to remind you that Alonso was involved in some pretty disgusting things in his career (espionage, ratting, holding back his team-mate on purpose in 2007 Hungary, his team fixing a race, etc), but no one breaks a sweat, because he’s the good guy who took the fight to the evil Kraut.

    Frankly, the sheer level of hypocrisy and double standards is sickening.

    The British media will continue to grill Schumacher, simply because they can. Simply because they feel that this grilling and this questioning takes the shine of his numerous achievements. I am sure that in the eyes of the British fans this is true.

    But in the eyes of all the rest, healthy F1 fans, this is far from happening. We can see a dead duck when we see it, and this whole story is just a dead duck. A lame attempt to bring back the Schumi hatred at the fore front.

    Frankly, I expected more from you Keith.

    1. I can’t speak for the rest of the media, but I don’t hold Schumacher to a different standard compared to other drivers and I’m perfectly happy to hold other drivers including Fernando Alonso to the same standard: Fernando Alonso should renounce his Singapore Grand Prix ‘win’

      1. Fair enough. But my suggestion, the bottom line of my comment, is that you can find similar (or worse) actions in most drivers’ careers. Alonso has been guilty of several dodgy things in the past. But there are other things as well… Do you remember Coulthard brake testing Alonso at Nurburgring (I think it was 2003), which caused Alonso to spin to the gravel trap? He completely ruined his race and, further more, endangered him. How is this any different from what MS did in Rascasse, provided that he did it in purpose?

        I can give you examples of poor and questionable driving for the majority of the drivers. In fact, the more successful a driver is, the more controversy follows him, because it’s the competitive nature of the beast.

        I have been following F1 almost as long as you have, Keith, from 1986 to be precise. I have never seen a driver, in that period of time, do the things that Michael was able to do with a car, especially in the 1993 – 2004 period. He was so head and shoulders better than the rest, it was a joke.

        But I am not a blind fanboy. I think Adelaide 1994 was as much Hill’s fault as it was Schumi’s. Hill shouldn’t have gone for this tiny gap and Schumi had the right to close the door. I think that in 1997 Michael tried to close the door on Villeneuve and take him out of the race – and paid the price for it. I also think that in Rascasse in 2006 he deliberately parked the car, taking this decision in the heat of the moment. He’s also done other things in the past (blocking moves, etc), like ALL F1 drivers. All of ’em.

        But I am disgusted to keep hearing the same journalists over and over again trying to belittle his perfectly valid achievements on the basis of these incidents. Not many contemporary F1 fans had the joy to watch Schuey in action, and in much the same way that we will never be able to fully understand what it was like to watch Jim Clark or Fangio race, they will never be able to understand what it was like to see Schumacher race, at his peak. The sense of occasion, the laptimes that came out of nowhere, the car ballet…

        I feel that this insistance in the past does all true F1 fans a disservice, in that it takes away from Schumacher’s mythical achievements and focuses only on the negative aspects, which I will be the first to admit that they do exist.

        After all, it is impossible to be a human being, involved in a sport for 17 years (always at the fore front), leading the competition, and not have moments of weakness, poor judgement and mistakes. It is impossible.

        It’s not Schumacher that has not mellowed. It’s the media who have an axe to grind, and it takes away from F1 fans the true essence of the sport and its beauty.

        My 2c, anyway, thanks for giving us this place to voice our arguments.

        1. As far as Alonso and Hamilton are concerned for their behaviour in 2007 both have recently spoken about it in interviews. Both admitted, that they did things wrong and made misjudgements as well as that they learnt a lot from it and are the better from it.

          I did not exptect this from neither of them, but both had been questioned about it. Hamilton for fear of wanting to bash Button, Alonso after people speculating on him throwing the toys out of the pram if Massa would be doing better than him.

          Both, impressed me, as i really did get convinced, they ment it and improved themselves from learning.
          Schumacher does not want to or cannot do that. Shame for him as it bars him from improving himself to become even better.

      2. Would love to see any of the spygate or liargate articles, both pre and post verdict ;)

    2. This “attack” has everything to do with Rascasse! Criticism of Schumacher’s actions, whether you like him or not, is certainly fair. It does not necessarily mean “Schumi hatred … devils”, etc.

      Schumacher put himself back in the spotlight and open to questioning by returning to F1. Why would you expect journalists to forget about the Rascasse incident now that he has returned to the scene to race again? Many F1 fans like myself want to know how he looks at the incident 4 years later.

      His achievements are all recorded and have been celebrated, any shine rubbed off has been through his own behaviour.

    3. You may know a dead duck when you see it, but you wouldn’t know a fact if it bit you on your a@@.

      The reason we “unhealthy” folks say Schumacher is a cheater and a dirty driver is because those things are facts. Not because we wish to unwarrentedly vilify the Evil Hun. Not just because we are British and hate Germans—actually some of us are Americans. We say those things because they are facts, because they happened. We, unlike the Schumacher Apologists, deal in reality.

      And the media don’t continue to grill Schumacher simply because they can. They continue to grill him because he refuses to answer in any cogent way. And it isn’t the continued questioning that will take the shine off Schumacher’s achievements. Through his own actions over the years, Schumacher has already done that himself. Had Schumacher never done anything out of the way, this thread would not exist, there would be no questioning, and his seven titles would shine brightly as they should. It is unfortunate that this is not the case.

      It’s plain that Schumacher Apologists follow the party line–he wasn’t a dirty driver, he was a fierce competitor. He never cheated, he merely took advantage of opportunities. In psychology that is called denial, because it is a belief system that contravenes the facts, and is not considered to be a healthy mental state.

      Keith, in his article, asks questions that many people ask, that many people would like answers to. Reporting on facts is not unhealthy, nor do I see any double standard here. You bring up Alonso, and other Apologists bring up Hamilton. Why? What has their action to do with a converstion about Michael Schumacher? The fact that a reporter does not mention them in an article on Schumacher is no indication of any double standard. It is an indication, rather, that the reporter can stick to the subject. Apologists, you can’t clear Schumacher’s name by bringing up dirt on other drivers. It was okay for your guy to do it, but not okay for them…..?….no, just doesn’t work. That, I’d say, is hypocracy.

      1. I just read your post. I have replied above. I never once said that it was ok, or that it wasn’t cheating. Both Jerez 97 and Rascasse 06 were attempts to gain advantage over the opposition. Be it decisions made in the heat of the moment, or premeditated, it doesn’t matter – it still qualifies as attempt to cheat. That’s clear.

        However, please read my reply and you’ll see that the gist of my post lies elsewhere.

      2. I think when Schumacher “Apologists” bring up actions of Hamilton and Alonso, they aren’t trying to clear his name by bringing up dirt on other drivers.

        What they are trying to point out is that any top driver who stays at the helm for an extended period of time is bound to have a number of controversies against his name. It is the price a driver / celebrity pays to be in spotlight.

        The way he transformed the win-less Ferrari factory of Maranello into a multiple championship winning team in the 4 years ( 1996 – 1999) is stuff legends are made of. And he gained the unchallenged no. 1 status in the team in exchange of these 4 years of unrequited hard work and patience. Schumacher haters call this his “selfishness”, whereas the Apologists call it as a just reward for his patience, hard work.

        And even if Schumacher says that, he made a mistake, he is cheat, is that going to be the end of it??

        It is like saying USA will forgive Osama if Osama comes out with a video saying he is sorry for 9/11.

        1. I don’t mean to compare Michael to Osama!!! Just that, their situations against their respective foes are very similar.

          Osama is never going to win any hearts in USA whatever he does now, similarly Michael is never going to be loved by the British media whatever he does now.

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