Michael Schumacher still refuses to explain 2006 Rascasse controversy

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

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

  1. Bill said on 12th May 2010, 19:38

    At the time it was out of place, but Michael paid the price for his mistake by starting not from Pole but from the back of the grid. from what i can remember that made for a very interesting race seeing him carve his way through the field.
    i can’t think of any driver who hasn’t done something in Qualifying or in the Race that he has not paid for by being tagged a cheat, just look at Hamilton last year Melbourne, nothing is said about that, or the late Senna crashing into Prost to keep the Championship. how some people choose to forget somethings, but in turn keep bringing up issues from the past.

    i say keep the past in the past, nothings going to change the outcome, just F1 drivers can learn from mistakes in the past that make them better drivers for the future.

  2. rampante said on 12th May 2010, 19:46

    Did Senna,Prost,G Villeneuve, Ascari, Fangio and all the rest ever apologize? Let it go. 16 years on and most of the comments are from people who were still at junior school at the time. Big bad Michael is out to get you.If you turn him upside down and look at his bum he’s got 666 tattoed on it.

    • thesternowl said on 12th May 2010, 19:57

      lol…I know…it’s ridiculous

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th May 2010, 22:04

      I’m intrigued to know what Villeneuve did which he should have apologised for?

      • rampante said on 12th May 2010, 22:48

        Villenueve tried to pull out an impossible move on Ronnie Peterson and they came together as a result. Villeneuve went into the air and then into people killing one and a marshal. Officially there was no blame however most felt it was Villeneuve’s fault. He said nothing outside the enquiry. He was my all time favourite driver but here he was wrong and he knew it.

        • mvi said on 12th May 2010, 23:54

          Villeneuve was early in his career, in his second race for Ferrari and it was a racing mistake that cost much more dearly than it should have. The marshall that was killed was trying to move the spectators who should not have been in that particular area because of the danger. Villeneuve always expressed great sorrow for the incident but felt the responsibility belonged to the Fuji organizers as they had allowed spectators into the prohibited area.

          This was a very unfortunate and tragic accident at a time when safety measures were not as advanced. It does not make sense to compare this to a deliberate act of cheating such as Schumacher carried out 4 years ago at Rascasse.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th May 2010, 8:08

          I’ve never seen video of that accident (is there any?) so I can’t really comment.

          • rampante said on 13th May 2010, 9:50

            only post accident. Peterson said afterwards that it was one if not the worst move he had ever seen. it was Japan 1977. It was incredible that Villeneuve was not killed.

    • BasCB said on 13th May 2010, 7:44

      But did it stop people from asking them? I am sure a lot of people tried to ask all of them questions about these incidents during their whole careers.

      For Senna it is one of the Highlights of most books about him, as well as for Prost.

      Senna maybe made up for it in part through his initiative to get the GPDA started, right before the Monza race, Schumacher did do a lot for the GPDA to compensate for the darker side of his caracter. Is it enough?

      You are right, they do not have an obligation to answer the questions. But untill the questions are answered they will be asked.

      I think part of the motivation for Schumi can be in ending his career by not being a cheat, helping another team to the top and suppporting Rosberg to lasting stardom (he did like mentoring Massa as well).

  3. Glenn said on 12th May 2010, 20:00

    43 comments in less than 2 hours. A journalist dream. Schumi is gold for the press. Whatever character he is portrayed as, he is still a huge story.

    • That was my point exactly. Its as though they are on his payroll but suck at doing their jobs! They are the “Frado’s” of his family. I wonder if they all end up in Nevada trying to become legitimate! ha ha!

  4. DannyJ said on 12th May 2010, 20:02

    Let sleeping dogs lie…

    Schumacher is arrogant yes… I’ll forgive him: he has the silverware to back it up.

    Alonso (on the other hand) is proud, and devious, and pride comes before a fall… he’s started at Ferrari already… the boy is trouble wherever he goes.

  5. Rob Gallagher said on 12th May 2010, 20:30

    I think this is the difference between Hamilton and Schumacher, while both are ruthless Hamilton wont cheat to win (his hand was already forced by Dave Ryan)but Schumcaher has always believed in winning at any cost. Hamilton was apolegetic for what he did, Schumacher is not.

    • Hamilton is a ridiculous cheat! However, I still hold hope that age will make him wise before the luck of not causing serious injury catches up. If you think that Hamilton is so classy, just keep watching. He’s sure to cause some tragedy sooner than later. The only difference is that I’m truly hopeful that he classes up and only soft cheats which is what all the great drivers do and IF he continues to have speed maybe he can become just that. Hopefully he doesn’t get anybody else fired in the mean time.

  6. HounslowBusGarage said on 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.

    • rampante said on 12th May 2010, 23:00

      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.

      • BasCB said on 13th May 2010, 7:49

        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.

  7. shakey5691 said on 12th May 2010, 21:12

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

  8. 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 )

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th May 2010, 22:12

      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.

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

        • 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

        • Gilles said on 13th May 2010, 8:03

          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.

          • 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.

        • Franton said on 13th May 2010, 17:12

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

  9. Green Flag said on 12th May 2010, 22:15

    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.

    • mvi said on 12th May 2010, 22:42

      Then why is Schumacher so touchy when asked about it?

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 12th May 2010, 23:01

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

    • BasCB said on 13th May 2010, 7:55

      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.

  10. Jon said on 12th May 2010, 22:32

    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.

    • BasCB said on 14th May 2010, 6:17

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

  11. pSynrg said on 12th May 2010, 22:59

    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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th May 2010, 23:33

      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.

      • HG said on 13th May 2010, 1:19

        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.

      • David A said on 13th May 2010, 2:19

        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.

    • Todfod said on 13th May 2010, 7:46

      @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.

      • pSynrg said on 13th May 2010, 8:57

        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.

        • Maru said on 13th May 2010, 18:49

          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.

          • pSynrg said on 13th May 2010, 23:13

            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?

  12. yea keith.. I agree with pSynrg

  13. mvi said on 12th May 2010, 23:14

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

    http://www.fia.com/mediacentre/Press_Information/F1/Press_Conferences/2006/Monaco/mon_conf3.html

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

  14. Icthyes said on 12th May 2010, 23:42

    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).

  15. HG said on 13th May 2010, 0:06

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

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