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. Louis said on 13th May 2010, 1:26

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. wasiF1 said on 13th May 2010, 2:47

    If that was intentional then it was unnecessary from Schumacher.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

  5. Realist said on 13th May 2010, 3:14

    Quite a biased article, this is.

  6. Whitefirst said on 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.

    • dsob said on 13th May 2010, 5:22

      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.

  7. 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?!!?

  8. Dj xo2 said on 13th May 2010, 4:47

    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

  9. AJS said on 13th May 2010, 4:59

    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

    • dsob said on 13th May 2010, 5:36

      “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.

    • Todfod said on 13th May 2010, 8:01

      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.

      • Journeyer said on 13th May 2010, 15:12

        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?

      • James Alias said on 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.

  10. Dimitris said on 13th May 2010, 8:07

    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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th May 2010, 8:27

      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’

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

        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.

        • BasCB said on 14th May 2010, 6:24

          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.

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

    • mvi said on 13th May 2010, 8:52

      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.

    • dsob said on 13th May 2010, 10:42

      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.

      • Dimitris said on 13th May 2010, 10:51

        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.

      • sumedh said on 13th May 2010, 11:44

        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.

        • sumedh said on 13th May 2010, 11:53

          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.

  11. Rob R. said on 13th May 2010, 8:10

    Schumacher hasn’t apoligised for anything before. And since he just got his first solid result this season in the bag, why would he start now, and compromise his veneer as the most hard edged competitor ever in Formula One?

  12. Journeyer said on 13th May 2010, 15:07

    While this is just a case of media being the media, Schumacher rarely talks about past incidents – and even then, not in public presscons (his 1997 apology happened in a 1 on 1, IIRC). So I’d be surprised if the media were expecting any different today.

    If even Fernando Alonso (who, BTW, the press are not pestering about what he did in Hungary 2007) has forgiven him, surely it’s a sign that it’s time to move on?

    That said, THIS is why as much as a Schumi fan I am, he should’ve stayed retired. Getting beaten by Rosberg, staying stuck in midfield, getting hounded by the media – he doesn’t deserve this. He doesn’t need this.

    • Umar Farooq Khawaja said on 13th May 2010, 16:33

      I would love for Schumacher to take a couple of further WDC titles, just to rub the Schumacher haters’ noses in it.

  13. BeenDun said on 13th May 2010, 21:28

    He’s under no obligation to answer these silly questions about 2006. No surprise that it’s mainly the British press forcing these childish questions onto MS. The jealousy and envy is there for all to see. No British driver has ever come close to Schumacher. None ever will. Hating won’t change a thing.

  14. Gusto said on 13th May 2010, 23:18

    He`s not 7 times WDC an 5 times winner of Monaco for nothing;-)

  15. Nutritional said on 13th May 2010, 23:45

    The mistake Schumacher made in 2006, once he’d chosen his path, was not crashing into the armco and losing his front wing or causing some other kind of damage to his car to make his “mistake” more believable.
    Furthermore, I don’t see the point in still trying to crucify him about the ruthless things he’s done in the sport, simply because he’s not the first driver to do do such acts, he won’t be the last, and he won’t be the last successful driver to do such acts.
    Ruthlessness has been a streak in a number of successful drivers in Formula One. Take Senna at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix, crashing Prost out of the race to ensure the driver’s championship. While at Lotus, Senna ensured he wouldn’t have a teammate as competitive as himself. Prost had a clause in his contract for 1993 so Senna could not drive in the Williams team, which basically ensuring Prost the 1993 championship. Prost convincing stewarts to prematurely flag races when it suited him. Alonso giving testimony against Mclaren during Stepneygate in 2007, while he was still on the team, or the famous pit incident the same year when Alonso sat in the pit box to ensure Hamilton wouldn’t get another flaying lap. Piquet Jr in his role bringing the 2008 Singapore controversy to light after Renault fire him. Didier Pironi breaking a agreement between himself and Gilles Villeneuve at the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix. There is a clear pattern of ruthless behavior in F1 drivers. And then there are all the penalties against teams and tire manufacturers.
    Why is it that the all the a fore mentioned instances seem to get forgotten except for excerpts in F1 books, yet Schumacher’s forays cling to him like a bad smell and are reported as if they’re extra evil or something sinister?
    I’ve personally gained the impression over the years that people hate Schumacher because they think he somehow conspired the make sure Damon Hill wouldn’t win championships. Of course, this is the point where we begin to rant about Australia 1994. I’d like to point out that in 1994 Schumacher won 8 grand prixs to Hill’s 6. In fact had FIA not been so over eager on their new legality plank requlations in Spa, with Schumacher spinning across the kurb, Schumacher would have had that race win as well. In addition, 2 of Hill’s wins were at Monza and Estoril when Schumacher was under at two race suspension for ignoring a black flag. Again, we get the cries of treason and how Schumacher deserved the ban and is sinister man. Yes, he did deserve the ban but I recall a certain Nigel Mansell ignoring a black flag and taking Senna out of a race. There aren’t cries of foul play for Mansell constantly being throw around. Beyond all this I believe we all recall Schumacher putting a very big stamp on 1995 and Hill.
    So I don’t see why we can’t just leave Hill the 1 championship in his utterly dominant Williams FW18, and Schumacher to the fact that he’s no more sinister that many other drivers have been, and just get over it and watch the races.

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