A move too far: Schumacher forces stewards to take a stand

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2010

There was only one thing more shocking than Michael Schumacher’s move on Rubens Barrichello in the closing stages of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

It was the announcement a few hours later that he was being punished for it.

Previously it seemed drivers could do what they liked to defend position. Yesterday’s decision will hopefully set a new precedent for a better standard of driving in motor racing.

Time and again we have seen drivers make questionable defensive moves that have gone unpunished. It would be wrong to say Schumacher invented such driving, but many of the most shocking examples bear his name.

Yesterday’s attempt to intimidate Rubens Barrichello was straight out of the Schumacher playbook. He did much the same to Mika Hakkinen at Spa ten years ago, only on that occasion the track was bordered by grass and not a solid wall.

He dished out the same to his brother the following year and did it again to Fernando Alonso at Silverstone in 2003. The stewards turned a blind eye every time.

It’s scarcely surprising that drivers who wanted to beat Schumacher chose to do so by adopting his tactics. After all, it was clear the stewards weren’t going to stop them.

But we’ve rarely seen other drivers be quite as uncompromising at high speed as Schumacher. Remember how Mark Webber defended his position from Felipe Massa at Fuji two years ago:

Robust stuff and, like Schumacher on Sunday, Webber continued to move towards Massa even as the Ferrari drew alongside. The difference was that as Massa had already cleared the end of the pit lane he was not pinned up again a barrier as Webber leaned on him.

Schumacher said today he accepts the stewards’ decision. They have set a potentially significant precedent by punishing him, one that could force him and other drivers to be more restrained in similar situations in the future.

This is good news for two reasons. It’s clearly better from the point of view of safety. The crash in the Superleague Formula race at Brands Hatch this weekend showed the violent accidents that can happen when drivers veer towards each other during overtaking moves:

Driver Chris van der Drift, who was sent skywards by Julien Jousse, suffered a broken ankle and other minor injuries.

Clamping down on this sort of driving may also help encourage overtaking, as defending drivers know they mustn’t go too far in their efforts to keep an attacking driver behind.

The stewards – bolstered this year by the long-overdue inclusion of former racing drivers – deserve applause for taking a stand against reckless and dangerous driving such as this.

But the policing of driving standards in Formula 1 remains unsatisfactory, largely because so little of it is spelled out in the regulations. Schumacher was punished for “illegitimately preventing a legitimate overtaking manoeuvre”. But there are many questionable things drivers may do to keep rivals behind which are not considered “illegitimate”.

For example, pushing a rival clean off the track is allowed. We saw that when Robert Kubica did it to Fernando Alonso at Silverstone this year, and when Kimi R??ikk??nen did to Lewis Hamilton at Spa two years ago, to name just two particularly memorable examples.

And the rules about respecting the track’s limits make no sense at all, based on recent precedents.

Drivers may gain an advantage by going off the track on the outside of a corner (as Schumacher did at the start last weekend and as R??ikk??nen did at Spa last year) and they may cut corners when a rival is trying to overtake them to keep position (Schumacher defending in Canada this year).

But they may not gain a position by going off the track on the inside of the corner (Alonso at Silverstone this year) nor if both cars go off the track (Webber and Alonso at Singapore last year).

These are clear double standards. Either a driver is allowed to go off the track and gain an advantage or he isn’t. It shouldn’t matter whether they’re on the inside or outside of a corner.

There have been some improvements in the quality of stewarding this year, particularly as we have seen fewer penalties for minor infractions – a welcome relief after the excessively punishment-prone stewarding in recent years.

And I was impressed that the stewards intervened over Schumacher’s driving this weekend as it’s the sort of dangerous move they’ve turned a blind eye to too often in the past.

But a re-thinking of the rules of engagement is still needed to make racing fair between the drivers and clear for the fans to understand.

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219 comments on “A move too far: Schumacher forces stewards to take a stand”

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  1. F1 is a zoo… No consistency in rules, hypocrisy in abundance and biased reporting everywhere. Take away the money involved and nothing of interest remains.

    1. Then don’t watch F1.We won’t miss you.

      1. I was gonna say the same…Not everything in F1 can be determined by rulebooks and yes, clear and concrete rules need to be made for these incidents but it is very difficult. Every issue is different and unique – and common sense needs to come into play when making decisions, like what happened today. I think they made the right decision. People would still complain if they hadn’t done anything about it.

      2. Say that a few more times, the lack of F1 interest seems to be on the decline. They say that Hockenheim was a sell out!? I saw plenty of empty seats. The only race I haven’t seen empty seats was in Silverstone. You and your friends may not miss him, but I’m sure Bernie will. He wants everybodys money!

      3. Obviously you didn’t quite get what I was saying. Or maybe you handle all the problems you encounter like this: run away from them.

        1. that last comment was directed at svetlio.

        2. So, what are you saying ?
          F1 is not a stock-car race !

      4. svetio, what Schumacker made on sunday is also F1, but we complain about it. We don’t have to leave F1 just because we think there are a lot of things wrong.

    2. A little cynical in my view, its your opinion though :)

    3. People keep bringing up the Raikkonen Spa move, but it seemed to be an agreement in the drivers briefing more than anything. No teams lodged an appeal (FI surely would have if it wasn’t deemed acceptable).

      You can also see where such an agreement comes from, cars will be inevitably pushed off the track/find themselves with no space into the first corner. It’s doubtful that Raikkonen got a traction/speed advantage from it (otherwise it would be used as the racing line), and more likely a combination of KERS + Fisi defending (so taking a slower line).

  2. Clamping down on this sort of driving may also help encourage overtaking, as defending drivers know they mustn’t go too far in their efforts to keep an attacking driver behind.

    Hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right.

    1. Interesting development: apparently with more time during the race to check the video evidence, the stewards would have black-flagged Schumacher – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8880167.stm .

      Pity they didn’t or couldn’t react quicker, but it’s the right response and it would have been the best solution: black-flag and maybe a one or two race disqualification. To quote Derek Warwick (one of the stewards): “Throwing a black flag would have shown a better example to our young drivers.”

      Thinking Vettel here.

      As Keith suggests, it would also encourage overtaking by discouraging some of the more idiotic maneouvres to defend.

      1. Well, i think it would have suited you better to have him crufied or burned at the stake? Wouldn’t you agree? Certainly there has been reckless overtaking in the past… However, i’ve never seen such an uproar before on the forums here…

        Also, the responsibility of the move to certain extent lies with the guy pulling that move, as that chap is coming from behind and has all the decisions to make. Just because some wimp got up close doesn’t mean that the guy in front bends over. Of course, the only guy who (admittedly) intentionally ran off people (for that matter backmarkers) off the tracks is hailed as a racing legend. Either flail them all, or approve of them all. The way most people go about on this forum is merely based on convenience. Hyprocritical, in other words.

        Schumacher has given an interview… in which he clarified that he’s sorry if rubens thought/ felt the way he did, but Schu never meant to put him in the wall. Rubens could have braked or gone on the outside (racing line), but didn’t and somehow i don’t see many people mentioning that… which is why my claims of rampant hyprocrisy on this forum is by and large valid.

        1. I forgot to make an excellent case in point. The Webber crash… he was coming in from behind to lap a car… Well, somewhat akin to an overtake, only here the car in front is supposed to give way… What instead happened was a coming together of two cars, blame was to be laid by and large on Webber who got it wrong. Could you in this case blame the guy in the front? Similarly here, there needs to be a certain degree of common sense applied before jumping to any conclusion what so ever. I’ll give you that it was a tough move by Schumacher. However, here in this case, the car following is to find a way past the one in the front, not given way, as the words you chose make it sound. The guy in the front does have a right to defend his position and don’t forget that he’s doing it at 300 kmph, just like the guy pulling that move. There’s a reason why you and i (most of us here) are called armchair enthusiasts… we are doing neither… so being ever so critical as you are mate, it is just your opinion and not what people will live, or (god forbid) die by on the track in a racing car.

          Ah, this reminds me… “Old men start a war, but it is the young who must fight and die!”

  3. Rubens said to the BBC on Sunday that there aren’t any rules but just an understanding between the drivers. An unspoken code if you will. Stewart once said in his day the drivers all had a special bond like brothers and trusted each other, it was a lot more dangerous then of course. Now, I’m not saying racers were saints back then as they weren’t but it does seem like there’s been a loss of respect or bond between the drivers over the years which is unsurprising but very sad.

    This has to be looked at. I can name many other incidents not even mentioned in the article; Sebb turning in on people at least 3 times this year, Lewis after Kimi forced him off at Spa in 08 pushed Timo onto the grass at Monza, Massa tried to run Hamilton right off the road at Bahrain this year. On it goes. I don’t like it as it isn’t really coming out on top if you win by weaving or ramming someone off or whatever. The other guy can’t respond at all to that unless he wants a hefty crash.

    F1 is dangerous but it doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t have to be excessively dangerous. The drivers are absolutely ruthless, competitive monsters in the main with adrenaline running through them. Mistakes can be made whether intentional or not but the stewards have to be there to provide a sense of calm and keep things sporting and they can only really do that if they have the rules on their side to back them up.

    I have to say brilliant article once again Keith. You always give a fair commentary I feel and are brilliant but you’re at your best when you look at the wider issue too. I also adore reading all the comments and debate after this type of post. Yes, I’m a proper geek :P

    1. I also adore reading all the comments and debate after this type of post

      I have not been as active as I would like on f1f recently as I have limited free time at the minute. However when I read an article I always find myself getting sucked into reading more and more comments, I can’t seem to help it! I would like my free time back please everyone!

    2. Thanks Steph :-)

      1. keith, ‘when Kimi Räikkönen did to Lewis Hamilton at Spa two years ago’ don’t you mean Alonso pushing Lewis wide on the exit of turn 1 at the start?

        1. Tom M in Australia
          3rd August 2010, 1:27

          Well there was that, but Keith is reffering to how Kimi pushed Lewis over the new Bus Stop chicane. Lewis gave the place back then overtook Kimi into La Source, but was penalised anyway.

          1. That’s a rather harsh call on Kimi. It’s a chicane, thus there is really only room for one car through it, Kimi had the line, should he have just given up?

          2. Oh, it was almighty Lewis, so everyone is suppose to clear the way. Come on! Kimi had the line as Daniel mentioned.

          3. I don’t want to get into the specifics of individual cases too much – I was only looking for examples to illustrate my point.

            But I think when one driver is alongside another one shouldn’t be allowed to push the other off the track, regardless of whether they’re doing 200mph or twenty.

          4. @ll1,

            I don’t think many people think Kimi did not have the right to keep his line at spa but it highlights the point of where do you draw the line. I think Kimis move on Lewis was perfectly good racing but equally I thought that the attempted overtake by Lewis in the first place was great racing. What was very strange in that incident was that Lewis gave back the position (that was all that was required at the time in the rules) but was crucified by all the haters. Not only that but he was actually punished for leaving the track! He was never punished for gaining an advantage (clearly because he didn’t according to the rules). Keith is right, there is no consistency in the rules. Why on earth was Lewis punished for leaving the track, but Kimi was not a few corners later (when he clearly gained a grip advantage) and how come after that precedent was set drivers can be seen going off the track pretty much routinely (in fact I am not sure I have seen a single race for years where multiple cars have not left the track at the first corner).

            In relation to the schumacher incident, I am pleased that finally he has been punished, he is by far the worst driver for these sort of moves and I am still amazed that he was allowed to race in F1 the year after he purposefully and cynically took crashed into Damon Hill in what could have been a very nasty incident. Vettel has also been doing a schumacher lately so hopefully this punishment may also have an effect on his driving too. I am all for defending a line and trying to push other drivers into mistakes, but there is a big difference between that and squeezing someone against a wall at 200mph.

          5. oh yeah. i thought 2 years ago was 2007 for some reason. anyway, alonso pushed him wide at la source in 2007 and kimi did the same at the bus stop.

      2. Great job with this article again Keith.

        In this bbc article they have a audiocast interview with Warwick (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8878400.stm). Great stuff and from what he says it seems the driver stewards are going to do follow up on this.

    3. For me the kind of incident Schuie used to get away with was Canada 1998 when he came out of the pits and immediately put Frentzen in the gravel trap.

      Unfortunately in Schuie’s first era, few drivers were prepared to stand their ground and let wheels touch, and the FIA turned a blind eye to it.

      I still can’t believe the “one move” rule appeared only because Schuie said it existed to justify his outrageous starting swerves.

      1. Off the top of my head I’m sure I’d heard about the ‘one move’ rule before Schumacher came along but I’m not 100% sure.

    4. “brilliant article once again Keith” agreed. and also with the idea that limits on aggressive defending helping to encourage overtaking.

  4. Personally, I would have been shocked if the stewards had not penalised MS. IMO, that ridiculous move of his was purely one of intimidation, not a defensive one, and good on Barrichello for making it through. It so easily could have ended in tears, to say the least.

  5. Even though I agree with the stewards descision, I think it’s now become a trend for everyone to gang up and berate a certain driver or team after every race. The situation has been blown out of proportion.

    Also I havent heard anyone else say it, but wasn’t Barrichellos move on Schumacher a contender for overtake of the season? Serious balls to keep his foot down into an ever closing gap.

    1. It’s not a trend. What you are seeing is a decade or so of pent up frustration being released. Schumacher has never been held accountable for his actions before. What used to be a killer instinct to win has now become a totally single-minded desperation to score a single point for tenth place. It really is pathetic and probably borders on sociopathic.

      1. It’s called the Will to Win and that’s the reason why he and Senna are number ones in this sport. He had it back in his early days and he has it now. Senna would have done the same if he was alive.

        It’s pretty Ironic that Barrichello is complaining so much considering this move is probably the only positive thing he will be remembered for once he retires into the history books. So stop whining Mr B!!

        1. Did I miss something? Is this a sport, and do sports have rules and conventions? Unsportsmanlike conduct and cheating without being penalized will give any average driver a serious competitive advantage. If you drive for a team that owns the sport and never get taken to task, you’ll rewrite the record books. Here’s one example of a WDC Schumacher won by cheating. This is his legacy:
          Adelaide 1994

          Really, now. Where does this “will to win” crap originate? And where does it end? I’ll run you off the road? I’ll take your life? Using your car as a battering ram is not driving.

          1. “Did I miss something? Is this a sport, and do sports have rules and conventions? Unsportsmanlike conduct and cheating without being penalized will give any average driver a serious competitive advantage.”

            I didn’t say that he shouldn’t be penalised or that he wasn’t out of line, but that move gave the race something spectacular which would’ve otherwise ended as dull and boring.

            “Here’s one example of a WDC Schumacher won by cheating. This is his legacy:
            Adelaide 1994″

            For you and many other Brits probably. I remember him for having Nerves of Steel and not taking cr@p from anyone. Oh and small thing of winning 7 WCs.

            “Where does this “will to win” crap originate? And where does it end? I’ll run you off the road? I’ll take your life? Using your car as a battering ram is not driving.”

            This is a competitive sport (as you mentioned before). Not a Sunday Picnic so that comparison is moot. Ruthlessness is part of the Will to Win and also part of this sport if you want to be great. You can’t win WCs by babying your car and other drivers around you.

          2. This is a it ridiculous, Schumacher, has a style, his way or the highway, which sometimes leads him to do things that, aren’t so nice.

            But the whole, trying to kill someone theme is, to be honest, more disgusting than Schumacher’s move on Rubens, I mean seriously do you actually believe he tries to do that? He tries to win the race, and that’s it.
            Stupid? sometimes, Evil? … grow up.

            New Topic

            Erm…. that’s the first time I saw the 94 footage… no offence, but, it doesn’t look so bad, Schumacher made a mistake, Damon got alongside in the corner, Schumacher didn’t leave enough room, they crashed…
            I have seen a lot worse than that…
            I’m actually surprised, I was expecting something much more dastardly.

          3. @ROBERT,

            “It’s called the Will to Win”, yep Ben Johnson also had the will to win…….


            I would not say that he tries to kill and anyone that says that is ridiculous. However Drink drivers also do not try to kill but are still a disgrace and danger. And being a cheat as a style is not a good trait and is exactly why I do not class him as one of the greats.

          4. Does this will to win stem from Nietzsche’s Will to power per chance?
            Philosophy was a good course to pick ^^
            Well, Lee, he is one of the greats, your going to have to deal with it, there aren’t many great drivers who haven’t done things which could be labelled “suspect” either…..

            Calling him a cheat, isn’t fair this time, unless you want to bring up Monaco for instance, but, speaking of just this event, it wasn’t cheating, you could call him many names for it, but I don’t think cheat is the right one.

          5. @MIKE,

            Purposefully trying to force a driver to crash while looking directly at him is cheating, it ceased to be an aggressive blocking move as soon as Rubens was fully alongside. In fact they wanted to black flag him but there was not sufficient time once they had fully reviewed the incident. I do not think the Monaco incident was purposeful cheating, I think he like many of the drivers was a little confused by the new safety car rule.

            And no I do not have to deal with him being a great as in my mind he is not. Yes many great drivers have done suspect things and this is natural as they are on the very limit so mistakes or the odd poor decision is obviously going to happen. However I can’t think of anyone with such a poor record as schumacher, not even close. Senna had the incident with prost, however there was a lot more behind that than the FIA would like to admit.

      2. Well, as you can see on videos in this post, Webber did the same to massa and then everybody thought that webber was just hard, but not sociopathic.

        I agree with Lenny about that it’s become a trend for everyone to gang up and berate a certain driver or drivers or teams.

        In fact, even FOM was looking for the morbid situation showing the persecution for 5 or 10 laps while the same situation was occuring between alonso and vettel for 2nd place.

        1. RaulZ – you know that is cr@p. Webber did nothing close to the same thing. Not that it would exonerate Schumacher if he had. This is clutching at straws, at best.

          When you look at the MS/ RB incident in isolation, it was simply horrible. The problem is that when you take Schumacher’s history into account, it only looks worse, because they are cumulative. There are drivers who would get the benefit of the doubt when they pull a bad stunt, because their prior conduct was good. For example, I always thought Prost was the recipient of that kind of slack when he side-swiped Senna at the chicane in Suzuka in ’89. It was his first real attempt at a professional foul and, as Keke said, you could tell he hadn’t done it before, because he did it so badly. But in this case, well…

          I have argued that Webber has sometimes blocked too hard and too late, but he’s done nothing comparable, really.

        2. Webber did the same to massa and then everybody thought that webber was just hard, but not sociopathic.

          It clearly wasn’t “the same”, and I explained why in the article.

        3. Sean and keith, it’s the same kind of maniouver with a wall at the end, the differences between each cases are 1 meter. I explained in other comment here that being allowed this things for the show and fight it’s easy to think that one day, 1 meter is 1 cm, or less.
          Despite his own black history.

          1. Some people don’t seem to realise that fighting dirty is just part of the sport. The only difference is that Schumacher is on the fore-front. Hamilton voted the ‘meanest driver’ by the rest of the field with Alonso 2nd behind him. Both World Champions. Alonso pushing Massa out of the way on the Pit-Lane entry. Hamilton weaving like crazy to prevent Petrov move. All dirty moves which are just part of the sport. Yes Schumacher is the worst of them, but why aren’t we discussing the other drivers, Hamilton specifically? And all these talks about Schus ‘history’. He’s 42! Let’s see how many ‘priors’ Ham is going to have in 17 years shall we? He’s 25 now and already had a few scandals up his sleave. Especially when McLaren pulled that awesome one few years back which cost them all the points.

            I can see many people here don’t consider Schu great, but please remember that’s just your opinion and mostly clouded by the Hill incident in 94 (which is the main reason for the bashing here and not the Barichello move). Other people actually remember him for the 7 Wcs and masterful performances he’s brought to the sport.

  6. The best comment about Barrichelo X Schumacher fight at Hungary is from a guy in the BB from Autosport:

    “…Last year Top Gear revealed that Michael ‘the cheating *******’ Schumacher was The Stig.

    Less then a month after Rubens Barrichello beat The Stig’s time in a reasonably priced car, MS tries to run Rubens into the wall in Hungary. Is this a coincidence?…”

    1. Haha that’s a nice one :)

    2. I thought Stig was Stig Blomqvist from Sweden, rally and rallycross driver ?

      1. He’s the only other Stig I know – apart from Stig of the Dump!”

      2. The stig is not from this planet or if he is he is a product of some secret British Military experiments. Everyone knows that.

  7. These videos are tremendous and thanks for pulling them together here. But there are some solid and very recent examples including Kobayashi/Najakima at Brazil, and the modern classic from Turkey this year. What about Raikkonen putting Massa in the grass on Kemmel in 08.

    How about we have a rule that putting another driver who has a wheel inside your wheels at the point where you put him in the grass, off the road is a foul—you let the guy through on that lap or you get a drive-through penalty (and another one if you drive through showing the stewards the back of your hand). This would have the added effect of limiting the need for the Hamilton-Spa rule and all the off-track passing we need to police now. It would also increase passing because outside passes would become much more plausible. For example, Alonso would have taken the lead at Hungaroring

    I don’t like the idea of a “no blocking” rule because I fear this ends in the inanity of the IRL rule where you have to let a car drive by on the inside by taking your “normal line” and the stupidity with the Castroneves penalty last race.

  8. I don’t think this kind of dangerous move can be legislated with proscribed penalties. They have to be judged on a case by case basis on the potential dangers and circumstances.

    Drivers need the flexibility to be aggressive but not to the point where they risk lives defending or overtaking.

    With former drivers now on the stewards panel at each race I think fair and balanced judgments can be made about these kinds of incidents without excessively tying up the drivers with regulations that may cause indecision. Even tho I thought Schumi should be parked for a race, the 10 place grid penalty is probably a fair response.

    1. The 10 place grid penalty is actually harsher than him being parked.

      He was out of the points after that incident, so being told to step out of the vehicle wouldn’t really hurt him from a racing perspective.

      The 10 place grid drop will…

    2. “They have to be judged on a case by case basis on the potential dangers and circumstances.”

      Absolutely agree on this.

      The main problem F1 has for that is Stewarding process. Stewards take so much time to analyze and impose a penalty, despite the enormous amount of technology available for them.

      And my personal opinion is F1 does not have proper stewards because stewarding process over many years has been a political issue managed directly by Max Mosley. F1 have never had professional stewards, just marionettes asking MM what penalty impose in each claim.

      So, F1 has to learn how to make a proper stewarding process, wiser and quicker than it was used to be in the past. F1 doesn’t need more rules, just professional people making a professional job.

      I hope FIA is in the way to do so. They just need some time to implement it.

      Everybody was expecting a Black Flag for MSC, as a red card in football, just for telling the driver his behavior was a shame for the sport. (And, as in football, a black flag should mean a race ban for the driver)

      1. This is what I’m telling all the time. The problem are the stewards. If they weren’t so arbitrary the actual rules would be ok, but they distort them.

        I think it’s just because of their incompetence. I don’t want to think they make so many mistakes on purpose.

        if you apply one rule only when it’s dangerous then it’s not fair, because the danger of the situation cannot be evaluated by the driver in just one second.

        Then, we think Schumaker is krazy just because there was a dangerous situation and the rest of the cases we think they are very spectacular just because they were lucky not finding the wall so near.

        A rule must judge an action, not the circumstances. Someone is guilty of doing one thing even if the circumstances doesn’t occur, but it’s ruled to avoid the times when circumstances could occur.

        Vettel throwing Alonso to the wall at hockenheim is the same action than schumacker to Barrichello. The difference were 25 cm or going 300kph instead of 150kph.

        If stewards doesn’t punish Vettel, then they are inducing the rest of the drivers to try to do it, and generate a lot of situations where the circumstances can occur, like on sunday.

  9. I believe in the old days the rule (written or unwritten I don’t know) was, as far as I can remember. If the car behind his frontwheels are next to the other cars back wheels, the pass is on and you can’t move over anymore.. that’s how it should be anyway!

    1. But schumacker didn’t move, he followed his line, head to the wall. That rule is not enough to avoid discussing this topic next year again. It must be decided one rule and applied allways, despite the dangerous situation, bacuase it must be made to avoid those situations.

  10. Well there are a load of things which could be set about Schumacher’s crazy move and all the other questionable defensive driving we’ve seen over the past few years. But I’m lazy and other people will be saying the same sort of things anyway so I won’t bother.

    But what I will say is this- crude though Schumacher’s driving was, at least it gave us one of the most spectacular passing moves in recent F1 history! For Barrichello to squeeze through that almost non existant gap was ridiculously brave. Unquestionably pass of the season IMO

    1. Tom M in Australia
      3rd August 2010, 1:40

      100% agree. Pass of all seasons in recent memory for me.

    2. I agree about most of your thoughts, but I don´t think it was a brave move by Barrichello. He has two young sons and wife and I am sure he doesn´t need to prove that he is corageous. He was, in my oppinion, pretty determinated to overtake MS. Once he chose the inside line the he just reacted by reflex on MS moves. It is absolutetly amazing to me, and that it is part of my fascination by F1, that tons of words and thougths have been written since last Sunday about an event that took only 2 seconds (from the moment Barrichello started to move right behind MS until he moved left pushing back MS at the pit lane exit).

      1. True it was two seconds claudioff, but it’s a distillation of much more – the past history of the two drivers, their current form and how the end of the career is panning out (good for RB, terrible for MS). Barrichello’s comments are interesting: he knew Schumacher could do something like he did, but was determined to show him he wasn’t intimated and could and would pass him. It wasn’t courage, but pride.

        Best overtake of the season, definitely.

  11. What I find funny, is the only people defending him (like on blogs and forums) are the real schumi fans. Even a fan has to see this was to dangerous!

    1. I am a Schumi fan, and I’m defending him,
      What he did was stupid and dangerous, but I don’t think this is the only stupid and dangerous thing we have seen this season, and I suspect he is being attacked more because of his reputation than the actual move itself.

      1. Hi Mike, thanks for your post, not a fan myself, but not a basher as well.

        I respect him for giving it another go and i am looking forward to seeing some good driving still.

        As you said, there’s far to much of these hardball defence moves in F1 in the lsast years. As this is the first time something like this is really penalized, we can now hope for clearer rules/guidlines what is allowed and what is unsportsmanlike/dangerous.

      2. Well, he built that reputation. And it was by far *the* most stupid and dangerous move this season, if not the only one.

        Schumacher deserves all the criticism for this and for what he’s done in the past, some of the most anti-sporting moments in the history of any top sport. Admittedly you can’t accuse him of being inconsistent.

  12. It has to be said that Michael Schumacher has nerves of steel,otherwise by now another driver should at least have made an inroad into his unbeaten records that measure as long as your arm.Schumacher holds the lot,an amazing feat, and each record was approved and stamped by the FIA as legitimate.

    Also when Michael Schumacher was a young driver just starting off in F1, there was definitely more aggression from many drivers at the top of their profession……….but there were also far more severe accidents than thankfully there are now.Drivers were killed and many were sadly maimed for life.

    Mark Webbers recent violent accident proves that safety has exponentially improved in F1 sport,as no one thought he would get out of that car in one piece,or rather,what was left of it.Mark walked thankfully and heroically away.

    Also, manouveres that were “mildly acceptable” in Michael Schumachers early years, and, looked on as “heroic daring moves” I might add, are definitely not acceptable now,and absolutely looked on with distaste.

    The dividing line is a tightrope of what F1 stands for today.The fans want action,they want excitement but there is a thin red line seperating excitement from danger.Motor racing at any level is a highly dangerous sport and all young drivers are aware of this before entering the fray.

    We can say that there are “drivers and drivers”……some are mediocre,some that stand out from the rest,some are promising but never quite get there, and there are others that quietly fade into the background.

    However there are a few drivers,that not only stand out from the rest, but drive with such an electric,exhilirating passion that they leave onlookers constantly gasping for breath.And,these drivers miraculously do this over and over again as if they are a special elite force in F1…….they somehow attain such a standard that other drivers can only dream about.

    However a few of these top racers are constantly balanced on the thin red danger line,pushing their skills to the limit…….. then one day a slight technical or mental error can push them right over the edge,into what seems to us as onlookers, a very dangerous manouvere.Why do they do this? because they ultimately are human,just like us all.

    Drivers of this calibre normally have fans who either love them or hate them,they never seem to have the “in between fans”.This is why Michael Schumacher, who has risen above every F1 driver in the record books for stunning and unbelievable race achievements will always be remembered more for his failings, rather than his oustanding jaw dropping races that have contributed more to F1 popularity than any other driver in the past.

    As for what he did to Reubens yesterday,well he has manfully apologised after watching the race again carefully,and, he admitted that he went too far.

    Michael is an F1 Maverick,he is an individual that avoids conformity,and who exhibits great independence in thought and speech.This is a trait of many a Genius,but sadly often not realised or appreciated until the ultimate demise of that Genius.

    1. The damning indictment of this move is still the photograph – because it shows not only the miniscule gap seperating Rubens’ car from the wall (an impending death for him, michael, or anyone in the pitlane) but that Schumacher is very clearly looking directly at Rubens while he’s doing it. He’s not glancing in his mirror, he’s not checking his braking point – he’s eyeballing the helmet of the man and the concrete wall he’s forcing that man into.

      Totally inexcusable on all counts.

    2. Very nicely put Dianna! I’m glad to see at least some people looking at this with common sense. I think the other 99% are just using any excuse they can get to bash him.

      I’m not saying his actions were right (and they clearly weren’t for which he apologised as well), but I’m just sick of the constant scrutiny put forward towards him.

      1. @Robert,

        I think there is a lot of eye on schumacher as he has such a reputation for cheating and bad manouvers. His crash with Hill was the beginning of a series of incidents that were all directly caused purposefully by schumacher. Dangerous moves, parking on corners to prevent others from posting times, forcing barichello to let him past, going off circuit in order to prevent an overtake and now this (which could easily have ended with us talking about a horrific crash). If he wants less scrutiny then he needs to prove that he can be trusted.

    3. Thank you, Hairs. Exactly the point.

      To you others, it’s one thing to admire a person or his skill, but you speak as if you worship Michael Schumacher as a god. That is seriously unbalanced.

      There is a body of evidence concerning Michael Schumacher, and none of it can be ignored. He is certainly a great driver, but he has has certain advantages in amassing his record and repeatedly demonstrated a serious lack of sportmanship and concern for the welfare of others. That is why he attracts all of this commentary.

      If he had stayed retired, this would have been a largely academic or historical argument. Unfortunately, Schumacher is destroying his own legacy by his behavior this season. He’s certainly no one’s role model, and he certainly isn’t in any position to mentor Nico Rosberg. His inability to perform even as well as a relatively inexperienced driver in identical equipment can’t help but raise the question of what his true abilities really were when he was at Ferrari and how he would have measured up on a level playing field.

      If he cared a penny about you Schumacher fans, he would have stayed retired. It was hard to deny he was the greatest before, but now that’s a wide open question. He must be wondering himself, by now.

  13. fishingelbow
    2nd August 2010, 22:36

    You forgot the classic Schumacher move on J. Villeneuve in Jerez in ’97.

    1. That was something different – that was not a defensive move, it was an attempt to take Villeneuve out of the race.

    2. Villeneuve on Schumacher around the outside of last corner at Estoril ’96 was excellent :)

    1. Shhhh don’t mention something like that here … just say something against the big bad Shumi.

      That will get you along here :)

  14. My only hope is that other drivers too get punished if they attempt such moves, and not just Schumacher.

    Every incident seems to get blown out of proportion because Schumi is involved. It is almost as if the reporters and other press people have been waiting hungrily for the past 3 years for Schumacher to come back to racing so that they can write vile stuff about him again and rebuke him for the slightest offense.

    1. it would have been the same when another driver did it. Be sure of that!

    2. Jraybay-HamiltonMclarenfan
      3rd August 2010, 0:51

      Yes but schumacher has a history of moves like this. It’s not like anyone is picking on him.

      1. “It’s not like anyone is picking on him.”

        Hahaha… that made me ROFL

        1. He has made his bed and now he is finding out that it does not provide a great nights sleep.

          1. @Lee

            Don’t think he cares much tbh Lee, which is part of the reason why he’s Schumi. ;)

  15. One thing about that Webber move on Massa was he made it very clear he was covering the inside before Massa got alongside (before moving over far too much), unlike Schumacher.

  16. I don’t think a ten place grid penalty is “taking” much of a “stand”… we’ve seen people get the same penalty for far lesser offences. This one spooked the hell out of a lot of people because it could have ended in catastrophe. A one-race ban should be the punishment, but correct me if I’m wrong, we haven’t seen one of those in a long while. I suspect it’s because Ecclestone, for money reasons, doesn’t want star drivers sitting out races.

    1. But those harsh punishments were while Mosley was in office, and penalties were unpredictably harsh, or erratically absent, depending on the race, politics, and driver, and how the wind was blowing, or something.

      Now, this year, the FIA has seemed to want to be more reasonable, but has also perhaps been a bit lenient on this sort of aggressive driving, and is starting to turn that around and make clear that they may be reasonable, but that not everything is allowed.

    2. Perhaps it should have been a tougher penalty – but the fact they’ve punished him at all is remarkable when similar incidents in the past have gone unpunished.

      1. Warwick has said that they wanted to black flag him but ran out of time. That would have been very embarrassing and brought even more attention to the incident. However I am not a big fan of massive punishments and have found it quite refreshing that the stewards are being a bit more sensible this season.

  17. If Barichello would have hit the wall with his back tyre (only 10cm away) he could have hurt himself really bad.

    Schumcher is a disgrace !

  18. Before today I was almost begining to like Schumacher, he seemed to have a more relaxed approach and I was even reconsidering what I thought about his Ferrari days. But yesterday only reminded me of everything I hated about his first career in F1 and why I can never be a Schumacher fan.

    For me Sunday summed up the Senna/ Schumacher attitude of utter ruthlessness which can cross the line into complete disregard for the saftey of other drivers. Senna was prepared to ram Prost off the road of 170 mph while Schumacher was prepared to show his own brother the pit wall to defend his position.

    in contrast when I watch documentaries and videos from the 70s and early 80s what struck me was the way that the drivers spoke of the mutual trust they had for each other not to do anything stupid when racing side by side. Much of the reason the famous Arnoux vs Villeneuve battle was possible was that each man trusted the other not to do anything reckless and dangerous.

    Schumacher and Senna were the opposite in that they wanted to make you fear overtaking them for what they might do. Thats why despite their immense ability I’ll never view them as highly as the likes of Villeneuve Stewart or other greats who didn’t resort to such tactics.

    1. Exactly that is part of the reason why Michael and Senna are the undisputed No.1s of this sport. You can hate them all you want, their results and what they have achieved speaks for itself.

      1. Floda Reltih
        3rd August 2010, 2:59

        Absolutely right Robert!!!!

        Their ruthlessness goes hand in hand with their greatness.

        Let the hippies cry over the rest… :-)

        1. lol I’m not crying over it, Senna and Schumacher are without doubt two of the most talented men to ever drive a racing car and I have huge admiration for both drivers’ remarkable skill. But their enormous talent meant they had even less reason to use such tactics. It may have made them more successfull but it made them less great.

          1. I agree with Ads a 100%. This was the cotd for me even if you didn’t get the actual title :P

            It’s that ruthless vs sporting. I admit I’m a Senna fan and adore Ferrari so owe a lot to Michael but they went too far at times.

            Brundle has said that Senna would come and to overtake he’d give you the option of letting him through or having a crash basically. There wasnn’t much choice in that. I find it fascinating the lengths he went to but I can’t say it sat well with me or it was a quality I could admire.

            I don’t want to pick on Ayrton as he was supremely talented and lots of drivers have done it but for me a battle or overtake means much more when it is fair and sporting.

          2. The more determined and talented you are the MORE you use those tactics to succeed Ads21. Unfortunately that’s part of the sport. Those things go hand in hand. It’s not just Schumi who uses them either. Ham and Alonso are just the recent World Champions which prove this point. Some of the moves they pulled this season speak for themselves. Sometimes you have to use a dirty move to gain or lose a position. It’s just that MS is the king of those tactics.

    2. theRoswellite
      3rd August 2010, 21:59

      BRAVO, Bravo, bravo….wonderfully statted!

      1. theRoswellite
        3rd August 2010, 22:04

        …sorry, that was aimed at Ads21.

  19. Sidney Vianna
    2nd August 2010, 23:34

    Just for some fun. Technically, and notwithstanding what Michael did, Barrichello should have been forced to give the position back, just like Alonso was supposed to, when he overtook Kubica with all four wheels out of the track in England. Overtaking a competitor

    1. Looks to me like he only ever had two wheels off the track.

      1. I’m afraid he had the 4 wheels off the track:


        Just to continue the joke, btw.

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