Backmarker controversy again

Backmarker controversy again

There's been a fair amount of controversy this season about backmarkers in a race getting in the way, or worse, and the subject has come up yet again. McLaren team principal Ron Dennis and Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug were both...

There's been a fair amount of controversy this season about backmarkers in a race getting in the way, or worse, and the subject has come up yet again. McLaren team principal Ron Dennis and Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug were both unhappy about an incident in which Juan Pablo Montoya was hit by the Williams of Antonio Pizzonia, claiming it could affect the outcome of the constructors' title.

Norbert Haug.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Montoya, who had also been hit by Jordan's Tiago Monteiro in Turkey, was taken out by Pizzonia in Belgium. Both times Montoya was running second to teammate Kimi Raikkonen and a McLaren one-two finish was therefore lost, as well as valuable points.

In a similar scenario, BAR's Takuma Sato shunted out the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher at Spa. Pizzonia was fined ?8,000 for the Montoya incident while Sato got a 10 place grid demotion in Brazil for his efforts.

"It's ridiculous. That may decide the outcome of the world championship and it's 8,000 euros," Haug said about the Pizzonia moment, according to Reuters. "And the other guy that hit Schumacher gets 10 places. I do not understand that."

"I have a very, very clear view on that. A backmarker who is lapped should not interfere with the outcome of the race and not interfere with the outcome of a world championship. Full stop. And he should be penalised. Absolutely penalised."

"He (Pizzonia) got it wrong, badly wrong. That is the fact. And it may decide the outcome of the world championship. It would not have happened if Nick (Heidfeld) had been at the wheel, I can tell you that."

Dennis declined to name who he was talking about but presumably he was on the same track as Haug. "The drivers who just don't get out of the way, they influence the outcome of the world championship," he commented.

"You don't ask them to detract from their own race but there is a pattern, and I don't want to name names, of drivers who just don't behave like Grand Prix drivers, respecting people who are driving better and are in better cars."

"It's not fair and there's lots of times when these backmarkers have not only caused incidents, there are many times when they have influenced the outcome of races because they are very difficult to get past."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Williams , Jordan