After Ralf Schumacher went into the back of Rubens Barrichello at the start of the Australian Grand Prix yesterday, an accident that resulted in a mass pile-up, there has been the usual debate about who was to blame: or was it just a racing incident?
Barrichello wanted to protect his line and moved across the track to block Schumacher, who was unable brake in time and his Williams launched off the rear of the Ferrari. Schumacher believes Barrichello changed direction more times than is permitted.
"I made a super start and I wanted to use it to the full by getting past Rubens," he explained. "Rubens blocked me once, which was okay, he was only protecting his position. But then he moved over a second time. This time he came across and braked, which was the problem. I wasn't expecting him to brake so early."
"When the car left the ground I felt like a passenger in an aeroplane. I was really lucky. I was just praying the car wouldn't flip over and that it would land where I had enough space not to hurt anyone. I was thinking I hope the landing will be okay, and not in the tyre wall or the wall itself."
"Rubens is usually a good, calm driver but he goes over the top when he is under pressure," Schumacher continued. " He changed direction twice and you are only allowed to do it once. His trouble is he is desperate to beat Michael so drives with blinkers on."
BMW Director of Motorsport Gerhard Berger agrees with Schumacher that Barrichello did change his racing line too many times: "We will discuss this over the next 14 days," he said. "It is obvious that Barrichello swapped his line far too many times. Irrelevant if it was twice or three times, the regulations state that you are allowed to change your line, once."
Barrichello, meanwhile, is angered by the situtation and believes Schumacher was going far too fast and would not have made the corner anyway, even if the Ferrari hadn't braked in front of him.
"If I wasn't there he wouldn't have made the corner. It's as simply as that," Barrichello stated, going on to say: "You know even if he thinks I moved too many times I only moved back to the left probably a centimetre or so. If he wanted to take me on the outside he should have moved over a lot further."
"I didn't get in his way, I was just measuring myself and he didn't brake and that was that. It is silly. We were going to be first and second out of the corner; for me I would have kept my place and he would have moved up a position. It's just silly."
Ferrari Technical Director Ross Brawn refused to be drawn into commenting on who was, if anyone, at fault: "Regarding the accident with Rubens, I cannot comment at the moment, as I have not had a chance to study it carefully and as for the question of a re-start, well, we have to live with the rules that exist," he said.
Both drivers were called to give their statements to the race director after the accident and discussions will be held in the next few days to decide whether any action will be taken.