F1

Lauda comments on driver discipline

SYDNEY, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Former triple world champion Niki Lauda has called for an overhaul of Formula One rules so that reckless drivers can be ordered off the track during a race, an Australian newspaper reported on Tuesday. The Austrian...

SYDNEY, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Former triple world champion Niki Lauda has called for an overhaul of Formula One rules so that reckless drivers can be ordered off the track during a race, an Australian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The Austrian driver, who won the drivers' championship in 1975, 1977 and 1984, said motor racing needed to introduce a ``red card" system similar to that used in soccer.

Lauda said instant punishment for drivers would act as a deterrent against dangerous driving or deliberate interference with a rival. "Motor racing must follow soccer and have a sort of red card system whereby drivers guilty of foul play are sent off on the spot - no arguments, no appeal," Lauda told Sydney's The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

In the last race of the 1997 season - the European grand prix in Spain on October 26 - championship leader Michael Schum- acher collided with nearest rival Jacques Villeneuve.

Schumacher was forced to retire when his damaged Ferrari ran off the track, whereas Villeneuve's Williams raced on. The Canadian finished third in Jerez to claim the world title for the first time, ahead of his German rival.

"What Schumacher did to Villeneuve was intentional," said Lauda, who quit motor racing in 1985 and founded an airline.

But Lauda said Formula One's disciplinary system failed to deter drivers from deliberately trying to take out opponents.

Schumacher has been summoned to appear before an extraordi- nary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Novem- ber 11.

Speaking on board one of his own planes at Sydney airport, Lauda said: "Schumacher's case will come up next week. He could be suspended, but who cares now?"

Lauda, who survived a near-fatal crash at the German grand prix in 1976, described the criticism and scorn directed at Schumacher since the incident as a little "over the top."

"These things have been happening for years, especially in key          
races. But today they get more publicity because there are cameras      
everywhere," he said.                                                   

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