F1 News (Tuesday) 1999-11-02

Ecclestone enters Coulthard-Schumacher row Bernie Ecclestone has weighed in on the side of Michael Schumacher, in his war of words with David Coulthard, according to quotes in The Daily Mail. "Michael quite rightly had a go." "In my opinion...

Ecclestone enters Coulthard-Schumacher row

Bernie Ecclestone has weighed in on the side of Michael Schumacher, in his war of words with David Coulthard, according to quotes in The Daily Mail.

"Michael quite rightly had a go."

"In my opinion what Coulthard did was quite wrong, completely out of order. He should have been black-flagged for it. Of course, it is up to David whether he wants to take any legal action against Schumacher, but I imagine he would have to prove what Michael said about him was incorrect. Although I'm not a lawyer, I think he would find that difficult."

The comments are likely to increase friction between the FIA and FOH further still.

Italy angry at Schumacher partying

It has been reported by Agence France Presse that Italy is upset with Michael Schumacher following his partying with the McLaren team.

Photographs have appeared of a drunk Michael Schumacher wandering with black duct tape wound around his head, whilst still in his Ferrari overalls.

The editor of Gazzetta della Sport said "The sight of Schumacher drunk is above all unusual and unpleasant. We thought he only drank milk.

"But they tell me that every so often he transgresses and that because he's not used to it he collapses after the first drink and then starts playing up."

"A sensitive man, a driver who loved Ferrari deeply, a champion who supported the cause and the image of his team would never have done it. It was as if he'd insulted the feelings that are inspired by the 'red religion'"

"Let's make it brutally clear. He is a hemisphere away from the passionate world which sustains the legend of a car which is famous but which hasn't won the world title for 20 years. He is an enormously talented driver who in return for great riches gives Ferrari his skill, experience, intuition and class, but not his heart... He is the perfect champion for an era which has no place for flagbearers."

A poll of television viewers, who have seen the video coverage, had 76% believing he had betrayed them.

Schumacher pleased to have Barrichello

Michael Schumacher has said he is pleased to have Rubens Barrichello as a team mate next seaon.

Rubens is a really good guy. I've never had any problems or disagreements with him. I've always had a good rapport with other drivers but I think that I will get on better with Rubens than I did with Eddie. He's like me in that he's married, and he doesn't have a crazy life like Eddie does. We'll get on well off the track as well as on it, I'm sure about that. With Eddie it was never possible"

Michael has also denied that there is a number 1 and number 2 driver issue at Ferrari, and that there ever has been.

"There's nothing in any contract, not even mine, about being number one or number two driver. There's no initial difference. The hierarchy within the team is only decided by what happens on the track. That's how it was with Eddie right from the start. And I would add that Ferrari are a great team and are capable of preparing two absolutely identical cars, with the same components, for both drivers... And Rubens knows this well. Just as Eddie did."

Hakkinen on the treble

Mika Hakkinen has played down his chances of winning the treble, whilst speaking to Agence France Presse.

"You never know what's going to happen next year, and that's obviously a question that I can't answer with much confidence. I am going to enjoy the result we have been able to achieve here this year, so let's talk about that subject closer to next year -- well, during next year! Winning one title is hard enough in this sport."

Meanwhile, Eddie Jordan has spoken on the teams 3rd place in the constructors championship and Frentzen's third in the drivers.

"Heinz scored in 12 out of 16 races this year, which is a fantastic achievement. e realised our dreams this year. This will be a season which hopefully I will remember as being the one that gave us the confidence to make the really serious breakthrough to take on the world championship."

Jacques Villeneuve has been philosophic on this season with British American Racing: "It has been a difficult year. I suppose we can be positive about next season because I don't see how it could be any worse."

Montezemolo praises Hakkinen

Luca di Montezemolo has congratulated McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen on his title. "Hakkinen had a great race, he deserved the drivers' title, just as Ferrari deserved the constructors' title. This is a world title that's worth a great deal, an enormous amount in this last championship of the century, because the team are world champions after such a difficult year, during which we were missing the best driver in the world"

Speaking on Michael Schumacher, he said "Schumacher is back, and in the last two races you've all seen what he can do. After his accident , we never thought we'd be there with everything to play for in the very last race. Today, Hakkinen got a better start. All credit to him."

On the start: "Hakkinen made a good start and at that point I realised there was little to be done. He deserved to win, although I didn't like some of the unsporting things that Coulthard did. But then, even that is part of the game."

On Irvine: "He did the best he could, the best in all the years he's been with us. And Ferrari did everything they could to put him in the best possible position. But what counts now is the fact that we've got 120 points as a team, and that it's been 16 years since we won the constructors' title."

And now Luca is looking forward to next season: "We will be putting up a determined fight, as we've always done. Starting tomorrow morning, we'll be getting back down to work to try and win the driver's title as well."

Hill says goodbye

Damon Hill has spoke about his retirement from the Japanese Grand Prix and from Formula 1 motor racing.

"I am very sad to be leaving Formula One and I would have loved to have finished on a higher note. I have to acknowledge that Formula One for me is a thing of the past and that I have made the right decision to retire".

He went on to talk about Suzuka. "I had to change the nose cone which lost me lots of time. After that I decided there was too little to gain and too much to lose in carrying on".

Finally, he talked about his time in F1 and his family: "If you have a family, it is difficult to be away a lot... I loved doing it and I got a lot from it. Being a Grand Prix driver is a very special thing and it is a very rare achievement that you can be a Grand Prix driver. I was very fortunate to be in one of those fantastic cars for a long time".

Coulthard goes on offensive

David Coulthard has gone on the offensive over Michael Schumacher's comments, after threatening legal action against the German saying "If you slander me I will defend myself".

"There's no question of any legal action. But Michael cannot question my integrity. That does harm to my reputation as a racing driver in such a public way. He cannot go around saying what he likes about another driver because I certainly am going to defend myself. I understand he is disappointed. I cost him two-and-a-half seconds which the lap times confirm, not 10 seconds as he says, which just so happens is the same as what he was behind Mika. I have every respect for him as a driver and for what he has achieved in the sport, but this sort of thing does him no good at all. This is just another blimp in our relationship. We have spoken about it and agreed to have different views, but we have got to work together as part of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association."

Schumacher and Coulthard in old tiff

Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard's moment in the Japanese Grand Prix has blown up into a full scale war of words between the two over the Belgian Grand Prix of last season.

Schumacher said "The team should wonder why it asked a driver to do the things he has done. I'd been told that he had come off but when he came back on he was driving in front of me from turn two to turn 11 really very slow. He was zigzagging, it would have been very easy to let me through but he didn't do that at all -- he actually closed the door to me. It was a very unfair movement particularly when he was lapped and didn't have any chance in the race."

In the Press Conference he had said "David had passed many blue flags, and he had some kind of problem, but he was really driving zig-zagging. Actually I am not sure now whether I should believe [that what happened] at Spa [last year] wasn't done purposely, the way he behaved today."

David Coulthard said "I can't believe Michael is going around saying things like that. It just shows Michael holds grudges and can't admit his mistakes. If I was weaving in front of him it certainly wasn't intentional. I didn't try and hold him up. I came back on the circuit with difficulties and I responded to the blue flag."

Ron Dennis has backed Coulthard: "I don't think Michael's comment has done him any good. First of all his perception of time is completely wrong. He lost 2.5 seconds on his corners. The rules provide for drivers to take two corners before observing the blue flags...that's what David did. And after Malaysia, putting aside the other races where we had to suffer severe blocking strategies, I just think it's silly for him to even bring the subject up. Only he is going to suffer from the comment. Certainly not David, certainly not the team. To be accused of things that are clearly without any real foundation doesn't to credit to Michael and I don't think it's particularly good for motor racing"

-- Stephen M Baines http://www.motorsport.org.uk

"The cars are as safe as they can be, it's just that you'll never be able to make race cars completely safe. Things happen at speed." Greg Moore. RIP. 31/10/1999. Speaking on 29/10/1999

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Eddie Jordan , Luca di Montezemolo , Damon Hill , Greg Moore , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Jordan