Haug wants end to Schumacher bashing

Norbert Haug (GER) Mercedes Sporting Director. Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday 12 March 2010.

Norbert Haug says Michael Schumacher deserves a break from the criticism he is attracting

Aug.4 (GMM) According to Mercedes chief Norbert Haug, a line should now be drawn underneath the recent criticisms of Michael Schumacher.

With his detractors already questioning his competitive struggles in 2010, the seven time world champion sparked a new line of attack with his aggressive driving against former Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello in Hungary.

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01 squeezes Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW32 into the pit wall and onto the grass. Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday 1 August 2010.

Michael Schumacher puts the squeeze on Rubens Barrichello

The condemnation was near-universal and stinging, and preceded a rare show of contrition by the 41-year-old German.

“Michael has apologised and accepted his penalty,” competition boss Haug is quoted by Der Tagespiegel. “It should now be accepted from everyone else and a final line be drawn under this topic,” added the German.

But for some, drawing that line will not come until the safety implications of the move are well documented.

“He’s a seven time world champion, he knew exactly what he was doing, he did it absolutely deliberately,” said Alex Wurz. “A collision could have been fatal.”

Norbert Haug with Michael Schumacher during the Mercedes GP launch

Joan Villadelprat, writing in El Pais newspaper, agreed: “Obviously he cannot argue from the angle of inexperience. What he did to Barrichello is intolerable. If it had gone wrong, the crash would have been at 300kph and could have ended in tragedy.”

And Ferrari test driver Marc Gene wrote in El Mundo newspaper: “I still have shivers after watching that move. It was unnecessary and very dangerous.”

Triple world champion and F1 safety pioneer Jackie Stewart said: “It was one of the most blatant abuses of another driver that I have seen. It is a terrible example from a man who has seven world titles — bully-boy tactics.”

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01 crashes out at turn 8 at the end of qualifying. Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday 29 May 2010.

Michael Schumacher's return to Formula 1 has been a flop so far

Another former driver John Watson added: “He’s a proud man and didn’t want to be overtaken but he reverted to an ugly animal instinct.”

Sebastien Buemi was unhappy with Schumacher after Hungary for a different reason.

“At the start he pushed me to the grass,” Blick newspaper quotes the 21-year-old as saying. “I had to brake or I would have hit him. I am disappointed; I would have expected more from him.”

UK bookmaker William Hill is taking bets that the German will retire before the Belgian grand prix (33/1), and that he will return to retirement at the end of the season (evens).

  • Paul Kirk

    Why can’t people see that Shumi started his line to his right soon after he exited the corner? That manoever is racing drivers’ language for “pass me on my left”, or “don’t try to go up the inside of me”, so Bakaralo should have read the sign and changed his plan and aimed to Shumi’s left instead of stupidly persuing a pass on Shu’s right, I mean, who the hell would try to pass someone on the grass? I bet Bargakelo is saying to himself “what an idiot I was to do that, I could have killed myself”.