Former F1 driver and safety advocate Jackie Stewart has weighed in on the Hungarian Grand Prix incident between Mercedes GP driver Michael Schumacher and Williams F1 driver Ruben Barrichello. Barrichello attempted to pass Schumacher who moved placed an aggressive blocking maneuver on the Brazilian.
While Schumacher was penalized 10 grid spaces for the next grand prix in Belgium, many have suggested the penalty was not severe enough. Even race steward and former grand prix driver Derek Warwick said today that Schumacher was lucky he didn’t get a black flag during the race.
Now legendary F1 ace Jackie Stewart has voiced his opinion on the matter telling the Daily Express:
â€œIt is 16 years and four months since we lost a driver [in Formula 1],â€ he said.
â€œWe are never more than a millimetre away from something awful happening and for Schumacher to do what he did with Rubens Barrichello is just inviting disaster.
â€œFor one driver to do that deliberately, knowing that the wheels could interlock and that he had nowhere to go, was shocking.â€
â€œIt 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,â€ the three-time champion added.
â€œThe punishment was the minimum they could do. It cannot go on.â€
“You have to view the evidence you have and you could disqualify him from the next grand prix, or two grands prix,” he continued. “But we felt a 10-place penalty is a big penalty to carry for Spa. It kind of puts him out of the race at Spa, and hopefully he will learn from that and remember that the new stewards will not tolerate that driving.”
I’m sure it’s just me but somehow I am uncomfortable with this statement and sentiment. The “new” stewards? Won’t except what? Color me reactionary but I expect Stewart to offer his controvers-a-quote for the Lauda File but I think race stewards should do their job and shut it! They should be making an example of anyone in the press for our “youngsters” and if they have an axe to grind they shouldn’t be in the role period.
If Warwick was so appalled by Schumacher’s move then render judgment and move on but I think the FIA should add a paragraph on the steward’s application imposing a Non-disclosure agreement. Let’s leave rhetoric where it belongs. Except for Jackie of course because without his quote machine, what would we have to talk about for the F1 August break?