Schumacher faces grilling

  • Other Sport
  • Saturday, 19 Apr 2003

IMOLA: Formula One superstar Michael Schumacher faced a roasting yesterday for putting at risk the life of a trackside marshall at the Brazilian Grand Prix a fortnight ago. 

The Ferrari ace, and Fernando Alonso could also be banned if officials feel they deliberately defied safety regulations. 

The two men were to be quizzed by International Automobile Federation (FIA) race director Charlie Whiting during the drivers’ briefing for this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix. 

The five-time world champion careered off the Brazilian circuit causing a marshall to dodge his spinning machine while double yellow flags were being waved. 

The marshall had been helping to clear away another stricken car. 

Alonso could also face a hefty fine, a race ban or having to start from the back of the grid if an investigation into his race-stopping smash finds the young Renault ace guilty of careless driving. 

Alonso, 21, escaped serious injury when he ploughed into the wreckage of Mark Webber’s crashed Jaguar despite yellow warning flags being waved frantically. 

“It’s inconceivable under normal circumstances that a driver would go off under double yellow flags,” FIA president Max Mosley said Thursday. 

“Their purpose is to slow drivers right down so there is not the slightest risk they will go off, as you have men and machines working in the area. 

“At the time Michael went off there was a crane moving a car. There were double yellow flags being waved and they mean slow right down and be prepared to stop. 

“If someone goes off there is a serious risk, apart from damage to them, that he’ll kill a marshall. 

“The responsibility is with the driver. I don’t know why Michael Schumacher went off,” he said. 

Mosley also said that Alonso, given a drive-through penalty for overtaking under a yellow flag at Interlagos, could be in more hot water for the massive shunt which brought out the red flags and caused a chaotic race finish. 

“Stewards wanted to speak to Alonso but he was in hospital.  

“There is a report from the FIA observer and further investigations will have to be made because something clearly went wrong,” Mosley said. 

David Coulthard, robbed of victory when the Brazilian action was stopped and left to settle for fourth place, was unhappy with the Alonso incident. 

“It doesn’t seem right that the guy who caused the accident and brought out the red flags can get third place.       It’s ridiculous,” he said. 

But the result of the Interlagos race, which was won by Italian Giancarlo Fisichella of Jordan, with Alonso third behind Finn Kimi Raikkonen’s McLaren-Mercedes, is unlikely to be changed. – AFP  

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