June 12, 2002

Report: Schumacher to be stripped of Austrian title.: Schumacher's Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello would be awarded the grand prix title, based on the order from team boss Jean Todt to slow down on the final straight and let Schumacher pass Barrichello to help the German's bid for a fifth world title.

posted by msacheson to other at 11:43 AM - 4 comments

There are a lot of questionable decisions made by the powers-that-be both in the adminstration of sport and its practice. That said, however, I think that going back in time to right a wrong by rewriting the end result -- just because people don't like the way it was achieved -- sets a dangerous precedent. There are no rules in place (I believe -- auto racing fans correct me if I am wrong) that prevent one teammate from slowing down so that another may pass. Sure, it's not the right thing to do, but it's not explicitly the wrong thing to do, either. Sport, for better or for worse, is about competing by an agreed upon set of rules, rather than shifting sets of ideals or belief systems. What is the statute of limitations on making such a reversal? This may sound heretical to baseball fans, but if Schumacher is stripped of his title, there are at least grounds for MLB to strip Mark McGwire of his home run title for his open use of Andro. Once again, there is no rule in place, but the spirit of baseball was subverted in the chase for 61. I don't agree with what the Ferrari team did, but I think that Formula One authorities have to suck it up, move forward and change the rules for the future -- or risk losing legitimacy, fan support and corporate dollars in the process.

posted by smithers at 12:46 PM on June 12, 2002

Wow, I sure didn't see that one coming.

posted by insomnyuk at 01:36 PM on June 12, 2002

I wonder why FIA is only doing this now. I remember in 1997 in Jerez (?) Jacques Villeneuve striking a deal with McLaren and letting Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard by after he clinched the championship. A few seasons ago, Mika Salo had a huge lead at Hockenheim in a Ferrari subbing for an injured Michael Schumacher but had to let Eddie Irvine by. Also a few seasons ago, didn't David Coulthard let Mika Hakkinen by because they had agreed whoever made it to the first corner first would win the race?

posted by gyc at 01:37 PM on June 12, 2002

Just because the Bild reported it, it's not one hundred percent certain. Only Michael and Rubens are going to Paris for the hearing, none of the Ferrari management is going, so if the ruling reversed the result of the team order, the team would have been going. Team orders are within the rules of Formula 1, Ferrari's only mistake was to not hide it, they did it out in the open just like they have been doing all this while. My opinion is that Michael will be heavily fined for letting Rubens stand on the top most step on the podium and in the center during the press conference.

posted by riffola at 09:39 PM on June 12, 2002

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