New Information about Schumacher's Accident
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Sunday July 18th, 1999

Michael Schumacher was notified of the red flag only a couple of seconds before he left the the track and into the tyre barriers - reveals Peter Windsor in today's London Sunday Times. Furthermore, the report reveals that Ferrari had learned about the red flag much too late after the race was aborted, due to the technically-primitive system by which stewards' decisions are handed over to the teams.

Windsor also reveals that Ferrari are now investigating the cause of Schumacher's brake failure with their suppliers, Brembo. The team suspects that the failure may have been due to faulty material in the brake caliper, a faulty o-ring on the bleed nipple or human error. It was further disclosed that Schumacher was unlucky to have hit one of the few unwrapped tyre walls in today's Grand Prix circuits. Windsor explains that tyre walls are usually wrapped in conveyor belting, maintaining the cushioning effect of the tyres but allowing a wayward car to slide along the length of the wall, dissipating energy. Since that was not the case with the tyre wall Schumacher hit, his Ferrari nose was in effect embedded between the rows of tyres, not allowing the car to slide. Because of that, the chassis broke, crushing and twisting Schumacher's leg.

Premature Comeback not likely

Windsor also addresses the idea that Ferrari could build a special car for Schumacher, to see him return in no time, whereby a hand throttle and a more cushioned cockpit will be added to the car. However, as Windsor points out, the idea may be fruitless as Schumacher will have to prove he is able to climb out of the car within five seconds, as the FIA safety regulations specify. Furthermore, Schumacher's spokesman, Heiner Buchinger, downplayed these speculations and told the newspaper Schumacher himself would not want to risk a premature comeback. Buchinger said Schumacher told him that, "the centrifugal force would unleash hellish pain," and that his first priority was to fully heal and get fit.

Moreover, The Sunday Telegraph also reports today that Ferrari utterly denies reports that they are working on such special car to enable Schumacher's early return. The newspaper has Ross Brawn, who was initially rumoured to have said making such changes to the car would be easy, as saying: "This suggestion has not come from us. It has no foundation whatsoever."

"We have not been thinking about how we could change the car. At present we are still assessing the situation with Michael and how long we think it will be until he can get back to racing. To revamp the car would require it to undergo several changes, perhaps a complete overhaul and that would take several weeks of research and adjustments. To operate the gas from the steering wheel would be very difficult and I don't think we could do it," said Brawn.

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