Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report

Driver Fines Don't Work, Says Ralf

Wednesday April 4th, 2001

By Matt Scott

Fines for dangerous driving don't work in Formula One and suspended race bans would be better, Ralf Schumacher said on Tuesday.

The German, younger brother of Ferrari's triple world champion Michael, has been hit from behind in all three races so far this season.

Two of the incidents, including one that ended the Williams driver's hopes in Brazil on Sunday, involved his sibling's Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello.

Barrichello blamed Schumacher for the latest incident at Interlagos, saying the German had changed his line, but others saw it differently.

Williams technical director Patrick Head said the Brazilian should think carefully about what he said and former world champion Niki Lauda called for a two-race ban.

While Dutchman Jose Verstappen was fined $15,000 for his collision with Ralf Schumacher's Colombian team mate Juan Pablo Montoya at Interlagos, Barrichello escaped punishment after stewards decided he had been involved in a racing incident.

Schumacher said a fine would have had no affect anyway.

"A fine doesn't matter. $15,000 doesn't matter in Barrichello's case," he told reporters at the Williams factory.

"You can't just give a penalty because Ferrari will pay it without worrying. In our business the team doesn't care.

"A race ban is quite a hard thing, because a mistake can happen to all of us," he said.

"But a suspended race ban for four races or something, I think that would be a good idea."


Schumacher said he was disappointed by Barrichello's reaction to Sunday's collision, that saw the Brazilian fail to finish his home race for the seventh successive year.

"It is bad enough that the incident happened, but what is worse is that he is blaming me for it," said Schumacher, who was also hit from the rear by Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

A race marshal was killed as a result of that crash when he was hit by a wheel that flew of Villeneuve's car.

"Whenever a car is braking, just like in normal driving, the car behind has to watch it," said Ralf.

"I did a normal braking manoeuvre there (in Brazil) but Rubens should simply step back a bit, not try to manoeuvre like my brother because he can't achieve that anyway.

"He should try to do his own best and then maybe he will have fewer accidents.

"It happens to all of us to crash someone out and when it does, you hold your hands up and say 'sorry, I made a mistake and I can't change'.

"I don't like the Barrichello approach of blaming me."

Schumacher said he was surprised by the performance of his new team mate Montoya, who overtake Michael Schumacher and led for half the race at Interlagos until Verstappen shunted him out.

"Juan was good, the whole weekend he was quicker than I expected after the first two races.

"He was a bit lucky with the start situation but he made the most of it and caught Michael at the end of the straight which is fortunate because of the speed difference."

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