Sunday March 4th, 2001
Ralf Schumacher has indicated that Jacques Villeneuve was to blame for the accident that led to the death of a marshal at the Australian Grand Prix.
Williams driver Schumacher said he was hit from behind by Villeneuve, who then flew into the air and against a safety fence. The marshal is believed to have been hit and killed by a wheel that came off Villeneuve's British American Racing car.
"I was on the inside of the track going my way and being careful not to make any change of line," Schumacher said. "I braked and suddenly I felt a huge bang in the back and saw Jacques flying over me.
"I spun hoping that I would crash nowhere. I think that Jacques over-rated himself a bit, just like last year in Canada, when he again ran into my car.
"After I got out of my car I had a look into the cockpit of the BAR which was almost destroyed and I was glad to know that Jacques had already stepped out of it. It's only thanks to the safety level of our cars that nothing bad happened to either of us."
Schumacher's teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, making his Formula One debut, capped an unhappy day for BMW-Williams when his engine blew up on lap 40 while in the points.
"It's disappointing that I couldn't see the chequered flag because I had a good race," Montoya said. "The engine blew up without giving me any warning. I can say now that running in Formula One can be fun.
"My Michelin tyres were performing really well, especially at the end of the run when I did my fastest lap and it was actually looking quite good.
"I first thought overtaking was going to be impossible but now I realise that you can if you plan it, unlike in Champ Car races, and it's also very exciting."
The team will now head to Silverstone on Wednesday to begin a three-day test with Spaniard Marc Gene at the wheel