Monday March 5th, 2001
Paul Stoddart, the owner and chairman of the European Minardi team, has said there was nothing Jacques Villeneuve or Ralf Schumacher could do to prevent the accident that caused the death of a race marshal in the Australian Grand Prix, despite thinking Albert Park is the safest track in the world.
Stoddart believes the incident was simply a freak accident and neither British American Racing driver Villeneuve or BMW-Williams driver Schumacher could be blamed for the crash that led to marshal Graham Beveridge losing his life.
"Australia is the safest circuit in the world," Stoddart insisted. "It was a freak accident, we can all see that, and nothing would have stopped that.
"When things are travelling as fast as Formula One cars and things go wrong they go monumentally wrong, but it is motorsport that is dangerous.
"Driver safety is so fantastic that Jacques can walk away unscathed, you are never going to stop things like that being thrown, people spend an enormous amount of time on improving car safety."
Beveridge is believed to have been hit by a wheel after Villeneuve had crashed into the back of Schumacher at around 150 mph.