Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report

Fatal Accident is Behind Me, Says Ralf

Thursday March 15th, 2001

By Timothy Collings

Ralf Schumacher said on Thursday he had put the fatal accident at the Australian Grand Prix behind him and had no plans to discuss it with Jacques Villeneuve.

"I haven't actually spoken to Jacques, but you cannot really blame a driver for it, can you?" said the German on the eve of opening practice for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

"You could see what happened and it is very sad for everyone, of course -- for the family, for us too.

"I wish I could turn back the clock, but you cannot do that and all you can do now is push for higher safety standards from our side and from the FIA."

The 25-year-old younger brother of triple world champion Michael said he felt the accident, in which a marshal was killed by flying debris, was entirely a racing incident.

"We all do stupid things and I did a lot of stupid things in my career. They just happen sometimes," he said.

"On television, you could see I tried to defend my position on the straight, as I said many times.

"I stayed on the inside and I was a little later braking than the lap before and then Jacques missed the braking point a little bit.

"As I said as well it is something that can happen to all of us as you focus so much to overtake the car in front of you and you sometimes miss the braking point and I guess that is what happened to him."

Higher Fences

Schumacher said he saw no point in slowing down the Formula One cars to improve safety standards.

"I don't think it would help unless you slow them down a minute a lap it wouldn't help a lot and if all these unique parts do fall off the car they can go in all directions.

"This is especially true at Melbourne where spectators and marshals are so close and you always have that danger.

"I wouldn't slow the cars down. I would move the people away from the circuit and I would have higher fences, but I am not a safety expert."

"From our side, we can drive a little more gently with more brain in some areas and we can try to avoid accidents like that," he added.

He also said that he felt no need to speak to Villeneuve.

"I don't plan to speak to him, for me that thing is over. If he wants to come and speak to me, he can, but I don't seen any need to do that."



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