Wednesday May 2nd, 2001
Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn has revealed a possible suspension failure was the reason why Michael Schumacher slowed down during last Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona.
Schumacher, who had led the initial part of the race, was forced to slow down dramatically after making his second pit stop, lapping even four seconds slower than on previous laps. The German admitted after the race he feared a tyre was delaminating and so he decided to drive slower as a precaution.
Despite the problems, Schumacher won the race after leader Mika Hakkinen retired with a clutch failure on the final lap. However, Brawn has admitted they had asked Schumacher to slow down fearing that the German could suffer the same problem which had forced team mate Rubens Barrichello to retire earlier on.
"There was a linkage in the rear suspension that broke (on Barrichello's car)," Brawn was quoted as saying on BAR's website. "The part used was quite new and we have to take it back to get a metallurgic test to work out what went wrong.
"We measure all the forces on the car and we have a maximum load the suspension can take and we never went above 40 percent of what it can take. I don't think it had anything to do with traction control."
Brawn also admitted Ferrari were still investigating the cause of Schumacher's car poor handling: "Until we get the car out we are not sure. There was a vibration on the tyres which was getting worse and worse and we considered a new set of tyres but there was no way of recovering it."