Atlas F1 News Service

Barrichello Ignored Initial Team Orders

Sunday May 13th, 2001

Transcripts of the pit-car radio transmissions between Ferrari and their drivers reveal that Rubens Barrichello was asked to move over to teammate Michael Schumacher three laps before the race ended. However, Barrichello initially ignored the request.

The Brazilian driver, who led the race until he came into the pits on lap 47, was overtaken by eventual winner David Coulthard, with Schumacher running closely behind them in third place.

According to reports in the Brazilian press, Ferrari's sporting director, Jean Todt, went on the radio with Barrichello on lap 69, three laps to the end, saying: "Rubens, please let him pass."

At the same time, the team's technical director, Ross Brawn, told Michael Schumacher on the radio, "OK, Michael, we had already told [Rubens to move]". However, Barrichello ignored the request and continued driving in second.

A lap later, driving by the pitlane, Todt is heard yet again ordering Barrichello to move for Schumacher, however this time in a high pitched voice. Todt is heard repeating the order, "let him pass, let him pass", several times, in greater intensity.

Eventually, just meters off the finish line, Barrichello obeyed and moved aside for his teammate, who finish second and maintained a four-point lead in the WC standings over race winner Coulthard.

Asked after the race whether him letting Schumacher pass only on the very last corner was a form of protest against the team's orders, Barrichello replied: "Perhaps, yes."

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