Schumacher shadow hanging over ugly F1 battle

1 year ago 181

This weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the 22nd contention of the Formula 1 season, but 1 happening is for certain, the archetypal 21 number for precise small successful the progressively bitter rubric combat betwixt Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

For the archetypal clip since 1974, 2 drivers participate the last contention of the play level connected points. The past 9 months person done thing different than to find that Verstappen holds the vantage should the rubric beryllium decided by countback, by virtuousness of having won 9 races to Hamilton's eight.

Last weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix saw the 3rd important on-track collision betwixt the brace this season, pursuing crashes astatine Silverstone and Monza, on with countless different insignificant skirmishes.

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After the contention successful Jeddah, Hamilton accused Verstappen of being "over the limit" and noted they could easy person clashed much often this season.

"I've avoided collisions connected truthful galore occasions with the guy. I don't ever caput being the feline that does that. Because you unrecorded to combat different day, which I evidently did."

Senna and Prost collide successful Japan

World championships ending successful contention are thing new. Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost doubly resolved a rubric by collision, firstly successful Prost's favour erstwhile they were McLaren teammates successful 1989, portion a twelvemonth aboriginal Senna claimed the title by simply driving Prost's Ferrari disconnected the road successful Japan.

Many inactive reason Damon Hill was the rightful victor of the 1994 title that was decided connected the streets of Adelaide, erstwhile Schumacher, having near the roadworthy and damaged his car against the wall, rejoined and collided with Hill astatine the adjacent corner, eliminating some men and giving the German the archetypal of his 7 satellite titles.

Should Verstappen and/or Hamilton extremity up successful the obstruction connected Monday greeting (AEDT), you tin beryllium definite the fallout volition proceed for weeks, if not months to come. The 2 drivers are a people supra the remainder of the F1 grid, but there's each accidental this rubric volition beryllium decided successful a courtroom by teams of lawyers representing Mercedes and Red Bull.

Michael Schumacher leads Damon Hill astatine the 1994 Adelaide Grand Prix. (AAP)

That's due to the fact that of a precedent from 1997, yet different twelvemonth erstwhile an altercation successful the last contention marred an different thrilling rubric battle.

On that occasion, Michael Schumacher, successful a Ferrari, held a one-point pb implicit Williams operator Jacques Villenueve heading to the European Grand Prix astatine Jerez.

Remarkable, Schumacher, Villeneuve, and the 2nd Williams driver, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, each recorded the aforesaid qualifying clip of 1:21.072, meaning the grid had to beryllium decided by the bid successful which they acceptable the times.

The 2 title combatants would stock the beforehand row, and they ran archetypal and 2nd for overmuch of the race, isolated from erstwhile they pitted for tyres and fuel.

On thigh 48 of the 69-lap finale, Villeneuve went to walk Schumacher connected the inside, lone for the Ferrari to crook successful and collide with the Williams.

Michael Schumacher (left) and Jacques Villeneuve fought a bitter conflict for the 1997 championship. (AAP)

Schumacher was beached successful the gravel trap, retired of the race, portion Villeneuve was capable to caregiver his car to the decorativeness enactment and assertion the satellite title.

The German was instantly condemned for a cynical effort to instrumentality Villeneuve retired of the contention and triumph the championship, arsenic helium had with Hill successful 1994. Such was the outcry, that adjacent aft the stewards had decided nary punishment was necessary, the FIA was obliged to measurement successful and summon Schumacher to a proceeding successful Paris the pursuing month.

It was the result of that probe that sets the precedent for what could hap this play betwixt Hamilton and Verstappen. Schumacher was stripped of his 2nd spot decorativeness successful the 1997 championship, a punishment that means small successful the wide strategy of things, peculiarly for a operator who finished his vocation with 7 titles. Earlier this year, Sebastian Vettel famously named the 70 satellite champions successful reverse order, but it's improbable adjacent an F1 nerd similar Vettel could sanction the 70 runners-up.

Doubtless it was casual for the FIA to exclude the second-placed finisher from the results, but would they person the intestinal fortitude to portion a champion of his title?

Michael Schumacher went connected to triumph 7 satellite titles, 5 of them with Ferrari. (AAP)

"It sends a connection to each drivers astatine each levels of the athletics that, if you bash thing you shouldn't bash erstwhile the title is astatine issue, you volition beryllium excluded from that championship," then-FIA brag Max Mosley said.

"You cannot perchance summation thing by engaging successful an illegitimate act."

But arsenic Autocourse exertion Alan Henry wrote successful his instauration to the 1997 yearbook, Schumacher would hardly person been losing immoderate slumber implicit the punishment.

"Certainly the FIA World Motor Sports Council took a lenient presumption of Schumacher's alleged malfeasance. Despite expectations of draconian fines, imaginable contention suspensions oregon adjacent his starting the (1998) play with a antagonistic points total, FIA President Max Mosley announced that helium would beryllium stripped of his 2nd spot successful the title and required to transportation retired immoderate roadworthy information run work.

"Most observers regarded this arsenic small much than a slap implicit the wrists, but Mosley explained that it was intended arsenic a deterrent aimed astatine anybody who had a caput to transgress the rules successful the future."

How this play plays retired is anybody's guess, but with everything to play for, there's each accidental Hamilton and Verstappen volition beryllium paying a sojourn to the stewards country astatine immoderate point.

And if that happens, the lone winners volition beryllium the lawyers.

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