Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Final two laps of the Austrian Grand Prix

The 2002 Austrian Grand Prix was one of the most controversial grand Prixs of the last ten years. It was the race that proved that Ferrari didn't play fair with their drivers. Rubens Barrichello was only there to back up Michael Schumacher.

Barrichello had dominated the race and would have been a deserved winner but as both of the Ferrari approached the finish line Barrichello moved over and let Schumacher take the victory. Everyone was stunned and the spectators at the track let their feelings out. Jeers and boos rang out around the circuit when the drivers took to the podium.

Schumacher tried some damage control by telling Barrichello to take the top spot on the podium and also he handed him the winners trophy.

Ferrari had really shot themselves in the foot and at the next race the FIA had announced rules that made team orders illegal but the damage had been done. Ironically the only thing Ferrari got reprimanded for was Schumacher's actions on the podium for which they were fined a million dollars.

Years later Barrichello told a Brazilian TV show that he had been told by his team that he would be risking his contract if he didn't move over for Schumacher. At the time Schumacher claimed he had nothing to do with the decision but in the interview Barrichello claimed that he had documents to prove that he had known about the decision.

The incident put the sport, which was already suffering from Ferrari's dominance that year, in a bad light. The backlash from the fans was such that the FIA thought it necessary to act on the incident and change the rules.

I think it really highlighted that Ferrari didn't have the sports interest at heart and were heavily criticized by the rest of the teams.

Lets hope its not an incident that ever happens again!!

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