SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS // Michael Schumacher apologised to Rubens Barrichello by text yesterday for almost forcing his former Ferrari teammate into a wall at this month's Hungarian Grand Prix. Formula One's seven-times world champion had said sorry on his website after the August 1 race in Budapest but Barrichello told reporters at the Belgian Grand Prix that the Mercedes driver had also sent him a message on his way to Spa-Francorchamps.
"I just received a message from him today, funnily enough," said the Brazilian, celebrating a record 300th grand prix this weekend. "I just said thank you, no problem. Life goes on," added the 38-year-old Williams driver. "And I wished him a good weekend too." Schumacher, asked at a later news conference whether he would apologise face-to-face, made clear that he had intended no coldness in sending a text message rather than speaking personally.
"I have no problem to speak to Rubens, absolutely indeed," he said. "One of the main reasons I sent the text was because it is his 300th grand prix and we have quite a history together so I thought it was appropriate to congratulate him and clarify the point. "He sort of felt that I wanted to push him against the wall and very clearly this was not my ambition. I wanted to race very tightly but without any wall in contact, if he felt that was the case, then I was sorry for that," added the 41-year-old Mercedes driver.
Barrichello had told reporters after the race that the manoeuvre, at around 300kph on the pit straight, was the most dangerous he had experienced in his F1 career and accused Schumacher of unfair conduct. He said also in the heat of the moment that he had not spoken to Schumacher about it because: "You know Michael. You talk to him and he's always going to feel he's right." Schumacher, who lost 10th place to Barrichello in the incident, was handed a 10-place drop from wherever he qualifies on the Spa starting grid for his actions against Barrichello in Budapest.
That has left the German, making a comeback this season after three years in retirement, with little chance of adding to his six wins at his favourite circuit where he made his Formula One debut in 1991. * Reuters