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Maybe I WILL Say Something About the Schumacher Controversy, After All.

Unusually,  I had stopped reading comments on the Schumacher/Barrichello incident on James Allen’s blog fairly early on.  I suppose I had just seen enough of people everywhere (not just there) basically accusing Schumacher of attempted murder and of “trying to run Barrichello into the wall.”  Because really?  Do you actually think that he wanted that to be the outcome?  And don’t you think that if Schumacher actually had wanted to run Barrichello into the pit wall and KILL HIM DEAD, he probably could have managed to do just that?  I mean, I’m about as far from an F1 driver in terms of driving skill as it’s possible to be, but I’ll bet that even I could manage to run someone who was driving alongside me into a wall if I really wanted to.  (Okay, yes, I’d probably kill myself in the process — but still!)

What would actually be really, really difficult for me — and probably for most people on Earth — to pull off is what Schumacher actually did on Sunday: leaving Barrichello just enough room. An amount of room that was enough to just barely avoid a terrible crash, but one that simultaneously conveyed the message, “Want to overtake me?  Well, it won’t be easy or, you know, not terrifying — and maybe you’ll think twice before ever trying it again.”

I had read enough comments, from people who surely know a lot more than I do, to be reassured that I was not the only person thinking this way, although the opinion was definitely in the minority.  Today, James Allen — who, as far as I’ve seen, is playing his cards pretty close to his chest in terms of exactly what his opinion is on the whole controversy — posted a high-resolution photo of the incident along with a quote from one of the commenters on his site.  It’s a comment I really agree with, and one that puts it all a lot better than I could!

As I said on Sunday, I personally think it was probably too dangerous a move to try when there was only a single point at stake.  Because no matter how skillful the drivers involved, there was always a chance that something might have gone wrong.  But then you could say that about many, maybe even most moves in F1 racing, to greater and lesser degrees.  Don’t you think?

For the record, I’m neither a pro- nor anti-Schumacher partisan. In case that wasn’t already clear.  If you think I’m really off base with anything I’ve said here, please don’t hesitate to tell me!  I won’t take it personally.  I know I still have a lot to learn about all this.

One last thing:  There’s an image from Sunday’s broadcast that keeps coming back to me as these debates rage on.  It’s a shot of a bunch of guys on the Williams team watching the move on their monitors.  When Barrichello completes the move and passes Schumacher, they’re all elated, cheering and laughing.  The looks on their faces seem to say “OMG LOOK WHAT OUR GUY JUST PULLED OFF!”  Not “OMG OUR GUY WAS JUST ALMOST MURDERED!”  Take from that whatever you want,  but I wonder how much those guys’ feelings about it have changed since then…

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