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Spa 98

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I am nitpicking but from Senna's remark in one of the threads I got the feeling people here havent seen this. I believe everyone should know about this ;)

here but you will have to register, or use otherwise I am putting the text of the article.

Crash was my fault, Coulthard admits

July 7 2003


Break time ... David Coulthard pits at Magny-Cours on Saturday. Photo: AFP

David Coulthard fears a fatality in formula one if young drivers fail to act responsibly on the track.

Speaking at the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, the Scot also accepted for the first time that he was to blame for a 1998 collision in Belgium that left a raging Michael Schumacher accusing the McLaren driver of trying to kill him.

Coulthard compared that incident to one last week when he almost ploughed into the back of Spaniard Fernando Alonso's Renault at the European Grand Prix. Alonso denied "brake testing" Coulthard, by slowing early to throw his rival off, but the Briton felt the full story had not been told.

"It could have been a much more severe accident," he said, citing previous examples of track collisions, including the 2001 Australian Grand Prix when a marshal died after Jacques Villeneuve's BAR flew over Ralf Schumacher's Williams.

"I was that close to getting one of those. As sure as we are all sitting here, there will be a fatality in motor sport at some time in the future.

"Let's hope it's not any time soon and that it never happens. But it's a dangerous business and you can't just brush these things under the carpet."

At Spa in 1998, Schumacher's Ferrari ploughed into Coulthard's car in heavy spray while the German was leading and trying to lap Coulthard. The Scot vehemently denied he had braked early at the time.

"I'm not doing a Fernando-beating thing," Coulthard said. "But I realised on reflection ... when Michael ran into the back of me, his reaction was that I'd brake tested him or tried to kill him and all that sort of thing.

"The stewards looked at the data and I hadn't braked, so it was just all brushed under the carpet. The reality is that I lifted to let him pass me, but I lifted in heavy spray on the racing line. You should never do that. I would never do that now.

"In 1998, I didn't have the experience and the knowledge, and I had never had someone run into the back of me.

"The minute I knew he was there, and I was told by the team that he was and was trying to allow him to pass me, I should have made a smarter decision."

Coulthard said he had learnt from the experience and that drivers such as Alonso would have to learn as well.

"The risk is that it could have been a very dangerous accident for Michael and Nurburgring could have been a very dangerous accident for me," he said.

"Eventually, somewhere down the line, eight or 10 years from now, a young guy will come in and it will happen to Fernando and then he will feel slightly different about it."


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