Whiting: Schumacher should know the rules
7 August 2012 – Charlie Whiting has hit out at Michael Schumacher, claiming the seven-time World Champion did not fully understand the Formula 1 regulations at the Hungarian Grand Prix. When the original start was abandoned, the Mercedes driver switched off his engine - forgetting how the rules state that another formation lap should take place.
Since 2005, two years before Schumacher’s first retirement from the sport, the procedure has been to carry out an extra formation lap to the grid should a car stall or suffer another problem before the start of the race.
In Budapest two weekends ago, the German’s car was incorrectly positioned, forcing FIA Race Director Whiting to switch on first the orange lights and then the green to signal another tour at reduced speeds. In the heat of the moment, Schumacher switched off his engine, thinking back to the pre-2005 grid arrangement.
“Michael should know the rules,” Whiting told German publication Bild, with Schumacher having accidently positioned his car in 19th position instead of 17. “He caused the aborted start because he left a huge gap to Kobayashi.”
When pushed back into the pit lane, Schumacher picked up a puncture from driving over a sharp drain grill, then was given a drive-through penalty for speeding.
“The FIA assumes that a team knows the rules when it moves into F1,” Whiting adds. “Each team is responsible for ensuring that its employees, the drivers, know the rules.”
The mistake came in stark contrast to Schumacher’s 2001 race in Hungary, in which he dominantly claimed a fourth world title for Ferrari. He is yet to claim a point at the track since returning to F1 with Mercedes in 2010.
Schumacher’s grid blunder can be viewed below (amateur footage):