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Schumacher's Villeneuve crash was 'protection' - Todt

Schumacher's Villeneuve crash was 'protection' - Todt

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Schumacher's Villeneuve crash was 'protection' - Todt

Schumacher's Villeneuve crash was 'protection' - Todt

Former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt claims Michael Schumacher was merely trying to "protect" himself in his infamous collision with Jacques Villeneuve in the 1997 European Grand Prix.

Schumacher entered the final race of the season leading the drivers' championship by a point and collided with Villeneuve as the Williams driver attempted an overtake for the lead, however the German came off second best as he had to retire, while Villeneuve went on to secure a third-placed result that won him the title.

Further ignominy came Schumacher's way as he was deemed to have purposefully crashed into Villeneuve and he was disqualified from that season's championship.

The incident remains notorious as ever to this day, but Todt says its infamy is perhaps unjustified.

"I was not surprised, it's part of the history of motorsport," Todt told 'Beyond the Grid'. "You have a lot of other examples which have been much worse than with Michael and Villeneuve. If you remember Prost and Senna two years in a row...

"So that is part of the controversy in motorsport, in Formula 1, and so I don't say it's always good but it's part of the story and we still see these kind of things [again].

"It was a protection, he wanted to protect his position. He didn't protect it well, because if he had protected it well, it would have worked. It did not work.

"He was heavily punished, the team was punished but talking about that 22 years afterwards, it has created some unique feelings with us because we kept together, nobody escaped.

"You must accept the pressure, you must accept the challenges that drivers are facing to get their result, to get what they are dreaming of. So sometimes the way to achieve it is not rational, but you don't realise in the heat of the moment. You do things that if you thought carefully you would not do."

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