Monday 27 May 2019

Bernie Ecclestone comes under fire for 'stupid' Schumacher comments

Motorsport

Former Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has faced stiff criticism. Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
Former Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has faced stiff criticism. Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Jack de Menezes

Bernie Ecclestone has been criticised for making "stupid" comments about Michael Schumacher after claiming that the seven-time Formula One world champion's "problem was that he had no limits."

Schumacher has not been seen publicly since suffering a serious head injury while skiing in December 2013, with the ex-racing driver being treated in a clinic that was built into his family home in 2014.

Updates on Schumacher's condition have been rare over the last five years as the Schumacher family elected to keep his health status private.

Ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, which is being celebrated as the 1,000th Formula One Grand Prix, plenty of questions have surrounded the drivers who changed the sport over its 70-year history - in particular Schumacher who remains the most successful driver with 91 race wins and seven drivers' championships.

Ex-F1 supremo Ecclestone was asked about Schumacher ahead of the milestone race, but his comments have attracted criticism after he questioned his on-track antics.

"The scandals brought a lot of publicity, but not the right kind," Ecclestone told German newspaper 'Bild'. "It was good for F1, but not so good for him. That's what I meant by him not knowing the limits."

It's believed that Ecclestone was making particular reference to the collision with Jacques Villenueve at Jerez in 1997 that resulted in the German being disqualified from the entire drivers' championship, but it has been met with a stern response from Schumacher's former manager Willi Weber, who expressed his disappointment that Ecclestone would make such comments when Schumacher is unable to defend himself.

"As a racing driver, you have to go to and sometimes beyond the limit," Weber said.

"Nobody knew this better than Michael. Bernie knows it too.

"The fact is that Villeneuve actually invited him to drive into him. I told Michael, 'If you do it, do it right, just as Prost and Senna did a dozen times', but he did it half-heartedly, because as a German he knew it was s***.

"Michael put F1 in a place it had never been before and may never be in again. Yet now he (Ecclestone) talks like that about Schumi who cannot speak for himself."

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