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[Finished] Case #15 : The Collision between Hill and Schumacher at Adelaide 94


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#1 Marcel Schot

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Posted 13 June 2001 - 19:11

Nordschleife has brought to the Atlas F1 court the case of the collision of Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix - a collision that in fact had decided the World Championship that year, in favour of Michael Schumacher.

This case has been accepted for hearing, and it is the duty of this court to decide whether either Michael Schumacher or Damon Hill is to blame for the collision or that it should be put down as what is generally described as a racing incident, i.e. neither of the drivers can be solely blamed for the collision.

Eventhough it's easy for fans of either driver to lay blame with the other one, the court is only looking for well founded arguments and analysis and factual evidence. We are fully aware of the controversies surrounding this issue and that not everybody will be happy with whatever the judgement will be. In order to help your driver, please don't resort to name calling and unfounded acusations, but bring forth factual evidence and well founded arguments or analysis.

Arguments can be posted by all parties interested as of June 18th, and for a length of three weeks (21 days).

The residing judges in this case are baddog, david_martin and Marcel Schot.

A decision on the case will be posted up to 7 days after hearing is closed.


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#2 A3

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Posted 19 June 2001 - 13:48

Here's some footage of the collission:

http://home.wish.net...ash-film-1.mpeg

Schumacher goes off and hits the wall pretty hard.

On the grass, he accelerates to get back on the track. He immediately drives to the other side in order to stay in front of Hill.

Hill chooses the inside, Schumacher is looking in his right mirror.

Schumacher takes the normal line for the corner while Hill has his front left wheel alongside Schumacher's right sidepod.

They touch, and the rest is history.

Schumacher is to blame for this incident, because he had less speed after rejoining on the track and he knew where Hill was when he entered the corner.

#3 Yelnats

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Posted 19 June 2001 - 20:28

If Micheal Shumacher were to be judged by his own standards he would be guilty as charged.

When Micheal accidently rammed DC in the rain at Spa he vigorously protested that David was guilty of reckless endangerment because he slowed down while occupying the racing line. Whether this is true is not important here. What does matter is that in Australia Micheal certainly had slowed drastically after his off-track excurstion in Austrailia yet he still maintained he had the right to the racing line and that Damon should have taken apprpriate avoidance action.

I agree with Micheal's SPA version of reality and belive that the "Racing Line" is reserved for cars running at racing speeds and crippled cars have a duty to stay clear as they are no longer racing but merely limping to the pits or attempting to regain racing speeds. They present hazards that have nothing to do with racing but in Micheal's case, everything to do with an ill-gotten WDC victory!

#4 skylark68

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Posted 19 June 2001 - 23:22

If it please this court;

In my respectful submission, I ask the court to consider the case from a legal context.

This is a "circumstantial case" as Michael Schumacher has never made an admission of "guilt" with respect to this incident.

At law, circumstantial evidence is acceptable if it is "evidence tending to support the existence or non-existence of a fact that is not one of the elements of the offence charged, where the existence or non-existence of that fact reasonably leads to an inference concerning the existence or non-existence of a fact that is one of the elements of the offence charged."

"Facts from which a fact in issue or a fact relevent to an issue may be inferred." (Military Rules of Evidence, C.R.C., c. 1049, s.2 and P.K. McWilliams, Canadian Criminal Evidence, 3rd ed.).

What that apparent jibberish means, your honours, is that we can determine guilt without viewing the accident if we can ascribe a fact to a "motive."

Motive, at Law, refers to "an EMOTION or INNER FEELING such as hate or greed which is likely to lead to the doing of an act. The word 'motive' is also used to refer to EXTERNAL events, for example, a previous quarrell, which is likely to excite the relevant feeling."

Based on this alone, I submit that Michale Schumacher is quilty of blame. He would lose the world title and that was the emotion he felt as he hit the wall and saw Damon Hill fast approching.

But, I wish to add a few facts for consideration,

To wit,

1) Michael Schumacher risked losing a world title and the accumulated millions it brings in reward and fame

2) Michael Schumacher was being pressured by Damon Hill and made a drivers error

3) Making that drivers error, in a lapse of mental concentration, mental fortitude and general nervousness, meant the title hopes dashed forever, and the loss of fame, as noted at #1

4) In a last ditch effort he, as the tape clearly shows, made a specific effort to take Damon Hill from the race and did so in remarkable fashion, making a spectacle of the 1994 drivers championship

5) And, if memory serves, he did precisely the same to a Mr. Jacques Villeneuve, esq., and was severely punished for this gross violation.

To summarize:

- we have circumstantial evidence, under a motive, that he was guilty

- we have the tape showing him looking, and the deliberate swerve

- we have him doing the villainous deed again to Mr. Jacques Villeneuve

I believe this court can only find him guilty of causing the shunt at Adelaide in 1994.

#5 TheD2JBug

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Posted 21 June 2001 - 00:15

Your Honor:

I have had a long time to review this incident and after careful review I feel that this is neither Damon Hill or Michael Schumacher making a blatant attempt to take the other out. The reasoning behind this view are as follows

There was no room for Hill to havew overtaken Schumacher at this particular par tof the circuit. This was not an area where you could have expected a clean overtaking manouever. Michael Schumacher may have been overtaken later in the lap in question , but into this corner. He was ahead , chose his line and took it. At no time in the seconds immediately beore the crash was Damon Hill sifficently alongside Schumacher to justify trying to make this move stick. As well there is no way we can determine in the seconds between MS's brush with the wall and the crash that Schumacher's Benetton is sufficently damaged to make it an immediate retirement.

This is not to blame Damon Hill . He had seen Schumacher ahead of him the entire race leading up to this moment, saw a potential weakness and attempted to capitaliz on what he thought was a gap. It wasn't there. End of story

Others have brought up the Jerez 1997 incident attempting to prove a pattern . This is not based on fact. One cannot judge someone guilty based on the circumstances of a future action. Let us use an analogy.

Driver X gets into an accident on the road . It is judged an accident and we move on . He gets into another accident and this time he is found to be at fault. One cannot then assume that the first accident was his fault simply because the second one was.

For this reason I implore the judges to rule this neither a Schumacher or Hill fault. It was neither.

#6 vroom-vroom

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Posted 21 June 2001 - 14:37

From the video, it is obvious that MS tries to take out Hill twice, not once. After the first attempt where he demonstrates that he knows where Hill is, his actions become crystal clear.

He first rejoins the track after his crash and immediately proceeds to cross the track with his crippled car in front of Hill - instead of gathering speed along the inside white line as any car accelerating away from a crash site would have done.

The second time he closes the door on a committed Hill when the latter has nowhere to go.

No racing accident. Schumacher was not at racing speed anyway. Mobile chicane at best - guilty.

#7 jpv

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Posted 21 June 2001 - 19:33

Its not all that complicated: MS took the normal racing line at a time when DH was sufficiently alongside him to claim two things: (i) that MS HAD to have seen him; and, (ii) that he had a legitimate claim to the inside line.

MS is most certainly to blame to the accident because he either foresaw (and ignored) or should have foreseen the consequences of taking the normal racing line into the turn.

The case, incidentally, is not "circumstantial" because we have no need to infer any fact. What were MS' motives? Given the question made, they do not matter. MS never made an admission of guilt; that does not matter either, once again, given the question.

Could DH have avoided the incident. I most certainly think so, but that in and of its own self is not enough to release MS from his responsibility for the accident, due mainly to the fact that while DH could have avoided the accident, MS was under the obligation to do so.

JPV

#8 Zoe

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Posted 22 June 2001 - 07:52

Originally posted by jpv
Could DH have avoided the incident. I most certainly think so, but that in and of its own self is not enough to release MS from his responsibility for the accident, due mainly to the fact that while DH could have avoided the accident, MS was under the obligation to do so.


Could you please elaborate more on that theory? I cannot see the logic in there.

We have two parties involved in an accident, and if I understand you correctly you say:

  • Both parties could have avoided the accident
  • Party A could have avoided the accident, but was not obliged to do so
  • Party B could have avoided the incident BUT was obliged to do so

May I add:

  • Party A was behind Party B at the time of the accident

From that I would deduct that actually Party A was obliged to try to avoid the accident.

Zoe

#9 Gareth

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Posted 22 June 2001 - 13:15

I would like to suggest that the court be able to come to 1 of 4 different verdicts, namely:

1)That neither driver was to blame
2)That 1 driver was to blame for the incident by acting negligently
3)That 1 driver was to blame for the incident by acting recklessly
4)That 1 driver was to blame for the incident by acting intentionaly

Some definitions:
Intentionaly: deliberately attempted to collide with the other driver

recklesly: knew that the collision would be a possible result of their actions but carried on regardless

negligently: acted below the standards expected of an F1 driver (ie made a mistake)

I think introducing these different standards of conclusion would allow the court to come to a more meaningfull decision. The consequences of, say, finding MS guilty of intentionally taking out Hill are clearly far more grave than of finding that he made a mistake. By distinguishing between the three the court will beable to come to a better conclusion by:
a)having a more 'focused' conclusion that better fits the facts (ie better than just Hill/MS was to blame)
b)having better argument presented to it by not just having simple X was wrong Z was right submissions

If this idea is accepted I would suggest that the 'default' position, without any evidence, must be 1. It would then be up to each side to 'move up the ladder' from 2 to 4. Firstly by showing that 1 party did something wrong and that that caused the incident and then by showing that that wrong act was either negligent, reckless or intentionaly designed to produce a collision.

This would allow structure submissions on the topic eg (this is an example, NOT my opinion):
because Hill had the inside line MS did something wrong by pulling across him and this caused the collision. I think that MS did this intentionaly because his race was probably over and he had to stop Hill from winning for the WDC, so he hit him.

This structure will also allow for better responses.

Gareth

#10 jpv

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Posted 22 June 2001 - 18:14

Originally posted by Zoe

Could you please elaborate more on that theory? I cannot see the logic in there.



Gladly Zoe.

At the time of the accident the most forward tip of DH' car was well forward of the mid-point of MS' car, at least even with MS' front wheels.

DH, therefore, clearly had a claim to space on the inside line and MS, by forcing the use of the normal racing line, rammed DH into the wall.

How could DH have avoided the accident?

1. At the time MS re-entered the track DH could have very well stayed on the right side of the track, instead of following MS to the left. Was he under the obligation to do so? I don't think so, as going to the left at that point of the track is the normal racing line.

2. He could have not tried to pass MS before the corner. This second option is actually absurd; why race if you don't pass?

Going back to the fist paragraph, DH clearly had (i) a valid claim to space (MS had no right to force his way into the inside of the corner), and (ii) no reason to suspect that, due to his position, MS could not have seen him.

Over the years many arguments have been made as to when a pass is a pass; I do believe most everybody agrees that just having the forward-most tip of the passing car in front of the rear-most part of the car to be passed does not count. I mentioned the passing of the mid point because just about everybody is willing to agree that once the forward tip of a car has passed the mid point of the car in front, two things happen (i) the passing car is in no position to take effective avoiding action, and, (ii) the leading car will be aware of the presence of the passing car.

So yes, DH could have avoided the accident, but he was not under the obligation to do so because (i) he was not under the obligation to alter his course from the normal racing line, (ii) he was not under the obligation to abstain from passing MS, (iii) he was in a position where he could lay valid claim to enough space for his car on the inside of the corner, and, (iv) he had no reason to believe nor suspect that MS had not seen him.

MS, on the other hand, DID have an obligation to avoid the accident because (i) having just returned to the track, regaining control of his car and at a speed below the normal racing speed he had an obligation (a) avoid (in the measure of his possibilities) all other cars on the track and (b) refrain from defending his placing in the race at a time in which he was in no postition to do so, (ii) He was aware of DH' position on the track (particularly, he was aware that DH was going to attempt a pass), and, (iii) he had an obligation to afford DH enough space on the inside line of the corner.

I hope this explanation makes what I said logic for you.

#11 HP

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Posted 23 June 2001 - 02:00

From the video link above it seems obvious that MS was at fault. He's sudden swerve to the inside was defenatly not right. He simply didn't left any room for DH. The motivation of MS I cannot judge though.

DH could have avoided the incident though, If he'd be smart enough, he'd just put himself at the back of MS, and tried to overtake him at the following straigth. It should have been obvious to DH that MS will try reclaim the racing line. And on that short amount of distance before the turn it should have been obvious that he cannot outaccelerate MS. Furthermore DH seemed a bit naive, as I can't see him slowing down when MS started to close the door. Actually he first accelerated again to get past MS, after having to slow when MS rejoined the track and chopped DH. It seems MS tried to force DH into a bad judgement of the situation, which MS knew was a weak spot of DH, and that's what happened.

My view is that MS is guilty of provoking this accident, DH displayed that he was lacking in race-wits, as he so often displayed elsewhere.

In a sense both proved not worthy of the 1994 WDC in that incident, but that last comment is a side-note.

#12 Yelnats

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Posted 24 June 2001 - 04:51

There are certain rules that have been accepted by race drivers down through the generations of raceing. A primary and constant rule observed by drivers is that the racing line is reserved for racing cars. A car limping around after hitting a concrete wall should never deliberatly occupy this hallowed section of track for reasons of safety and sportsmanship.

Of course Michael knows this as well as anyone but after his sucessfull blocking move in Australia he used the flimsy excuse that his steering was damaged. It's not surprising that even his most rabid fans quickly discarded this lie and it seems unrecalled today. At least Senna had the honesty to admit what was obvious to all after he rammed Prost. To bad Michael Schumacher wouldn't do the same but he continues to insult our intellegence with his silence.

Michael apparently can have it both ways. He can criticise DC for slowing on the racing line at Spa in torrential rain while believing he had the right to steer his crippled Bennatton in front of Damon Hill in Australia to claim his ill-gotten 1994 title.

#13 vroom-vroom

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 09:04

History doesn't plead in Schumacher's favor either. 3 years after the incident with Hill took place with no consequences for Schumacher, he found himself in a very similar situation: Either take his rival out at the title decider, or fight fairly with the likelyhood of loosing the title. He chose the former, deliberetaly trying to take Villeneuve out and admitting to do so. In this case, since he lost the title anyway, his crocodile tears were rather meaningless - but nevertheless, his actions confirmed that he was fully capable of what many suspected had happened in '94.

The case is not circumstantial; the video validates the alleged actions; the behavior is consistent with Schumacher's MO under similar circumstances; and the motive was definitely there.

I, however, also want to bring a point that may justify - in his mind - Schumacher's actions in Adelaide '94, and the FIA has to share some of the blame for this, IMO.

After Senna's death and Schumi's subsequent apparent total domination, the '94 WDC was somewhat skewed in Hill's favor by multiple penalties imposed on Schumacher. As Ayrton Senna was provoked into shunting Prost by perceived injustices or favoritism from the FIA, it is likely that Schumacher somehow also felt justified in taking extreme measures to protect a championship he believed to be rightfuly his - which doesn't make it right, of course.

#14 Bodzolca

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 15:05

For starters, Spa '98 and Oz '94 incidents are not even remotely similar because David was a backmarker. As Schumacher was not a backmarker in the Oz case, he had the right to race on the racing line.

Secondly, Yelnats made a very good point.

A primary and constant rule observed by drivers is that the racing line is reserved for racing cars. A car limping around after hitting a concrete wall should never deliberatly occupy this hallowed section of track for reasons of safety and sportsmanship.


That is totally true, but the problem is that we don't know exactly how crippled MS' car really was. There's no doubt that he had problems with stability, but where is that thin line when a car is slightly damaged and can continue racing and when the car is totally crippled, hence should stop racing.
May I remind you of Monaco GP in 1998. Mika hit the armco with his rear right tyre and he hit it hard. He continued racing despite the vibrations and he went on to win a race. European GP 1997 in Jerez, Villeneuve's car was definitely crippled, but he went on to finish third and winning the WDC.

Now remember, I'm not trying to prove that MS' car was intact, I'm pretty sure it wasn't. But we don't know the exact state of the car because Schumacher drove only about hundred meters with his damaged car. Maybe the car was too damaged to keep the lead, maybe not, but Schumacher had the right to defend his position.

...but after his sucessfull blocking move in Australia he used the flimsy excuse that his steering was damaged.


Damaged or not, it sure didn't work properly. Look at the tape. Before he swerved into Damon, he swerved twice to the right. Mind you, the first two times he did he didn't do it in order to block Damon. As a matter of fact, the first swerve to the right happened when Damon was situated slightly to the left.

Furthermore, those three swerves (or at least two) and Schumacher's own recognition are the only proof that there was something wrong with his car. So we have three possibilities:

1. Schumacher's car was intact. Schumacher's words that his steering wheel was damaged was a flimsy excuse
2. Schumacher's car was damaged and it was manifested by quick unintentional swerves to the right. His own words confirm that (steering wheel was damaged).
3. Schumacher's car was damaged, but Schumacher's words that his steering wheel was damaged was a flimsy excuse.

Let's analyse these three options.
1. His car wasn't damaged so he didn't have the motive to ram into Damon => racing incident
2. He was defending his line but left some room for Damon on the inside. Then suddenly the car swerves to the right because of the damaged steering wheel => reckless driving
3. He hit Damon intentionally

Options 1 and 3 are unlikely, but option 2 quite acceptable. In that case it was reckless driving from both parties, because Damon should see those two swerves and he could know that overtaking at that corner was dangerous. Let me quote Gareth's definition of recklesly:

recklesly: knew that the collision would be a possible result of their actions but carried on regardless


Of course, the state of knowing is only speculation, because it all happened very quickly, but the same can be applied to Schumacher. As a matter of fact there is some speculation in my arguments, but in this case it's impossible to avoid that for both parties. Especially if someone wants to prove that Schumacher ran into Damon intentionally. In order to do that, he(she) would have to prove the third option. IMHO it's impossible without speculation. I chose second option because it's most acceptable by a certain Mr. Ockham.

So I think that the verdict should be that both drivers were to blame for incidents by acting recklessly.

#15 LeTurc

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 23:10

Please watch 95 review and see how damon took ms out two times the same way and later many times of one i remember monaco while at jordan. This guy has some problem while overtaking. It is no joke. He did the same mistake 2 times the next year. Look at and blame ms again if you can.

#16 Hooster

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 01:03

My take on the Adelaide incident is this; Perhaps MS should have given DH more room and perhaps DH should have braked earlier in order to avoid hitting MS. Both drives looked a bit clumsy and the result was a collision. Who is to blame? Both of course.



Anyone who compares this to Spa 98 is mad. DC was a backmarker then and should have let MS through without trouble a long time before. MS could not see DC slow down so he was powerless to avoid the collision. DC was entirely to blame.

#17 Bruce

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 02:02

Blocking is illegal in F1 - for good reason. What constitues blocking? To my understanding, a block occurs when a driver defends his position by placing his car in the path of the competing car behind, and then re-aligns the car into the competing cars path when it tries another avenue - or to put it simply - you may "block" once, but not twice in succession.

It is rare to see a block in F1, because most lapped cars get out of the way with fairly good speed, and passes between leading cars tend not to have a great enough speed differential involved to allow the following car to try a pass on 2 different lines in one sustained maneuver.

In Adelaide in 1994, however, we had one of those rare situations precipitated by Michael Schumacher falling off the track and tagging the wall.

When watching the film, it is clear to see that MS lost a significant amount of speed in his off track excursion - such that DH was able to make up the small time defecit from himself to MS in a single corner.

At this point, MS pulls out of the dirt and looks into his left mirror. He pulls across the track to the far side - going across the breadth of the track diagnally. DH in the Williams attempts a pass on the outside but is blocked, and this is borne out by the fact that MS has pulled his slower car across the track and at MS's furthest position to that side of the track, DH's right front wheel was lined up with MS's left rear, clearly indicating DH's intention to pass on the outside, and equally clear is the fact that MS's move across the track pinched DH off and prevented him from passing on the outside - Block #1.

DH at this point attempts to pass on the inside now, and actually begins to turn into the corner BEFORE MS does. This is critical, as it indicates that at the point that DH turned to the inside, MS was still fending him off from the outside. It matters not that MS is now on the racing line - he still has the slower car and this again is borne out by the fact that in the short distance from the point where they begin to turn in to the point where they touch, DH comes from being fully behind the car to having his front wheels alongside the side pod of the Benetton. At this point, as we all know, MS and DH touch, taking them both out of the race.

When MS turned into that corner, and impinged on DH's racing space, he initiated block #2. Having already blocked Hill on the outside, it was MS's resposibility to leave racing room, avoid contact and if need be to surrender the racing line to avoid contact and to allow a valid pass attempt.

Quite simply, MS was guilty of blocking twice in succession or weaving and as such, the accident must be laid at his feet. It doesn't much matter what MS's intentions were (although to my mind it appears clear) he was still guilty of putting himself and others at risk by using his slower car to impede the progress of the car behind - and while this is acceptable in a situation like Monaco 2001 or Spain 1981 where the car that is impeding progrees does so by the simple expedient of staying on the racing line, it becomes unacceptable when the car in question has come off the racing line and attempts to remedy the mistake by weaving the other car into submission.

#18 vroom-vroom

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 09:35

Originally posted by Bodzolca
[B]That is totally true, but the problem is that we don't know exactly how crippled MS' car really was. There's no doubt that he had problems with stability, but where is that thin line when a car is slightly damaged and can continue racing and when the car is totally crippled, hence should stop racing.

Bodzolca then wrote:

But we don't know the exact state of the car because Schumacher drove only about hundred meters with his damaged car. Maybe the car was too damaged to keep the lead, maybe not, but Schumacher had the right to defend his position.

He the proceeded to ellaborate:

Damaged or not, it sure didn't work properly. Look at the tape. Before he swerved into Damon, he swerved twice to the right. Mind you, the first two times he did he didn't do it in order to block Damon. As a matter of fact, the first swerve to the right happened when Damon was situated slightly to the left. Furthermore, those three swerves (or at least two) and Schumacher's own recognition are the only proof that there was something wrong with his car.

Those are contradictory statements. First you claim that it is doubtful that Schumacher's car was sufficiently damaged to allow him to "race"; Then you proceed to show evidence that it was *indeed* damaged, even offering Schumacher's own admission of damage. You can't get it both ways. Either his car was undriveable and he should have proceeded with caution, keeping off the racing line or baking off, or his swerves were desperate attempts to take Hill out. Either way, he's to blame for the crash.

Let's leave Hill out of it. He was blocked once on the outside, moved to the inside, got the inside line, and got punted, period. No racing driver - at racing speed - closing as fast as he was on Schumacher would have done otherwise. Any suggestioin that he should have waited behind the crippled Schumacher's car to overtake is ludicrous, IMO. He had the racing speed and the line; Schumacher was off the racing speed with a terminally (h)ill car, having everything to gain by trying to ram Hill and nothing to loose, end of story.

#19 Bodzolca

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 09:39

Great theory Bruce, but I must remind you of the German GP 2000. Schumacher started better and was clearly faster than Coulthard. MS wanted to overtake him on the right, Coulthard blocked him. Block #1. Schumacher swerved to the left, Coulthard did that too, squeezing Schumacher totally to the left. Block #2. Apparently, the second block didn't count because Couthard in fact didn't block Schumacher, but only emerged to the ideal line. Stewards were not even commenting on that, so it was probably legit.

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#20 magic

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 10:27

'1994, [Adelaide, championchip decider] Hill-Schumacher
Schumacher with one point in the lead, final race. Mission, finish in front of Hill, or both don’t finish. The choise he made we ALL know of course. Schumacher was leading just a couple of seconds the race, until he makes an unrecoverable error. Beng, he goes trough the grass, against the wall and his race is over. But; he knows Hill is still behind him. From THAT moment on he knows what he has to do to safe his title. He steers his broken Benetton onto the track. Hill approaching fast, Schumacher very concentrated watching his mirror for the precise moment to steer in. BENG, suspension broken. Hill rolls to the pit to retire, Schumacher gets the news a few moments later. Mission accomplished. Strangely this accident still is considered a racing accident. Please tell me, why did Schumacher get back on the track, other than to ram Hill off?'quote frans.

good question, was ms's car still in racing order?

#21 Gareth

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 12:26

In my opinion MS did do something wrong at Adelaide 1994 when he collided with Hill. I think at that corner Hill (just) had the racing line and could legitimately claim the inside of the corner. Hill had put his car just enough alongside MS's (ie as was mentioned before, the front end about half way up). When MS drove to the inside of the corner and collided with Hill he made a mistake, he could legitimately be expected to leave room for Hill.

This in itself is no big deal for me, drivers make mistakes all the time and Hill certainly made a few himself that ended MS's races. The main reason why this causes controversy is that it 'decided' the season, but this is not really true. The incident prevented Hill from potentialy scoring 10 points. There were many other such incidents that season but they are not considere to have 'decided' the championship. Consequently, for me, the only thing that could make this incident mean more is by looking at MS's state of mind at the time, ie was he acting intentionly, recklessly, negligently or did he make a reasonable error? Only by answering this can the charge become anything more meaningful than 'drivers make mistakes, Michael Schumacher did so once'. So I will now consider what evidence there is as to MS's state of mind.

Intention

Firstly it has been suggested that MS 'swerved' into Hill and that this shows he was intentionaly hitting him. I would like to say that I think this idea is wrong. He took the racing line into that corner ie outside of track to the inside on the apex. I agree that in doing so he made a mistake (see above) but it was certainly NOT a swerve.

Secondly it has been suggested that MS's post Adelaide behaviour at Jerez be used as evidence that he acted intentionaly. I would point out here that in crimminal trials (at least in the UK) a Defendant's past record is not submissable evidence because it does not show ANYTHING about the incident that the trial is about. All it shows is that at some other date they did something else. I would submitt that this court should also use this principle and not allow Jerez to be used as evidence. Jerez shows what MS did at Jerez, not what he did at Adelaide.

The final piece of evidence that has been put forward to show that MS acted intentionaly is that he had so much to gain and lose by doing so. I would argue that this is circumstantial evidence and as such must be supported by some other form of evidence. If a bank is robbed and I am near by, just because I would have had much to gain by being involved (ie loads of cash) doesn't mean I was. Yes MS did have much to gain in taking Hill out (the WDC) but that does not mean, and indeed is no evidence that, he did intentionaly take him out.

recklessness

The classic idea of recklessness is that someone knows that what they are doing might be wrong and yet carries on regardless. The example I would use is throwing a stone, if you skim a stone on the sea the you know there is no (or at least a negligable) chance of doing someone harm - you are not reckless, if you throw it down a busy high street you do know there is a chance of doing wrong - you are reckless. As such just about every attempt to overtake or to defend your line in motor racing is reckless, there is always a higher than negligable chance that you might have got it wrong and so by carrying on you are acting recklessly. Consequently I would suggest that for F1 the chances of doing wrong must be very high for an act to be reckless. So in this case I think it would have to be shown that MS knew that DH had a claim to the racing line and, whilst not intending to hit him, continued on the racing line regardless of the fact that a collision might occur. The crucial point here is that there is no evidence that MS considered DH to have the racing line and so he cannot be considered to have recklessly collided with DH

negligence

I would consider that MS acted negligently if he acted below the standards expected of a reasonable racing driver ie he made a mistake that a reasonable F1 driver should not make. I think that when another driver has the racing line a reasonable driver should not pull accross unless there are circumstances that make it reasonable such as not being able to see where the other car is, the other car only fractionaly and momentarily being sufficiently alongside. I would consider that this case is marginal here as MS will have been in a difficult situation having had an off in which a reasonable driver would be more likely to make a mistake. However I still believe that MS's driving fell below those of a reasonable driver, his mistake was maybe understandable but it was also unreasonable.

Conclusion
MS made a mistake in continuing on the racing line at that corner, Hill had a legitimate claim to be left room on the inside. When he made that mistake MS was not acting intentionaly nor recklessly and no evidence (at least no reasonable evidence) has been presented to the court that he did so. MS did act below the standards that should reasonably be expected of a racing driver and as such should be convicted of negligently causing the accident with Hill.

Gareth

#22 Yelnats

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 14:43

I respectfully submit that all the threads here which are discussing this case as a blocking incident are off topic and neither is this a driver error situation similar to some of Damon's desperate passing lunges. What we are reviewing is a case of deliberate ramming by a driver that in hindsight has admitted to this offence in Jerez 1997 and in South America 1998 (Brazil?) when he rammed David Coulthard from behind.

Blocking has been defined be the FIA as multiple moves by a RACING car that are designed to prevent a passing move. This is not what took place in Australia.

Instead MS weaved his disabled/out of control/slowing car (take your pick) in front of the vastly faster Williams until the inevidible collision occured. Considering the vast differences in speed between Micheal and Damon, the Bennaton driver was well aware that a collision would result and to expect Damon to have lingered behind the wildly veering Schumacher until he regained his racing speed or retired is absurd.

As soon as Micheal struck that wall he was demoted to same status of a Minardi or Arrows of that era i.e., a slow uncompetative car with a responsibility to stay out of the real racers way.

#23 Bodzolca

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 15:00

Sorry vroom-vroom, that you think that I contraticted myself. In fact, I though I threw the contradiction out of the equation by introducing those three options. If everyone was contradicting himself, it was Yelnats. He stated that he had a crippled car, but didn't want to take Schumacher's word that he had problems with the steering. He's probably going for the third option, which is contradictory. The first one is unlikely. The second is not contradictory and unlikely so I chose the second one.

I repeat, my options are speculation. Maybe those two swerves were intentional, maybe Schumacher himself made swerves to get some feedback from the suspension whether everything works fine before taking the corner. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

So why am I contradictory? By stating that we don't know how much Schumacher's car was damaged. It certainly was and the only hint of a damaged suspension were those two swerves. Again I will remind you of Jerez '97. Villeneuve's car was at least as crippled as Schumacher's (the cockpit camera shows he was very busy to keep his car stable), but he managed to lead until the very last lap. So even if the car is damaged, it has the right to stay on the track and defend its position. MS' car was probably damaged, but was it damaged enough not to defend its position? That was my question and I don't know why I contradicted myself.

We were discussing whether this situation was similar to Jerez '97, Spa '98, Monza and Silverstone '95. I think they are not and I'd like to remind the court that it very similar to Estoril '89 (Senna and Mansell). The cars are in very similar position. Mansell dives on the inside and his front tyres are positioned somewhere along the Senna's sidepot. Senna closes the door completely. Hill is in a better position as far as the location compared to Schumacher is concerned (Mansell's front tyres are very close to Senna's front tyres, Hill's are along Schumacher's sidepot), but Mansell has a better position compared to the track. He's not as close to the inside as Hill is (I'm not sure whether MS and DH would not have colided even if Schumacher had let him some room on the inside) and the accident probably wouldn't have happened if Senna left him room on the inside.

#24 jpv

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 16:06

I find the following quote very much to the point (and rather humorous, if you look at the case):

Reckless driving Operation of automobile manifesting reckess disregard of possible consequences and indifference to others' rights. To establish statutory offense of reckless driving requires proof that defendant in management of automobile intentionally did somthing with knowledge that injury to another was probable or acted with wanton and reckless disregard of consequences of acts. People v. Schumacher, 194 C.A.2d 335, 14 Cal.Rptr. 924, 926 [I have underlined]

Wanton behaviour is characterized as being reckless, heedless ... unruly, marked by arrogant recklessness of justice, feelings of others, or the like.

MS, from all we can tell without actually forcing some sort of confession from him, just drove to the corner without any type of concern for what or whom may have been there. We may certainly suppose that he had seen DH, based mainly on the latter's position with regard to MS' cockpit.

Whether or not his car was in good shape is not (in my opinion) relevant to the question before this court: who is responsible? The reason for this is that in either case MS' driving was reckless.

Final thoughts
[1. DH lack of racing savvy? I totally agree.]
[2. The people have apparently already decided on this one :p ]

JPV

#25 vroom-vroom

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 19:01

Originally posted by Gareth
[U]When he made that mistake MS was not acting intentionaly nor recklessly and no evidence (at least no reasonable evidence) has been presented to the court that he did so. MS did act below the standards that should reasonably be expected of a racing driver and as such should be convicted of negligently causing the accident with Hill.[/B]

I wish to point out that evidence of intent is circumstantial BY DEFINITION unless the accused party admits guilt. In this case, the circumstantial evidence that Schumacher actions were deliberate is massive, and I'll only underline 5 points to illustrate this: (a) MS had everything to gain in causing the shunt, (b) MS knew that Hill was rapidly gaining on him and about to overtake, and this was confirmed by the videos emphatically showing him checking his mirror; © MS swerved at least twice in front of Hill. Please note that if his car were undriveable as has been suggested, how was he able to swerve twice, cross track and and take the racing line? © MS was not at racing speed and was going to loose position no matter what; (d) Finally, here is the most important point, IMO: while his car was not at racing speed and presumably crippled, MS shut the door while Hill had the corner and the speed by *any* driving standard - thereby ensuring contact between the two cars and maximizing the chances that Hill would not finish the race.

#26 Bruce

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 19:36

Originally posted by Bodzolca
Great theory Bruce, but I must remind you of the German GP 2000. Schumacher started better and was clearly faster than Coulthard. MS wanted to overtake him on the right, Coulthard blocked him. Block #1. Schumacher swerved to the left, Coulthard did that too, squeezing Schumacher totally to the left. Block #2. Apparently, the second block didn't count because Couthard in fact didn't block Schumacher, but only emerged to the ideal line. Stewards were not even commenting on that, so it was probably legit.


Bodzolca - you miss a critical fact - stewards never found MS to be in contravention of the rules in Adelaide in 1994, either. The fact that in both these cases, the one you mentioned and Adelaide '94, the stewards failed to find any blame does not necessarily mean that there was none to be had.

The purpose of this court case is to determine who, if anyone, was responsible for the 1994 incident, it is not to find whether or not the stewards should have found one or the other responsib;le or whether the stewards were lax in NOT finding one or the other responsible.

In 1990, Senna drove Prost off the track in one of the most blatant and cynical maneuvers in modern GP history - I would hasten to remind you that he was never found responsible for this accident and he never served a fine for it, despite the fact that his actions were far below the standard of conduct expected of and becoming an F1 driver. In short, I believe that this demonstrates that the lack of an official verdict by the FIA in this matter is irrelevant.

#27 JBDrake

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 20:09

Judging by the video (assuming it is not in slow motion) there was a period of 5 seconds between the time he come off the curb to the time he made his final turn towards the apex of the corner.

Is this enough time for him to judge that his car was terminal and that drastic measures were required?

We can see him swerving towards the inside line twice before he actually took it. Is this him trying to test out the damage to the car? Is there some in-car footage that can show this?

Also of note in this video is that DH was right behind him when MS made those two little swerves towards the inside line, and despite this, still decided to try a pass down the inside line.

I think the most obvious interpretation here is that his first worry was DH getting past him. He made two swerves towards the inside line in an attempt to warn DH not to take it, DH didn't take the warning and the rest is history.

After those initial swerves I don't believe that his third and final one could be seen as anything other than intentional. It is still possible that MS did not know DH was there, maybe he thought his warnings would be enough to scare him off.

In the end what MS did was in breach of the FIA sporting codes. What DH did was stupid.

However, this is a case over who was responsible for the crash, not the moralities of the crash. Both drivers had the opportunity to avoid it so both of them are responsible.

#28 130R

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 22:02

I will be as brief as possible.

This particular incident was a quite an emotional one in our household. Having taped the race, we studied MS's turn-in point and apex point on EVERY lap subsequent to the collision at the corner in question.

After MS's collision with the wall, if one watches the tape frame-by-frame, one will observe three key things 1) He turns in approximately 30 feet early 2) he turns his head way to the right to align his target and, 3) he apex's about two feet early.

All significant as his turn-in, and apex are VERY precise every single lap prior to the incident.

He took Hill out. Very nicely too. Guilt, your Worship.

#29 Bruce

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 04:07

Originally posted by JBDrake


In the end what MS did was in breach of the FIA sporting codes. What DH did was stupid.

However, this is a case over who was responsible for the crash, not the moralities of the crash. Both drivers had the opportunity to avoid it so both of them are responsible.


You state that MS would be unlikely to know if his car was undamaged in the short time between coming off the wall and pasting Hill, and then you go on to suggest that Hill was stupid to try a pass...

The problem with this is that, if MS was unaware that his car was damaged or not, how much less likely is it that Hill would be awrae of any damage? And if the Benetton WAS undamaged, any advantage that Hill had would have been squandered by sitting behind MS and entering the straight following it at largely the same speed...

In hindsight, we can all agree that he should have waited for MS to fall off the track. Hill had, as you mention, less than 5 seconds to decide a course of action, and the WDC rode on his choice. He did the only thing that a real driver could do and that is to try to pass. I always find the suggestion that Hill shouldn't have tried to pass gob-smacking - if not at that point, when MS's tires were still dirty and he was slow and had obviously just re-joined the track, when? What better opportunity was likely to present itself? What was to prevent MS from treating DH the same way anywhere else on the track? If the shoe had been on the other foot, MS would have had to try to pass too...

#30 Yelnats

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 04:43

Bodzolca; I see no contradiction in saying Micheal's car is crippled and yet believing he deliberatly rammed Damon Hill. Crippled means the car was unraceable but not totally unsteerable! We've all seen many examples of this but never have I seen a rolling wreck used as a weapon like MS did in Austrailia.

I have never seen a F1 car recover from the severe thumping Michael gave the Bennaton that day. Certainly the controll arms were shattered and bent and the steering severly damaged but one could clearly see Micheal watching his mirrors and swerving to place his car on a collision couse with Damon.

But even if his car was perfectly drivable, because he wasn't running at racing speeds, it was his duty to keep off the line until he got back to the pace. He was going so slowly he could have driven any line he wanted but insisted on moving onto the racing line even though he knew this was the only open piece of track for Damon to pass his creeping car and thus causing the collision.

#31 Bex37

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 05:28

Originally posted by vroom-vroom
He first rejoins the track after his crash and immediately proceeds to cross the track with his crippled car in front of Hill - instead of gathering speed along the inside white line as any car accelerating away from a crash site would have done.

MS was still racing. He only had fractions of a second to determine whether how damaged the car was; damage to the car may have been repairable (a flat tyre?). He only felt the damage as he moved across to the proper racing line; you can see that the handling of the car was affected only after the entire car is off the ripple strip. So far he has done nothing wrong and he is already committed to the racing line at the outside of the entry to the right hander. He is in the lead and was still racing for position however, he now knows that handling is a problem. MS had to continue racing at least until that point; what sort of a fool would give up on the DWC without knowing that the car was damaged badly enough to justify giving up. You would never make a guess that the handling was going to be bad and just give up before you had tried it and taken it back to the pits if necessary.

By the time he got to the turn in point for the right hander, he knows there is a handling problem yet he still had to negotiate the corner at speed.

The second time he closes the door on a committed Hill when the latter has nowhere to go.

Schumacher had already committed an ill handling car into the braking area of the right hander; as he had to as leader of the race and contender for the DWC.

He turns into the corner with nobody next to him. For all we know; he did not even know Hill was behind him - would you look in the rear vision mirror whilst you are having trouble keeping the car in a straight line. At the same time as his turn-in, DH darts out from MS's blind spot and does the lunge down the inside and the two cars make contact.

Schumacher had already reached the turn-in point to the corner when Hill lunged down the inside. The ill handling of MS's car was obvious to Hill prior to Hill's decision to make a lunge. For what reason did Hill feel the need to pass an ill handling car with a desperate lunge, particularly when the ill handling car was already committed to the turn in point at the corner? If he had of waited for one corner he could have passed MS easily. This was an extremely poor decision on Hill's behalf.

No racing accident. Schumacher was not at racing speed anyway. Mobile chicane at best - guilty.

Yes it was a racing incident. Yes he was at racing speed in the context of MS's ill handling car. Not guilty of sole blame for the accident.

#32 Bex37

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 05:40

Originally posted by Yelnats
There are certain rules that have been accepted by race drivers down through the generations of raceing. A primary and constant rule observed by drivers is that the racing line is reserved for racing cars. A car limping around after hitting a concrete wall should never deliberatly occupy this hallowed section of track for reasons of safety and sportsmanship.

Of course Michael knows this as well as anyone but after his sucessfull blocking move in Australia he used the flimsy excuse that his steering was damaged. It's not surprising that even his most rabid fans quickly discarded this lie and it seems unrecalled today. At least Senna had the honesty to admit what was obvious to all after he rammed Prost. To bad Michael Schumacher wouldn't do the same but he continues to insult our intellegence with his silence.

Michael apparently can have it both ways. He can criticise DC for slowing on the racing line at Spa in torrential rain while believing he had the right to steer his crippled Bennatton in front of Damon Hill in Australia to claim his ill-gotten 1994 title.

Very strong words but you fail to realise that MS did not know that his car was damaged until he was back on the racing line. Guessing this is not good enough in the fight for a world title. By the time he realised the extent of the damage and was trying to control the car, Hill had darted from behind in a desperate inside lunge and this was concurrent to MS turning into the right hander. You also display typical laymans naivity in the job that MS was doing at the time. Would you be looking in the rear vision mirror for hill whilst you are struggling to control the car in a straight line and a corner is fast approaching? I think not. Hill should have realised that MS had handling woes and should have been preparing to avoid a possible MS spin; not lunging down the inside in a desperate late braking move.

#33 Bex37

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 05:53

Originally posted by jpv
Originally posted by Zoe

How could DH have avoided the accident?

1. At the time MS re-entered the track DH could have very well stayed on the right side of the track, instead of following MS to the left. Was he under the obligation to do so? I don't think so, as going to the left at that point of the track is the normal racing line.

2. He could have not tried to pass MS before the corner. This second option is actually absurd; why race if you don't pass?

Going back to the fist paragraph, DH clearly had (i) a valid claim to space (MS had no right to force his way into the inside of the corner), and (ii) no reason to suspect that, due to his position, MS could not have seen him.

Wrong. DH had seen the poor handling of MS's car and should have been preparing for an MS spin rather than late brake lunging down the inside. MS would not have seen DH; would you be looking in your mirrors whilst driving a car that is extremely difficult to keep in a straight line and whilst approaching a corner?

he was in a position where he could lay valid claim to enough space for his car on the inside of the corner,

Wrong. He made a late brake lunge on an ill handling car which the driver could hardly control in a straight line. Anyone can get a half a car length on the inside if you don't use the brakes. Anyone can see the sense in keeping your distance from an ill handling car when it has only just hit a wall and it is approaching its first corner.

MS, on the other hand, DID have an obligation to avoid the accident because (i) having just returned to the track, regaining control of his car and at a speed below the normal racing speed he had an obligation (a) avoid (in the measure of his possibilities) all other cars on the track and (b) refrain from defending his placing in the race at a time in which he was in no postition to do so, (ii) He was aware of DH' position on the track (particularly, he was aware that DH was going to attempt a pass), and, (iii) he had an obligation to afford DH enough space on the inside line of the corner.

Everything you said is wrong. Consider my previous posts regarding defending position and lack of ability to see DH. As for avoiding all cars on the track; the rules state that you only have to do that when rejoining the circuit; not whilst being challenged for a position after you have safely rejoined the track.

#34 A3

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 06:06

I'd like to bring more evidence to the court:

Here's a better video of what happened. It inludes Michael's on-board camere, the tv feed we saw in the earlier video and Damon's on-board camera.

One can clearly see that Michael Schumacher is looking where Damon is right before he steers into the corner. Just watch the on-board from Micheal. I'll try to post a screenshot from the exact moment tonight.

http://ftg.vltmedia....94/schuhill.mpg

#35 Bex37

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 06:06

Originally posted by Bruce
At this point, MS pulls out of the dirt and looks into his left mirror. He pulls across the track to the far side - going across the breadth of the track diagnally.

There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that MS looked into his left mirror and then pulls across the track. He may have looked in the mirror when he was back on the racing line; but that is only speculation as we don't really know where he was looking. This does not constitue a block of a pass as he had clearly just re-entered the circuit and was back on full accelleration.

DH in the Williams attempts a pass on the outside but is blocked, and this is borne out by the fact that MS has pulled his slower car across the track and at MS's furthest position to that side of the track, DH's right front wheel was lined up with MS's left rear, clearly indicating DH's intention to pass on the outside, and equally clear is the fact that MS's move across the track pinched DH off and prevented him from passing on the outside - Block #1.


At no point in time prior to the right hander did DHs front wing even come up beside MS's rear wing. Your evidence is just plain wrong. I can't see how any of the rest of your argument could maintain any credibility as you are clearly bending the facts severely (breaking them???).

I do not believe that MS knew where Damon was at this point in time as he was fighting an ill handling car in a straight line whilst approaching a corner. He would not be looking in his mirrors and by the time he realised the extent of the handling, he just had to concentrate on surviving the next corner.

#36 Bex37

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 06:23

Originally posted by Bruce
it becomes unacceptable when the car in question has come off the racing line and attempts to remedy the mistake by weaving the other car into submission.


MS rejoined the circuit and was immediately on the racing line (the racing line was on the outside of the circuit at that point since it was the exit of the corner). He held the racing line to the apex of the next corner; i.e. MS's line follows the rubber marks on the circuit which are left on the racing line. If you consider that to be weaving, I would hate to see your racing line if you were driving.;)

#37 Bex37

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 06:29

Originally posted by magic
'1994, [Adelaide, championchip decider] Hill-Schumacher
Schumacher with one point in the lead, final race. Mission, finish in front of Hill, or both don’t finish. The choise he made we ALL know of course. Schumacher was leading just a couple of seconds the race, until he makes an unrecoverable error. Beng, he goes trough the grass, against the wall and his race is over. But; he knows Hill is still behind him. From THAT moment on he knows what he has to do to safe his title. He steers his broken Benetton onto the track. Hill approaching fast, Schumacher very concentrated watching his mirror for the precise moment to steer in. BENG, suspension broken. Hill rolls to the pit to retire, Schumacher gets the news a few moments later. Mission accomplished. Strangely this accident still is considered a racing accident. Please tell me, why did Schumacher get back on the track, other than to ram Hill off?'quote frans.

good question, was ms's car still in racing order?


You do not bring any evidence for any of your arguments. It is all pure speculation. MS got back on the track because he had to continue racing until such time as he knew his car was broken. It may have only been a flat tyre in which case he may have been able to pit for new tyres and still win the race. I'm sure that by the time MS reached the right hander he knew that he had a serious handling problem as he was fighting to keep the car in a straight line. I don't think he knew where DH was. On the other hand, DH knew where MS was and he could see the ill handling of MS's car. What a stupid move to try and make a desperate passing lunge; he should have been ready for an MS spin or an easy pass on the next straight.

#38 Bex37

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 06:38

Originally posted by vroom-vroom
Any suggestioin that he should have waited behind the crippled Schumacher's car to overtake is ludicrous, IMO. He had the racing speed and the line; Schumacher was off the racing speed with a terminally (h)ill car, having everything to gain by trying to ram Hill and nothing to loose, end of story.


You have clearly never approached a deranged car from behind at racing speed. It is the single most unpredictable thing in motorsport. Driving in the wet is a cake walk compared to driving a car with deranged suspension.

Hill did not have the line. He made a desperate lunge on a crippled car and paid the predictable price. It is something that MS would have learnt in go-karts. But, of course, Hill never raced go-karts and it shows.

All MS did was maintain the racing line whilst trying to control an unruly car. All Hill had to do was to give a crippled car the bit of space it deserved and be prepared for an MS spin or to make an easy pass on the next straight. It was a racing incident.

#39 JBDrake

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 06:44

Originally posted by Bruce


The problem with this is that, if MS was unaware that his car was damaged or not, how much less likely is it that Hill would be awrae of any damage? And if the Benetton WAS undamaged, any advantage that Hill had would have been squandered by sitting behind MS and entering the straight following it at largely the same speed...


I have no argument that this was his best opportinity to pass.
My point is that before DH was commited to the inside line he would have seen MS make two swerves to the right.
Was he not concerned about this and what would happen if he tried the pass?

History (even in 1994) suggests that this type of move in a WC decider rarely works.
The FIA had shown its reluctance to enforce the sporting code in the past.
With all of the above DH should have known that he was heading into an collision.

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#40 Bex37

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 06:48

Originally posted by Gareth
MS made a mistake in continuing on the racing line at that corner, Hill had a legitimate claim to be left room on the inside. When he made that mistake MS was not acting intentionaly nor recklessly and no evidence (at least no reasonable evidence) has been presented to the court that he did so. MS did act below the standards that should reasonably be expected of a racing driver and as such should be convicted of negligently causing the accident with Hill.

Gareth


Your arguments are all very good except for the fact that you fail to recognise that MS was driving a deranged car with ill handling at maximum speed. I have already explained that MS had to be sure that the car was crippled before ceasing the challenge for the race; he would look pretty stupid to pull over if it turned out that the car was okay. It took MS until his first slight right turn input to figure out that the handling was awry. By this time, he was committed to the right hander in an ill handling car. At the same time would not have been looking in his mirrors as he was struggling just to head towards the apex of the right hander. Hill was completely behind MS for the first slight wobble and the second wobble whilst the third wobble was MS's final committment to the corner having assessed the handling. At the very same instant, DH lunged up the inside when he should have seen the two wobbles and given MS room.

#41 Bex37

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 06:56

Originally posted by Yelnats
Considering the vast differences in speed between Micheal and Damon, the Bennaton driver was well aware that a collision would result and to expect Damon to have lingered behind the wildly veering Schumacher until he regained his racing speed or retired is absurd.


MS did not have any way of determining a "vast difference in speed". Any normal driver would have slowed down and taken evasive action as soon as the deranged handling was apparent. Even in go-karts, a race driver quickly learns that accidents and deranged steering create very unpredicable circumstances that are best given an extremely wide birth for your own sake. To lunge up the inside of a car clearly displaying deranged handling was a lame-ass decision on Hill's behalf.

#42 Bex37

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 07:15

Originally posted by JBDrake
Also of note in this video is that DH was right behind him when MS made those two little swerves towards the inside line, and despite this, still decided to try a pass down the inside line.

These swerves were his first right turn steering input since the crash with the wall. It is MS's first realisation that there is a handling problem.

I think the most obvious interpretation here is that his first worry was DH getting past him. He made two swerves towards the inside line in an attempt to warn DH not to take it, DH didn't take the warning and the rest is history.

After those initial swerves I don't believe that his third and final one could be seen as anything other than intentional. It is still possible that MS did not know DH was there, maybe he thought his warnings would be enough to scare him off.

There were no warnings and nothing intentional. MS was just doing his best to keep his car on the circuit by this time.

#43 30ft penguin

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 08:08

I feel like the discussion is a bit drifting off. MS slammed his car into the wall. Did parts fall off ? No. Was there obvious damage, like a wheel facing in the wrong direction ? No. Was the car still driveable ? Obviously yes. So what we have is a driver who went off the track, maybe damaged his car strong enough to warrant a quick inspecion in the pits, but anyway - when Hill came nearer, MS was back on track, he was in the lead, and his car was not terminally damaged. Maybe damaged strong enough for MS to want to go back to the pits and have a check - but he still was in the race and had no reason to let Damon pass him without a fight.

As can be seen from the rubber on the track, MS was back on the standard racing line,

Posted Image

and Damon tried a lunge down the inside.

Posted Image

Nobody can say that Damon was clearly faster when they started the turn-in. And I think nobody can say that Damon "had the corner" - in fact, they were driving side by side at approximately the same speed, and Michael was slightly in front. The line Michael chose was the standard one. Without Damon, he would have made the corner the standard way. Damon chose a slightly different line, closer to the inside. The bad thing about it was that it could not work that way - Michael took the turn the standard way, and Damon tried to occupy the same space.

Posted Image

IMO, it was a stupid move by Damon. If not for the wall-banging by MS before this situation, everybody would be blaming Damon for doing a risky and stupid overtaking move which simply could not be successfull. He was not in front, he should have backed off. That Damon decided "now or never" is the sole reason for the crash itself. Without Damon being there, Michael would have made the corner on the standard racing line.

What we do not know, though (and probably will never know) is how damaged Michael's car really was. From the video, it is not possible to see any real damage, so I guess the damage was not big enough to make Michael think "it's over, let's park the car here, right now" - instead, he most likely wanted to drive on for a while to check the handling. And while doing so, he had no reason to wave Damon through. After all, it could have been possible for him to finish the race.

But these are speculations. What I want to point out is this:

  • Michael drove on the racing line
  • he was in front
  • Damon did a bonehead move, tried to overtake, but was never in a position to claim the corner as belonging to him
  • that damon did not back off was the sole reason for the crash, right from the corner entry he was to the right of the standard racing line through the corner, he was never ON the racing line, so it is not Michael pushing away Damon, it is Damon "invading" Michael's space on the racing line
  • That Michael crashed into the wall is irrelevant for the crash itself, since we can only speculate about how damaged Michael's car was. Nevertheless, it looked driveable enough as to consider Michael as "still racing"


#44 30ft penguin

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 08:24

Originally posted by A3
I'd like to bring more evidence to the court:

Here's a better video of what happened. It inludes Michael's on-board camere, the tv feed we saw in the earlier video and Damon's on-board camera.

One can clearly see that Michael Schumacher is looking where Damon is right before he steers into the corner. Just watch the on-board from Micheal. I'll try to post a screenshot from the exact moment tonight.

Sorry, but I rewatched the video several times now and I cannot see what you want to point out. All I see is Michael's head bobbing from left to right, as I would expect from an onboard coverage. And - even if he is looking to the right, it is questionable that this necessarily means he is looking into the rear mirrors.

#45 HP

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 09:57

I want to raise a point here, which I think we need to look at. Some people mention that MS looked in the mirror.

Can we accurately determine that MS did see DH in his mirrors? He could have seen nothing in his mirrors, couldn't he? I think if we can answer this question accurately, we can come to a clearer conclusion.

#46 HP

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 10:09

More on the mirror thing

Having looked at the second mpg from A3, MS looked left, next thing we see DH darting inside on the right of MS.

So MH sees DH staying to the left at the time he looks in the mirrors, as evident later in the mpg, (if indeed he sees him), and then suddenly DH darts on the inside, that is MH's right side.

So I think A3's second mpg rather helps to reverse my original opinion on the incident, and that this was simply a racing accident, no matter if MS did see DH or not.

#47 vroom-vroom

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 12:15

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Bex37
[B]These swerves were his first right turn steering input since the crash with the wall. It is MS's first realisation that there is a handling problem.[quote]OK so why did you state the following?[quote]MS did not have any way of determining a "vast difference in speed".[/quote]. As a self-proclaimed MS fan, don't you think that your hero - after noticing that "there is a handling problem" (your words) after strong contact with a concrete wall and obvious loss of speed - didn't realize that there would be a "vast difference in speed" with a car that was rapidly gaining on him before his crash? Please give him a bit more credit.

Oh, and one more thing, watch the onboard footage of Schumacher right after he hit the tyre wall: What is he immediately looking at? His instruments' panel? The nose cone of his car? His steering? His front wheels? No - the first thing he does is to turn his head to watch Hill's car. The top priority of any other driver after hitting a tyre wall would have to first assess his *own* car's damage, but no, not Michael Schumacher at Adelaide '94 - he was a lot more concerned about his rival's car damage, another proof of his state of mind.

#48 Bodzolca

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 13:00

Bex37 made a good point. Maybe Schumacher didn't see Damon. Let's take a look at the Estoril '89 incident.

a) Senna had no reason to hit Mansell intentionally, having WDC at stake,
b) Senna most probably knew Mansell wanted to overtake,
c) Senna wanted to hold his position.

Point b is pretty much probable as Senna leans his head to the right way before the entry (probably checking the mirrors). He knew where Mansell was, but they crashed despite that. Senna most certainly didn't want to crash, but it happened. Why? Did Senna miscalculated Mansell's position? Afterall, he had to be also concerned about his entry and apex point (add a car that didn't work normally for Schumacher's case), and the distance in the mirror can be deceiving.

Bruce wrote

Bodzolca - you miss a critical fact - stewards never found MS to be in contravention of the rules in Adelaide in 1994, either. The fact that in both these cases, the one you mentioned and Adelaide '94, the stewards failed to find any blame does not necessarily mean that there was none to be had.


I'm aware of this fact. You then state

The purpose of this court case is to determine who, if anyone, was responsible for the 1994 incident...


But in your previous post you claimed

Quite simply, MS was guilty of blocking twice in succession or weaving and as such, the accident must be laid at his feet.


In other words, you state that if you prove he made two blocks, his guilty is proven. (the deduction in the form "2 blocks => guilty of the accident"). This is a little far-fetched in my opinion. Firstly, Schumacher never changed direction suddenly in order to prevent Hill from overtaking. He emerged on the circuit on the inside and proceeded to drive on the racing line. Gradually he drove from the right of the circuit to the left, no sudden moves (except from those two short swervers, but they were no blocking material). And then alleged second block, he turned in the corner. He's still ahead of Hill, he has the right to turn in the corner. I don't see a reason why this should be taken as blocking.

Yelnats wrote

Bodzolca; I see no contradiction in saying Micheal's car is crippled and yet believing he deliberatly rammed Damon Hill.


Did I claim that. Watch my words.

If everyone was contradicting himself, it was Yelnats. He stated that he had a crippled car, but didn't want to take Schumacher's word that he had problems with the steering.


That's different story, isn't it. You also wrote.

I have never seen a F1 car recover from the severe thumping Michael gave the Bennaton that day.


I stated two examples (Mika in Monaco '98, Villeneuve Jerez '97). But for the record sake, let's add one more. Monaco '01, Fisichella crashed in St. Devote. However, he continued driving and his laps time were not slower. He crashed into the same barrier again though, but Fisichella said it was not because of the recent crash but because of the same reason he crashed before (something about the brakes).

Considering the vast differences in speed between Micheal and Damon, the Bennaton driver was well aware that a collision would result and to expect Damon to have lingered behind the wildly veering Schumacher until he regained his racing speed or retired is absurd.


Hmm, there was quite a difference when Hill caught Schumacher, but when they both turned into the corner, Hill is pretty much as fast as Schumacher.

130R wrote

After MS's collision with the wall, if one watches the tape frame-by-frame, one will observe three key things 1) He turns in approximately 30 feet early 2) he turns his head way to the right to align his target and, 3) he apex's about two feet early.

All significant as his turn-in, and apex are VERY precise every single lap prior to the incident.


I understand that you studied his recent turn in and apex points when Schumacher was not directly challenged, meaning he drove on the ideal line. When Hill was challenging him, he had to drive defensively. In general, defensive line is not the same as ideal line.

Yelnats, could you name the source of the Schumacher's quote (about the damaged steering) and quote it verbatim. Thanks.

#49 30ft penguin

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 13:27

Originally posted by HP
More on the mirror thing

Having looked at the second mpg from A3, MS looked left, next thing we see DH darting inside on the right of MS.

So MS sees DH staying to the left at the time he looks in the mirrors, as evident later in the mpg, (if indeed he sees him), and then suddenly DH darts on the inside, that is MS's right side.

So I think A3's second mpg rather helps to reverse my original opinion on the incident, and that this was simply a racing accident, no matter if MS did see DH or not.

Yup. I think that, especially since the drivers wear helmets and we thus have no way of ever knowing what a driver is actually looking at when he turns his head to the right or the left, any "proof" that a driver must have seen x or y in his rear mirrors is no proof at all. I think that it is not possible for us at all to judge whether anybody must have seen something in his rear mirrors, and we should not try to interpret anything like this into the video footage, because there is no way for us to determine whether a driver is actually looking in the rear mirror.

This is an important thing to consider, since there is a very big difference between somebody seeing his opponent in the rear mirror and turning in, or not seeing him and turning in. And calling somebody guilty without any way of proofing that he is guilty is simply wrong.

After all, the head turning to the right at the corner entry could as well mean that Michael looks at the corner to see where he has to turn in.

#50 vroom-vroom

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 13:45

Originally posted by 30ft penguin
[B]As can be seen from the rubber on the track, MS was back on the standard racing line,

Nice static shot of the first block by Schumacher on a fast approaching Hill. MS is accelerating from the grass across the track

Posted Image

and Damon tried a lunge down the inside.



Posted ImageThis one shot where both cars are almost side-by-side shows that Hill had the corner fair and square, and this, coupled to the fact that MS is at reduced speed as demonstrated in A3's video proves that the blame solely lies with MS.

Nobody can say that Damon was clearly faster when they started the turn-in.

Watch A3's video and it'll convince you.

And I think nobody can say that Damon "had the corner" - in fact, they were driving side by side at approximately the same speed, and Michael was slightly in front.

Yes, and since Hill was on the inside, you just proved that he indeed "had the corner".

Michael took the turn the standard way, and Damon tried to occupy the same space.

Posted ImageWrong, while Hill had the corner by your own description, MS closed the door on him leaving no room whatsoever and caused an unavoidable accident.

If not for the wall-banging by MS before this situation, everybody would be blaming Damon for doing a risky and stupid overtaking move which simply could not be successfull

. Are you now blaming Hill for taking advantage of Schumacher's mistake?

After all, it could have been possible for him to finish the race

.Oh sure; I'm certain that finishing the race was foremost on his mind.

it is Damon "invading" Michael's space on the racing line

Yup, that's what Michael thought both in '94 in '97. No one has the right to overtake him, especially in WDC decider races.