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  Monday, 13 May, 2002, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Coulthard backs Ferrari
Michael Schumacher (l) gave the trophy to Rubens Barrichello after controversially winning the Austrian Grand Prix
Schumacher (l) was uncomfortable with his win
  Were Ferrari wrong? Have your say

David Coulthard has defended Ferrari's actions in Austria, but warned that fans could leave F1 if teams decide the outcome of races.

Michael Schumacher took the chequered flag in Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix at the expense of team-mate Rubens Barrichello,.

The Brazilian was ordered by Ferrari to move aside in the final few yards having led for much of the race.

The controversial action has been widely condemned and Ferrari must appear before the International Automobile Federation (FIA) on 26 June.

But Scotland's Coulthard, who finished sixth in his McLaren, argued that team orders were a long-standing ingredient of Formula One.

Would David Beckham be able to win a football match without 10 other guys on the pitch? Of course not
David Coulthard

"I don't think it makes a mockery of the sport because it was a contractual business," said Coulthard.

"But the fundamental question is if this is good for the sport and clearly by the crowd reaction they made their opinion on that quite strong.

"We are a public sport and without the support of the public then the sport will suddenly start going down hill."

McLaren caused outrage when Coulthard moved over to let team-mate Mika Hakkinen win the 1999 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.


"What the public have to understand is that F1 is a bit like the Tour de France where there is a team leader and all the other guys are there to help him," said Coulthard.

"Is Miguel Indurain not the great champion everyone thought he was because he had 10 other guys helping him?

"Would David Beckham be able to win a football match without 10 other guys on the pitch? Of course not.

"A driver can only win a championship with a team's support."

Meanwhile, Jody Scheckter - Ferrari's last world champion before Schumacher in 1979 - admitted he could understand the team's actions.

"It was 20 years from when I won the title to when they next won (with Schumacher in 2000) so you can understand why they want to win it and can see the logic behind it," said South African Scheckter.

"Ferrari's winning everything also lacks a bit of excitement.

"But if I had to make the decision I would have made the same decison.

"I'm not sure it's always the right decision and maybe at some point, being so far ahead, you have to say "ok guys you have to race".

"But it's difficult to regulate. You could say "that's not allowed to happen" but they could have pulled him (Barrichello) in for another pit stop."

BBC Sport's Jonathan Legard
"The FIA believe there is a case to answer"
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