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  Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Ferrari boss denies wrongdoing
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo
Montezemolo says "team play" is to be expected
  Were Ferrari wrong? Have your say

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo expects his team to escape punishment following the controversial finish to the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Italian giants have been summoned to appear before the International Automobile Federation (FIA) next month to explain why Rubens Barrichello was ordered to gift victory to Michael Schumacher.

The FIA also want to know why Schumacher insisted that Barrichello took the winner's trophy in the post-race presentations.


After what happened, they (the FIA) have asked for a clarification and we will provide it
Luca di Montezemolo

But Montezemolo says he does not think Ferrari will be punished with either a points penalty or a suspension.

"I am not worried about the FIA investigation," he was quoted in the Italian press on Tuesday.

"I think they (the FIA) will want go to over what happened on the podium, a gesture from Michael that I found nice, a gesture that aimed at showing solidarity.

"With regard to the race however I don't think there can be anything said. Team play is to be expected."

Ferrari came under fire for instructing race leader Barrichello to give way to Schumacher on the final lap in Austria.

Schumacher then refused to step up to the top of the winner's podium and, amid some confusion, insisted that Barrichello take the winner's trophy from Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel.

Rubens Barrichello led for most of the race
Rubens Barrichello took the winner's trophy following the Austrian GP
"We respect 100% the role of the FIA," said Montezemolo.

"After what happened, they have asked for a clarification and we will provide it."

Montezemolo also said Ferrari fans would eventually accept the team's decision was right and added that there would be no long-term damage to the team's reputation.

"Those who are against will, in a few days, be understanding," he said.

"The image, the legend, will remain intact because it is based on the results of 50 years of history, of wins and of passion.

"It certainly won't be undermined by decisions that unfortunately, sometimes are painful."

Montezemolo also brushed aside criticism from rival teams.

"It does not seem to me that other teams have behaved differently in the past," he said.


Nothing is certain in sport.... the world championship is far from over
Michael Schumacher

"One only has to recall the 1998 Australian Grand Prix when David Coulthard let Mika Hakkinen pass."

Meanwhile, Schumacher has defended Ferrari's decision to order Barrichello to move over in the final few metres of the race.

"Nothing is certain in sport," he said. "The world championship is far from over."

And he pointed out that Ferrari lost three championship titles in a row between 1997 and 1999 on the last race.

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