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  Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 05:12 GMT 06:12 UK
Ferrari deny fixing
Rubens Barrichello thanks Michael Schumacher for handing him victory at Indianapolis
Barrichello and Schumacher celebrate after the race


Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt has waved away suggestions of team orders dictating the finish at the United States Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher eased off in the final corner at Indianapolis to allow Barrichello alongside him, but the Brazilian was timed as the winner by 0.01 seconds.

The result is the second closest finish in Formula One history after the 1971 Italian Grand Prix.

Todt said: "It was not team orders, there was no need for team orders.

"Seriously, the only thing that was said was that after the second pit stop they should not fight any more and there was no more fighting after the second pit.

"Michael could have won, but he wanted to have Rubens very close to him which we were very happy about, because you know we love Michael and we love Rubens.

"It was not planned. It just happened like that. I was told it was seven centimetres. For us it isn't something that matters. What does matter is to have two Ferraris first and second."

Schumacher said immediately after the race that he was trying to engineer a dead heat between the two Ferraris.

Rubens Barrichello wins the US Grand Prix
Barrichello acknowledges Schumacher as he takes the flag

"We are such a great team together, Rubens and myself. I saw it as a good opportunity to go over the line together but we just failed."

But Schumacher said in a subsequent news conference that he was also trying to pay Barrichello back for letting him win the Austrian Grand Prix in May.

Schumacher said: "I did not feel pretty happy with what happened in Austria from my point of view but a decision was made at the time.

"But now I have equalised this and I can give Rubens something back. He deserved the win."


How people choose to run their own racing team is their business except when it interferes with the sport itself
Ron Dennis
McLaren boss

Since Austria, Schumacher and Ferrari have already allowed Barrichello to win at least two races that the German would otherwise have won - in Hungary and Italy.

And Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn underlined that it had not been a team decision to orchestrate the finish of the race.

"The drivers were free to race up until 10 or 15 laps from the end when we asked them to turn the engines down because one driver didn't have enough speed to pass the other."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis hinted that he disapproved of Schumacher's decision.

Dennis said: "We've got different values at McLaren.

"How people choose to run their own racing team is their business except when it interferes with the sport itself."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"The latest victory hand-out enraged the crowd"
In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

Race statistics

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News

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
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