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  Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 10:04 GMT
F1 bosses slam Ferrari 'insult'
Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher after the controversial finish to the US Grand Prix
The Ferrari drivers celebrate after the US Grand Prix
Formula One impresario Bernie Ecclestone has accused Ferrari of "taking the mickey" out of the sport with their team tactics this year.

And motorsport boss Max Mosley added that Ferrari "insulted" the public by intervening unnecessarily in the battle between drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.

Ecclestone said Ferrari had treated the sport as if it was their own private playground.

Ecclestone said the main problem was Ferrari's decision to invoke team orders so early in the season, in Austria after just six of the 17 races.


It was completely unnecessary because it was obvious Michael would be world champion
Max Mosley
FIA president

"When you do it so early, people thought 'this is really taking us for mugs,'" he said.

"The English, the Germans and Italians were ranting. They were super upset.

"People don't like being made fools of. The same thing happened in Indianapolis, really. What Ferrari were saying, really, was, 'We can do what we like'.

"People started to think F1 was boring because the same team was winning. Not only that, they (Ferrari) were taking the mickey," Ecclestone told F1 magazine.

Ferrari imposed team orders on several occasions in 2002 to help Schumacher to the championship, even though they were dominating the season.

Most notorious was the Austrian Grand Prix, when Barrichello was ordered to hand the win to the German on the run to the finish line.

The Ferrari drivers were booed on the podium at that race and the team were fined $1m for the incident.

Mosley - the president of the sport's governing body, the FIA - said: "It was insulting to the public and their reaction was the same as mine.

"It was completely unnecessary because it was obvious Michael would be world champion. We received more than 4,000 e-mails and faxes about Austria."

F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone: Not impressed by Ferrari's tactics
The drivers were prevented from racing for at least part of the race on several other occasions as well - at the European, Hungarian, Italian and US Grands Prix.

Schumacher outraged fans again at the US race when he inadvertently handed the win to Barrichello while trying to orchestrate a formation finish.

Mosley and Ecclestone have instigated new rules that will ban team orders from next season.

But Mosley has admitted that despite the rule change, it will be difficult to prove that team orders have been used if a team sets out to disguise them.

"Plainly we can only stop them if we can catch them, but at least no-one will now do an Austria," he told BBC Sport Online last month.

"If we see something suspicious, we will invite the stewards to draw an inference. The team will then have to defend itself. "

Ferrari have always refused to apologise for their use of team orders and say they can do what they like to ensure they win the title.

See also:

29 Sep 02 | Formula One
26 Jun 02 | Formula One
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