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  Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 18:09 GMT
Walker: Magic is still strong
Michael Schumacher on his way to victory in San Marino this season
Schumacher and Ferrari dominated the 2002 season

Former Formula One commentator Murray Walker has hit out at those who say Ferrari's dominance of the sport has made it boring.

Speaking to BBC Sport Online, Walker said F1's detractors "irritated" him, and insisted they should give more credit to the genius of Ferrari's world champion Michael Schumacher.

But Walker admitted the expense of running an F1 team would cripple many of the pretenders to Ferrari's crown.


All top F1 teams go into decline and get caught and that will happen to Ferrari
Murray Walker

"People who are getting fed up with Michael Schumacher ought to realise that the man is a living genius, the like of which has been seldom seen in the history of motor racing," he said.

"People who are watching him now ought to rejoice in the fact that they are able to watch him.

"In years to come there are going to be people talking about Schumacher with reverence, so I say make the most of it."

Walker praised Ferrari for turning themselves from a joke into the dominant force in the sport.

He added: "Ferrari, having been in the abyss for years, have done everything right, they've got the right people, the right facilities, and spent a mint of money on getting Michael Schumacher, who's the best driver in the world.

"And it's not going to last because that's the nature of Formula One.

"When I started in covering the sport in 1949 it was Alfa Romeo who were unbeatable, then it was Ferrari, then Mercedes-Benz.

"More recently it was Williams, then McLaren and now it's Ferrari.

"For one reason or another they have all gone into decline and have been caught and that will happen to Ferrari."

Giuseppe Farina (standing) with Juan Manuel Fangio ahead of the 1950 British Grand Prix
Juan Manuel Fangio (seated) is Walker's all-time number one driver

Walker said he was delighted that proposals to force Ferrari to carry weight handicaps in next season's races had been shelved, labelling the ideas as "ludicrous".

"That would make a mockery out of Formula One and turn it from a sport into a pure spectacle - and at the moment it is both a genuine sport and a great spectacle," he said.

But he said it was a shame that smaller teams in the sport, such as Prost and Arrows were struggling to make an impact.

"I'm naturally sorry (about Arrows) because Tom Walkinshaw has tried very hard to get the money that the team needs.

"One of the big problems in F1 now is that you need not just millions of pounds but tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of pounds or you are not going to be able to win "

Walker, promoting a DVD listing his top 10 F1 greats, said he still thought 1950s great Juan Manuel Fangio was ahead of Schumacher on the all-time list.

Schumacher this year equalled the Argentine's record of five world championships.

"It is a gigantically contentious subject because it's impossible to prove that one driver is any better than other," he said.

"I feel that if Schumacher goes on in the manner he has been going then he will be my number one.

"A lot of people won't agree with me, of course, but that's the beauty of the sport."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Murray Walker
"Michael Schumacher is a living genius"
See also:

10 Oct 02 | Formula One
30 Sep 01 | Motorsport
30 Sep 01 | Photo Galleries
30 Sep 01 | Formula One
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