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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2006, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
British GP diary
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor at Silverstone

Michael Schumacher is filmed arriving at Silverstone
Schumacher has been the centre of attention this weekend
The expected confrontation between most of the Formula One drivers and Michael Schumacher following the German's behaviour in Monaco qualifying two weeks ago failed to materialise.

Many drivers were heavily critical and highly dismissive of Schumacher's claim that his "off" at Rascasse, which prevented several rivals setting faster times, had been the result of a simple error.

Some had gone as far as suggesting his position as president of the drivers' safety body, the GPDA, was no longer tenable.

But, when the GPDA had a meeting on Friday, nothing happened - and some of the drivers who had been critical of the German, including Williams' Mark Webber, did not even turn up.

"I was really surprised," Toyota driver Jarno Trulli told BBC Sport, "because before a lot of people were saying 'we don't want Michael in the GPDA' and then we get in there and no-one said anything."

Trulli, a GPDA director, had made it clear he did not believe Schumacher's explanation, and was among the overwhelming majority who believe the Ferrari star deliberately parked his car.

Asked whether he had asked Schumacher to justify his actions with a more credible explanation, Trulli said: "No. I said what I thought and that's it. It's a personal thing, nothing to do with the GPDA."


For BMW Sauber driver Jacques Villeneuve, the vacillating approach to Schumacher's indiscretions was too much.

The Canadian has "previous" with Schumacher - the German tried to drive him off the track in the world title-deciding race in 1997 - and he said he would resign from the GPDA if Friday's meeting did not result in some substantive action.

When, instead, Schumacher neither apologised nor stood down as president, and the drivers failed to stand up to him, Villeneuve was true to his word.


Schumacher said after qualifying on Saturday that he had always felt supported by the British spectators.

He had clearly not seen the banner that had been unfurled in the grandstand opposite the Ferrari pit.

It read: "Schumi: my granny parks better than you."


This is the time of year when the driver transfer market "silly season" really kicks into gear and among the whispers at Silverstone there has been a rumour that - if true - would shake Formula One to its core.

Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen
Will it be all-change for Formula One's top three in 2007?

A normally reliable source said Michael Schumacher would drive for Renault next year as a replacement for Fernando Alonso, whose switch to McLaren was announced last winter.

It sounds incredible - the German has always said he would either stay at Ferrari or retire. But is it really so absurd?

Ferrari are widely believed to have signed McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen for 2007 and, assuming Schumacher is not going to retire, he could well have been piqued by that decision.

Schumacher might think that, at the age of 38, he does not need a quick, hard-nosed, single-minded, awkward team-mate in what has been his comfortable home for the last 11 years.

Renault are facing a nasty fall from their pedestal if they cannot find a top-line replacement for Alonso, and with Raikkonen apparently already committed elsewhere, only one man fits the bill.

And for Schumacher, it could be an appealing alternative. Renault are the best team in F1, as well as somewhere he already knows - he won his first two titles in 1994 and '95 with the team, which then was known as Benetton.

As one seasoned observer put it: "It's not illogical, and it wouldn't surprise me."

That is far from saying it is likely to happen - and this writer, for one, would not put a penny on it. But in F1, you just never know.


McLaren say they have not decided who will partner Alonso next year, but rising English star Lewis Hamilton did his case no harm in the two GP2 races this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton has his sights set on a Formula One seat

Hamilton, who has been under McLaren's wing for years, won the first race by controlling it from the front.

But he was far more impressive in the second. A storming drive from eighth place to the front included a stunning passing move at the difficult and dangerous Becketts corner in which he went from fourth to second in one go.

Displaying rare precision and bravery, Hamilton entered the first of Becketts' sweeps - which is taken flat-out - on the outside of two other cars.

That left him on the inside for the next corner, for which he could calmly take his line, leaving his two rivals to frantically sort out how to stay on the track.

Hamilton's performance drew excited cheers from the crowd - not exactly a common occurrence at a GP2 race.

F1 is another level altogether, of course, and many drivers who have looked good in the junior formulae have been found out there - which is why McLaren, who need two winning drivers, are traditionally reluctant to take a chance on a new boy.

But there is no doubt Hamilton's career is developing serious momentum. At the very least, McLaren will farm him out to another team for a year to gain some experience.


Quote of the weekend has to go to David Coulthard, criticising Juan Pablo Montoya for holding him up during qualifying.

"The way Montoya drives is disgusting," the Scot said. "I know him well enough to know it is a waste of my energy trying to talk to him.

"It would be like going to the zoo to talk to a chimpanzee. We speak a different language. And I do apologise to all the chimps in the world."

SEE ALSO
Schumacher retains GPDA position
09 Jun 06 |  Formula One
Montoya 'block' angers Coulthard
10 Jun 06 |  Formula One
Alonso takes pole as Button fails
10 Jun 06 |  Formula One


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