Schumacher handed ten-place grid penalty for Vergne collision
By Berthold Bouman
Seven-times World Champion Michael Schumacher has been handed a ten-place grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit for causing a collision with the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne this evening at the Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore.
“It was obviously a very unfortunate ending to my race this evening when I ran into the car of Vergne who accepted my apology straight afterwards,” Schumacher said after the race.
He suspected a mechanical failure caused the crash, “I am not totally sure why it happened like this; I was braking but the deceleration was not as strong as it usually would be, and I could not avoid running into the car in front of me. We have to find out what has happened.”
Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn also didn’t know what happened, “It was an unusual set of circumstances so we will have a careful look at the data and work out what could have happened.”
Although Schumacher hinted he could have suffered from a mechanical failure, he apparently told the FIA Stewards he had misjudged his braking on cold tyres, as a FIA statement read, “The driver admitted the collision was his error due to the failure to anticipate the braking performance of the car with lower tyre grip following a safety car period. The penalty takes into account that this is the second similar offence by the driver this season.”
Vergne said about the crash, “I was focussing on catching Perez at that point, trying to brake late to catch him, so I am not too sure what happened exactly, but I assume Michael braked a bit too late and could not avoid running in to me.
“There is no sense in being angry about it, because these things happen in racing and even the most experienced driver on the grid can make mistakes! He said sorry and that’s the end of it.”
It was the second time this happened on the Marina Bay circuit, last year Schumacher slammed into the back of the Sauber of Sergio Perez in similar circumstances and was officially reprimanded by the FIA Stewards.