In a pre-Monaco Grand Prix interview, Michael Schumacher was asked five times if he had any misgivings or regrets about his infamous 'parking' incident in the glamorous Principality four years ago – and five times the German legend refused to answer, instead choosing to shift the blame onto the media for having created something out of nothing.
Prior to the announcement that he would be rejoining the fray this season following three years away in retirement, Schumacher had revealed that there were 'some moments' during his record-breaking grand prix career that 'if I could have again, I would do differently' – but it appears that parking his Ferrari at Rascasse during qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix is not one of them.
After making a mistake and seemingly realising that he would likely miss out on pole position for it – around a circuit at which overtaking possibilities are so famously at a premium – the Kerpen native subsequently and conveniently 'stalled' his car in a position to block the track, thus bringing an end to the session, preventing Renault rival Fernando Alonso from setting another lap time and thereby preserving the top spot for himself. At least until the stewards stripped him of it and relegated him to the very rear of the starting grid.
Whilst he recovered to fifth place at the chequered flag courtesy of a magnificent charge through the field, it was Alonso who went on to win the race – and the world championship. In F1, however, people have long memories – and when asked if he regrets his behaviour that day, 'Schumi' found himself immediately on the defensive.
“I guess it didn't,” The Daily Telegraph
quotes him as having retorted, when told that the incident came close to costing him an eighth world title. “It doesn't change things if we go back into it. We are now in 2010. I had great fun in the race; I came through the field from last and I finished fifth. That was good fun.”
When it was put to him that the episode marked 'an infamous low' in a career not short on controversy and was asked if he wished to apologise for it, the Mercedes Grand Prix star pulled no punches, deflecting the blame and going on to quip that his interviewers were 'boring' him.
“You made it one (a low point), yes,” he asserted. “You all did – you journalists, some of you guys. Let's look forwards and not backwards. You can keep trying, absolutely, but I am not talking about 2006 anymore. There is enough said and I don't feel I need to get any deeper into it.”
The inference was clear. Any acknowledgement of guilt or contrition, it seems, will have to wait for another day. As he endeavours to re-find the form that once made him nigh-on invincible, there is no room for any weakness in the 91-time grand prix-winner's armour.