Michael Schumacher has been called before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motorsports Council after his collision with Jacques Villeneuve in the final round of the 97 Formula One World Championship.
Schumacher caused controversy when he appeared to turn in on the Williams of Jacques Villeneuve as the Canadian tried to pass him. It was a simple race between the two for the driver1s world championship, as long as they were in the points either could win by finishing ahead of the other. Schumacher though, had a one point advantage coming into the race and if Villeneuve failed to finish he would win the title.
Max Mosley, President of the FIA, had warned the drivers before the race that he would except no funny business, especially after a similar situation in '94 saw Schumacher collide with Hill, taking him out of the race and thus winning the championship.
The early stages of the race saw the two battling fairly but when Schumacher began to slow, Villeneuve made his move but the Ferrari driver seemed to carve across to crash heavily into the Williams. The result was to put Schumacher out and allow Jacques to finish third giving him the title. Jacques clearly felt that Michael had indeed attempted to take him out saying, /He either had his eyes closed or his hands slipped on the wheel./ Villeneuve1s race engineer Jock Clear added, /He (Schumacher) cracked under pressure, just as he did in 94./
Schumacher denied that he had attempted to take out Villeneuve claiming that it was an over-ambitious move from the Williams driver and destined to end in disaster. A Stewards enquiry was held after the race which cleared either driver of wrong doing and referred to the accident as a /racing incident/.
Despite this a storm of protest broke out. Damon Hill hit out at the decision saying that inconsistencies in the way the rules were enforced were bad for the image of the sport, he also said, /We have inconsistencies sometimes. As long as nothing is done, these sort of incidents will continue to happen./
It is this controversy that has led to the meeting of the Motorsports Council where Schumacher's fate will be decided.

 

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