Schumacher’s ‘Rascassegate’ controversy was inspired by Brawn, Massa reveals

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Michael Schumacher’s notorious ‘Rascassgate’ incident at Monaco in 2006 was prompted by a suggestion from Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn, according to the driver’s team mate at the time.

Schumacher was disqualified from the qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix that year after the stewards ruled he deliberately stopped his Ferrari at the Rascasse corner. The Ferrari driver was leading Q3 at that point, but was on course to set a slower final lap, and stopped his car in order to bring out the yellow flags and prevent his rivals from improving their times.

Felipe Massa, who drove alongside Schumacher at Ferrari in 2006, revealed details of a conversation within the Ferrari team prior to the incident during.

“We had a meeting with the team, we were talking about the qualifying,” he explained in Sky’s new Formula 1 documentary ‘The Race to Perfection’.

Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Monaco, 2006
Schumacher’s title rival Alonso took pole after his penalty
“Then you had two sets of tyres for the qualifying. And Michael said something: ‘Yeah but I mean if we are quicker straight away and then we go in for the second set…’.

“And Ross Brawn said: ‘Maybe we can create a yellow flag’. And I said: ‘For fun. Not seriously, for fun.”

“It happens exactly that [way].” Massa continued. “So Michael used that funny thing for him to do.”

At the time Schumacher denied he had deliberately stopped his car on the track. “I remember [after] that meeting I said ‘I can’t believe he did it’,” said Massa. “He did it. And then the only thing is he was not able to say that he did it.”

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“It took one year for him to tell me that he did it on purpose,” he added. “One year. I said ‘how can you do that?’ It shows that everybody makes mistake in life and this was, definitely.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Monaco, 2006
Schumacher refused to admit the move had been deliberate
Speaking in the same programme Brawn, who is now Formula 1’s managing director for motorsport, said: “Michael had occasional aberrations, things that you could never give a logical explanation for.

“He had this incredible competitiveness that drove him. And sometimes it would short-circuit.”

Brawn said Schumacher’s manoeuvre was unnecessary, in retrospect, because of how competitive Ferrari were that weekend.

“Monaco pole, it’s normally a given you want it. But on that occasion with the strategies that we had and the tyres we had and the car we had, there was actually no need for it.

“It was just a stupid move. And one of those little glitches, short circuits that Michael had two or three times in his career.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “Schumacher’s ‘Rascassegate’ controversy was inspired by Brawn, Massa reveals”

  1. The admission of forethought now places this incident not too far away from Crashgate.

    1. Hi cannot wait for Ham to eclipse MS records. We cannot have a bully and cheat as the top guy. I have been waiting for MS to be dethroned for a looooong time and cannot believe it is likely to happen by the end of next year.

    2. Well Schu didn’t actually crash his car so not really.

      1. @jb784 The crime was not specifically crashing, but rather fixing the outcome of the event by pre-meditating, then deliberately contriving an on-track incident.

        Sure, Crashgate’s more violent specifics aggravate that incident above this one, but the incidents are certainly similar in nature.

        Obviously Crashgate is also remarkable in the fact it took a year for the ploy to be uncovered.

  2. It’s funny. Twitter reminded me that 17 years ago today, at Monza, the “other” Michelin tyre controversy unravelled, with Ferrari and Bridgestone complaining about the tyre construction of the Michelins. Exactly 47 races after that same construction had been racing, and after 5 races in which Michael and Ferrari had struggled massively compared to Renault, Williams and McLaren.

    There’s the friday press conference with the team bosses and whoever is conducting that conference asks Brawn why they had waited 47 races to complain… dead silence.

    They should’ve disqualified Schumacher for the whole weekend at Monaco.

    1. Wasn’t it also the press conference where Brawn asked someone from the audience to stop laughing (because, c’mon, the excuses were pretty hilarious)? :D

    2. @fer-no65 It was Patrick Head who actually asked Brawn. For “some” reason Brawn did all he could to not look into Head’s eyes XD

  3. Never liked Brawn especially how he helped manipulate a tyre rule change advantage in last 3 races of 2003 after 2 seasons of the same tyres. He is a poletician first, businessman 2nd and sportsman 3rd. I remember when he said Montoya had no class after a brilliant move on Schumacher at the hairpin in nurburgring 2003, that said it all about Brawns sportsmanship. Brawn then inherited a car built by Honda (at basically no cost) to win the a championship for Brawn GP and put his name in lights. I don’t understand why he has so much influence in modern f1 now, all I can think of is money and being friends with the right people.

    1. You must be joking? Like him or hate him, but he has been one of the biggest geniuses in this sport.

  4. I don’t understand Brawn’s comments. Are they in relation to the incident or he is just speaking generally because he seemed to have planted the idea in Schumacher’s head.

  5. This story doesn’t add up. Brawn is flattering himself, blaming Schumacher for (admittedly poorly) executing the terrible and unnecessary idea he proposed.

    “And Ross Brawn said: ‘Maybe we can create a yellow flag’.
    Brawn said Schumacher’s manoeuvre was unnecessary, in retrospect, because of how competitive Ferrari were that weekend.
    “It was just a stupid move. And one of those little glitches, short circuits that Michael had two or three times in his career.”

  6. All the comments in the world won’t change the fact that Shumacher was a massive cheat. A driver who was prepared to be ‘dirty’. Their is a vast difference between being a ruthless competitor and a cheat. The fact is that he didn’t need to that. He was by far a superior driver in a general sense.

  7. The irony is his little short circuits probably cost him two championships

    Jacques Villeneuve allegedly wouldn’t have made the corner if Schumacher hadn’t hit him and at Monaco he would have definitely scored more points if he had started higher up. He didn’t even need to start on pole. Damon Hill had demonstrated that ten years earlier

    1. spot on!

      also I thought if he wanted to create a flag situation, better touch the wall for real and smash a suspension or two. the way he made it seemed so conveniently was stupid in retrospect.

    2. 1997 ok, but not 2006.

  8. Such a shame the two greatest F1 drivers of all time by some margin (Senna and Schumacher) had a few moments of silliness throughout their careers. Their talents were more than good enough to just get on a race without needing gimmicks and skirting the rules.

    1. This is why Lewis Hamilton would always be above those two guys in the GOAT stakes, imo. He never felt he had to cheat or drive into competitos to win

      1. He doesn’t need that since he is driving a car who make its cheating a rule every year

  9. And this is the guy who runs F1. Well done Liberty.

  10. This story just shows that Ross Brawn is no stranger to cheap cheating. His farcial idea of reverse grid races is another cheap cheating idea – this time to cheat on Mercedes team.

  11. Seems like Brawn pressured Schumacher into doing this. Schumacher would have felt this pressure given his place in the team was at stake.

    I 100% believe Massa.

  12. Managing Director, Motor Sports and technical director for the Formula One Group.
    Good for is CV, I guess.

  13. Which team /driver has won a championship without at least a little bit of controversy behind them?
    Even Jenson Button’s title had the old double diffuser shenanigans. :-)

  14. This is why Lewis Hamilton would always be above those two guys in the GOAT stakes, imo. He never felt he had to cheat or drive into competitos to win

  15. I am really disappointed to discover Ross put that idea in Michael’s head (even if it is possibly by accident). That’s not the sort of joke one makes in a briefing. I do wonder if he would have been permitted to take a senior position at Liberty had this been general knowledge at the time of his appointment…

  16. This is why Michael Schumacher is not the GOAT. He was a great driver, but ultimately, a dirty cheat. I’m happy that his records are being broken by Lewis, who has never resorted to crashing into other drivers deliberately or parking his car on the track.

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