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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report

Ferrari defend Schumacher after pole furore

May 28, 2006 14:26 IST

Ferrari defended Michael Schumacher and criticised stewards after the German was stripped of pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix and sent to the back of the grid.

Race stewards ruled that the seven times champion deliberately stopped his car at the slow penultimate corner of the track in the dying seconds of qualifying to prevent rivals from beating his time.

Schumacher, whose claims that he had simply made a mistake drew outraged reaction in the paddock, had his times deleted and starts Sunday's race -- the glamour highlight of the Formula One season -- in last place.

"Ferrari notes with great displeasure the decision of the race stewards," team boss Jean Todt said in a statement on Sunday, rejecting the verdict.

"We totally disagree with it.

"Such a decision creates a very serious precedent, ruling out the possibility of driver error," the Frenchman added.

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"Michael was on his final timed lap and he was trying to put his first place beyond doubt, as could be seen from the fact that his first split time was the best and could have seen him do another very good lap.

"With no real evidence, the stewards have assumed he is guilty."

The decision was a blow to Schumacher's title hopes, with the 37-year-old 15 points adrift of Renault's Fernando Alonso in the championship.

The Spaniard takes over the pole position on a track where overtaking is almost impossible.

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