On the fourth anniversary of the infamous La Rascasse scandal that threatened to derail Michael Schumacher’s credibility, the British media has done their usual sensationalist thing by demanding an apology from the seven-time World Champion as he returned to the scene of the crime.
The then-Ferrari driver was famously accused of ‘parking’ his car on the racing line at La Rascasse during qualifying as a means of foiling his rivals from bettering his qualifying time that was provisionally good enough for pole position.
The race stewards agreed with the charge, and sent Schumacher to the back of the grid as punishment. But the scandal rumbled on for months, and the German’s credibility was seriously damaged in the wake of these cheating allegations.
Schumacher, however, has never admitted fault with the incident.
"They say that sorry is the hardest word. Is there any reason you are not able to say sorry for four years ago?" one British tabloid journalist asked the 41-year-old following several questions in the Mercedes driver’s media round yesterday.
Schumacher tried to deflect the question by insisting that F1 should move on from the past.
"I think you can keep trying, absolutely, but as I said before I am not in 2006 any more," the German answered.
Does he regret the incident, he was asked? "It doesn’t change things if we go back into it,” he replied, before adding that the reaction of the media blew the incident out of proportion and made it one of the lowest points in his career.
"You made it [a low point], yes," said Schumacher. "You journalists. Some of you guys … let’s look forward and not backwards."
A BBC journalist then asked Schumacher if would be prepared to try the same move this year, to which Schumacher
punched them replied: "You’re boring."
Even Schumacher’s principle victim of La Rascasse-gate, Fernando Alonso, called for the media to get over it.
“Yes [I forgive him]. There’s nothing really to think about. It’s a small incident. That’s all,” he added.
Lewis Hamilton also tried to cool the flames of the baying press.
"That was a long time ago," said the 2008 champion. "I wasn’t involved then. I think we need to look forward."
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