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AUGUST 11, 2000

Villeneuve blasts back at criticism

CANADIAN Jacques Villeneuve has blasted back at Ross Brawn after the Ferrari technical director criticized him for his views on Michael Schumacher's starting techniques.

Brawn had widely criticized a number of drivers who complained about the German's tactics after Villeneuve had been on record saying that Schumacher's starting method was dangerous.

But the former world champion defended his comments and insisted: "It's not just against one person. It is just because of incidents in the past that Michael always gets the blame.

"He's just always in the middle of all the controversy - look at 1997."

In 1997, Schumacher tried to force Villeneuve off the track at Jerez in the penultimate race of the season.

In addition, Brawn also took a verbal bashing from McLaren technical director Adrian Newey who responded to the Ferrari man's allegation that the Woking-based team were favoring Mika Hakkinen.

Newey said: "Our policy is to bring the leading car in first. Except when there is a clear distinction in point at it is close to the end of the championship.

"We stick to that policy, no matter who is leading. The rule state that we are only allowed one pit crew so therefore one car can come in at a time. There is no favoritism here."