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SEPTEMBER 12, 2000

Frentzen responds to criticism

German Heinz-Harald Frentzen has responded to criticism claiming that he was at fault for the carnage that marred the events of the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello had hit out at the Jordan driver after the Brazilian claimed he was responsible for the five-car pile-up that resulted in the death of fire marshal Paolo Gislimberti.

But Frentzen insisted that his actions were not risky at the la Roggia corner and claimed he didn't initially try to cause any harm to other drivers.

"I think everyone who knows me and my racing career knows that I am not the sort of driver to take unnecessary risks at the start of a race," Frentzen said. "I don't have a reputation of being involved in accidents.

"The first lap is always the most risky part of any race and it is inevitable that circumstances sometimes come together which result in an accident.

The German refused to blast Barrichello after claiming his comments were made in the heat of the moment.

"I heard after the race that Barrichello was blaming me for the accident," the German said.

"In his situation I can understand his feelings, especially driving a Ferrari at Monza, but as he well knows the reasons for any accident are not as simply as he would like everyone to believe.

"As the stewards enquiry showed after they had reviewed all the evidence, it was a racing incident, the sort that happens several times a year, but fortunately without the same tragic results."