Honda website
Honda website

MAY 28, 2001

Dennis and Walkinshaw cross swords

FOLLOWING the comprehensive blocking job Arrows driver Enrique Bernoldi performed on McLaren's David Coulthard in the Monaco Grand Prix, the two drivers team bosses have clashed, with Arrows top dog Tom Walkinshaw accusing Ron Dennis of threatening his man.

"Ron Dennis and Norbert Haug came up to him [Bernoldi] and told him that, if he drove like that again, they would finish his career," said Walkinshaw. "It was wholly inappropriate for two people with such stature in Formula 1 - particularly Ron, an owner of a multi-championship winning team - to threaten a kid in his first season of Formula 1 like that. He had done nothing other than race, and keep it off the barriers."

Dennis, though refuted all charges, and suggested that Walkinshaw had ordered Bernoldi not to yield for the massive TV interest in the pair's antics as they diced in the midfield, enraging the Scot.

"That's rubbish, I said nothing of the sort," said Dennis, when he heard of the allegation. "I just told him that in my opinion it was unsporting behavior, as every time David made an attempt to overtake, he cut him off. You could argue it's motor racing but in 15th position it's different when you're hampering a driver who is clearly faster and has the world championship at stake.

"I told him I felt his behavior was unsporting and not reflective of an attitude a young developing driver should be putting into his career. His response was he had been instructed to do so by the team. If that team is so desperate for television it has to resort to those strategies then you can the behavior of the team as a whole."