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JULY 20, 2001

Schumacher fine after testing accident

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER has been at pains to play down the testing accident at Monza on Tuesday that demolished his car and saw him returning to Geneva for a few days of physiotherapy.

Germany's Bild newspaper has created a bit of a fuss by suggesting that there was a sinister conspiracy behind the accident, which saw the car snap right under braking for the Seconda Variante, crash into the guardrail and slither to a halt against the tires on the exit of the chicane.

Bild claimed that sporting director Jean Todt had procured the close circuit TV tapes from the Monza officials and lied about the findings of the Ferrari investigation, which concluded that the rear undertray and diffuser had been damaged by Michael's curb-bashing on earlier laps.

"I'm fine," said Schumacher, whose brother Ralf stopped at the scene to make sure he was okay but made his own way back to the pits. "Naturally, on Wednesday and Thursday I still felt the after effects of the accident, but not too much.

"The doctors advised me to take a short break to relax and suggested I should not make an immediate return to testing. On Thursday afternoon, I did some light training and over the weekend I will continue with my normal physical training program."

Schumacher is currently well on course to take the 2001 world championship, and on his current average - having finished no lower than second place with only one retirement - is well on his way to eclipsing Nigel Mansell's record score of 109 points in his title-winning season of 1992.