MAY 16, 2002
Ferrari unlikely to face fraud charges
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER, Rubens Barrichello and the Ferrari team could face legal actions as a result of what happened at the end of the Austrian Grand Prix. According to reports the lawsuit is to come from Austrian businessman Wolgang Poetl, who is outraged at what Ferrari did. The only logical case that might be attempted in one of fraud, relating to betting on the race but it is fairly clear that this was not the reason that Ferrari decided to order Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello to switch places at the end of the race. The only way that such a claim could be proved would be if there was evidence that Ferrari decision makers had made bets on their drivers - which is highly unlikely as Ferrari has made them all very rich men; they have more important things to do with their time and it is highly improbable that they will have done something that stupid.
The likelihood of the legal action getting anywhere is, therefore, very small as gamblers who invest in motor racing should know that there is a possibility of team orders being invoked (as it is not against the rules and has been used on many occasions in the past) and they must bet with that in mind.
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