SEPTEMBER 21, 2006

Sauber contradicts Fontana

Peter Sauber says that F1 driver Norberto Fontana's claim that he was ordered by Ferrari to block Jacques Villeneuve at the 1997 championship finale at Jerez is not true. Sauber told the Swiss daily newspaper Blick that in the nine years that Sauber and Ferrari worked together "Ferrari never expressed the desire that we should obstruct an opponent of Schumacher on the track".

And thus we come to situation in which we must believe one or the other. Sauber is an honest man, who is held in the highest esteem in Formula 1 circles, yet at the same time there is no reason at all for Fontana to have made up such a story and indeed his actions in the race are confirmed by TV footage of the event. This coverage features the following commentary from ITV commentators Murray Walker and Martin Brundle.

"Case of champagne from Ferrari to Sauber," said Walker. "Because the Argentinian newcomer Norberto Fontana, up from Formula 3, really, really, helped Michael Schumacher on his way there."

"What engine have they got in that Sauber, Murray?" said Brundle. "Isn't it a Ferrari?"

"Well, it is, yes." said Walker. "Martin you are a cynical chap."