Four years after the ‘Rascasse scandal’, the British media on Wednesday demanded an apology as Michael Schumacher returned to the fabled Monaco circuit.
During the seven time world champion’s last visit to the Principality as a race driver in 2006, he was famously accused of ‘parking’ his Ferrari in the Rascasse corner during qualifying in order to prevent his title rival Fernando Alonso from beating him to pole position.
The stewards agreed with the charge and penalised Schumacher, but he has never owned up to having cheated.
“They say that sorry is the hardest word. Is there any reason you are not able to say sorry for four years ago?” one British tabloid reporter asked the 41-year-old following several questions in the Mercedes driver’s media round on Wednesday.
Schumacher neither admitted his culpability nor denied the charges, insisting only that the F1 world should move on.
“I think you can keep trying, absolutely, but as I said before I am not in 2006 any more,” the German answered.
Asked if he regretted the manoeuvre, Schumacher said: “It doesn’t change things if we go back into it.”
And he said only the reaction of the media marked out the event as a low point in his long and successful career.
“You made it (a low point), yes,” said Schumacher. “You journalists. Some of you guys … let’s look forward and not backwards.”
Asked if he would be willing to try a similar move in 2010, he told a BBC reporter: “You’re boring.”
Also on Wednesday, Alonso also sounded unwilling to think about the 2006 controversy.
Asked if he had forgiven Schumacher for 2006, the Spaniard simply answered “yes”, insisting that F1 history is littered with famous on-track incidents.
“There’s nothing really to think about. It’s a small incident. That’s all,” the Ferrari driver added.
Lewis Hamilton also played down the media’s attempt to make the controversy a hot topic in 2010.
“That was a long time ago,” said the Briton. “I wasn’t involved then. I think we need to look forward.”