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When Michael Schumacher got $1 million fine for overtaking his Ferrari teammate

Somin Bhattacharjee
|Fri Aug 19 2022

Rubens Barrichello intentionally slowed down on the finishing line to let teammate Michael Schumacher win the 2002 Austrian GP.

Team orders have always been around in F1. However controversial they seem, it’s something teams have always used in order to prioritize their better driver, and boost their chances of scoring more points in the Championship.

Ferrari however, took team orders to a whole other level at the 2002 Austrian GP. Rubens Barrichello was the star of the weekend, performing spectacularly through practice and qualifying. He earned pole position for Sunday’s race, whereas Schumacher qualified P4.

On Sunday, Barrichello was clearly the fastest driver on the track. Schumacher could not get past him throughout the afternoon, but what happened at the end of the final lap shocked everyone in F1. Ferrari instructed the Brazilian driver to slow down on the final straight so that Schumacher could pass him for the win.

This baffled everyone as the Italian outfit had no reason to issue this team order. The season had not progressed far enough to suggest the Schumacher was involved in a serious battle for the Title.

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Michael Schumacher refused to accept winners trophy on the podium

As expected, Barrichello did not want to slow down but was forced to do so. He was moments away from tasting victory but Schumacher took the chequered flag first by finishing 0.182 seconds ahead of his teammate.

Schumacher won the race, but the result did not sit right, even with him. When he was on the podium for the celebrations, the German driver refused to lift up the winners trophy or stand on the top step. In the end, he reluctantly agreed to accept the winners trophy.

However, he also made his teammate Barrichello stand on the top step of the podium and the officials were left in a very awkward position. It led to one of the biggest fines being handed out in F1 history, as Ferrari along with both of their drivers were fined $1 million each.

This changed F1 forever as the governing body decided to take a stand against team orders. They banned the teams from issuing these orders mid-race, until 2010. It was Ferrari who changed the system yet again. This time they did not use team orders directly, but made the other driver slow down by stating that their teammate was faster than them.

Also read: “Fernando Alonso is faster than you”- When Ferrari was fined $100,000 for helping two-time Champion win ‘fixed race’


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