Motor Racing: Benetton delay Schumacher appeal decision: German's dilemma

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BENETTON will decide today whether to appeal against Michael Schumacher's two- race suspension, which will enable him to compete in Sunday's German Grand Prix. A decision was expected yesterday, but in Stuttgart Willi Weber, Schumacher's manager, announced a 24- hour delay on any move.

Schumacher spent the day trying to decide whether to follow his heart or his head over the dilemma set by Tuesday's ban. The German driver knew that to accept the decision of the sport's governing body, the FIA, would be the sensible path to follow if winning the Formula One drivers' championship was the only goal, but missing his home grand prix was almost out of the question.

To get Schumacher, the championship leader, on the grid at Hockenheim on Sunday, Benetton have to appeal against the suspension imposed for infringements at the British Grand Prix on 10 July. An appeal, if lost, carries the risk of increased penalties.

'It's the most important race of the year for me and the emotions linked to it are beyond comparison,' Schumacher said. 'I must discuss this carefully with my lawyers. I never expected such a tough verdict.' Benetton had seven days to appeal, a move which would automatically suspend Schumacher's ban. 'We are considering and discussing the matter,' a Benetton spokeswoman said.

Schumacher's ban was imposed for failing to obey a black flag order to stop after he illegally overtook Britain's Damon Hill during the warm-up lap. He was also docked the six points he won by finishing second and Benetton were fined dollars 500,000 ( pounds 334,000).