Motor Racing: No fall-out for the Schumacher family

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The Independent Online
When Ralf Schumacher crashed into Michael at the Luxembourg Grand Prix on Sunday, he almost certainly ended his brother's of winning the Formula One world championship this season. But the two are still speaking.

Ralf Schumacher yesterday insisted there had been no family falling- out after he shunted brother Michael out of the Luxembourg Grand Prix.

The collision may have cost the two-time champion his chance of the title this year as Jacques Villeneuve won to take a nine-point lead in the drivers' standings.

Ralf said: "It's doubly bitter for him but he doesn't blame me, and why should he?" The Jordan driver added that he did not believe he should say sorry.

"There's no reason to do so. There were three of us involved in that accident - Giancarlo Fisichella, Michael and me. It was just one of those things. I didn't have a chance. Fisichella nudged my rear wheel and I went over Michael. If everybody had been paying attention nothing would have happened.

"What should I do, brake simply because I'm Michael's brother? I have to drive my own race. I'm not the third Ferrari driver."

Alain Prost hired a member of Renault yesterday to develop his Formula One cars next year. Prost said that Bernard Dudot will become technical director after the end of this season.

Dudot is currently with Renault, guiding the Williams and Benetton teams. He helped the teams to the world constructors championships between 1992 and 1996 with Williams winning four and Benetton one.

"Due to his vast experience in automobile competition, including 20 years in Formula One, Bernard gives us a certain added value," Prost said.

Williams-Renault is in a substantial lead in this year's standings and Renault engines took the top four places at Luxembourg.

Renault is dropping out of Formula One this year and Prost will receive engines from another French carmaker, Peugeot, in 1998. The former world champion took over the ailing Ligier team this year and had to use Mugen- Honda engines in 1997.

The Prost team is currently sixth in the constructors standings and has Olivier Panis in ninth in the driver's standings. At the Austrian Grand Prix Jarno Trulli, substituting for Panis at the time, was in the lead for more than half the race before an engine failure.

The Japanese Grand Prix is the next race on 12 October, with the final race of the season, the Grand Prix of Europe, a fortnight later in Jerez.