Motor Racing: Schumacher's stance as safety model comes under attack

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The Independent Online
Michael Schumacher's involvement in a road safety campaign following his collision with Jacques Villeneuve was yesterday criticised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

The Ferrari driver was stripped of his second place in the 1997 world championship on Monday following the incident at the European Grand Prix. As an additional "punishment" the Ferrari driver also agreed to appear in a road safety campaign with the FIA, the sport's governing body, and the European Commission.

But RoSPA questioned the use of Schumacher as a role model. Dave Rogers, safety officer for the society, said: "On the one hand he is going to be preaching road safety, and yet he admitted he closed the door on Villeneuve.

"We don't want that kind of thing perpetuated. Had he not done what he has done it might have some impact among young drivers. But people are not fools, they will recognise what he has done and we wonder about the appropriateness of this imagery."

However Schumacher received support from Britain's two best known motoring organisations. An RAC spokes- man said: "I think in many ways he is the perfect role model. He is admitting he has made a mistake and if we could use other Formula One drivers in the same way it is something the RAC would support."

An AA spokesman said: "I don't think there is any harm in using Schumacher as long as they get across the prime objective, which is to get from A to B safely."