'Double standards' anger Schumacher

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The Independent Online

Michael Schumacher accused Formula One of double standards over team orders today, claiming McLaren had already engaged in the outlawed practice.

The five-time champion said his title rival Kimi Raikkonen had been allowed to overtake his McLaren team-mate David Coulthard at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone almost two weeks ago. Schumacher insisted he had no problems with team orders being imposed, but said if his Ferrari team had done the same thing they would been heavily criticised.

"I am totally surprised there has been no speculation how easy Kimi was able to overtake David as the situation for me was very clear," Schumacher said. "David let Kimi by very easily, but then could go at the speed he was able and make things more difficult for all the other drivers.

"If the same would have happened with Ferrari there would have been a big story about it, yet it has happened with McLaren but nobody has talked about it. I am not concerned about team orders, it is totally right in this circumstance, but what I am complaining about is this completely different attitude if we do it than if somebody else does it."

McLaren claimed after the race that Raikkonen was able to get by Coulthard because they were on different strategies and the Scot was carrying a heavier fuel load. Coulthard is out of championship contention but Raikkonen is second, seven points behind Schumacher with five races left. Raikkonen looked at one stage as if he could snatch back the championship lead at Silverstone as he was running second with Schumacher in the middle of the pack.

Team orders were outlawed after last year's race in Austria when Schumacher was handed the victory after Rubens Barrichello was ordered to move over. Ferrari's actions sparked worldwide condemnation and the team was fined even though such orders have long been a part of Formula One.

But the thorny issue has again been raised with Raikkonen the only McLaren driver in title contention while both Schumacher and Barrichello at Ferrari and the Williams-BMW duo of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya all have a chance.

Montoya is third in the championship going into Sunday's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim 14 points off the lead, with his team-mate just two points further back. Barrichello is fifth, 20 points behind his fellow Ferrari driver.