Schumacher withdraws appeal

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The Independent Online
Motor racing


Michael Schumacher has withdrawn his appeal against a one-race ban, suspended for four grands prix, because he feared jeopardising his Formula One World Championship prospects.

Much as Schumacher was angered by the decision of the stewards at last Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, he recognised that FIA, the sport's governing body, might have turned his "yellow card" into a red.

The suspended ban was handed out to the Benetton driver after Williams protested that the German used unacceptable driving tactics.

Schumacher said: "I still don't understand the ruling, but we've decided to withdraw the appeal because we want to concentrate fully on the successful defense of the title."

Heiner Buchinger, a spokesman for Schumacher, said the champion's team believed an appeal was futile. "If you know FIA's dispensation of justice, you know that the federation has never reduced or lifted a penalty," he said.

Benetton added that they also believed the decision was in the "best interest of the sport".

Schumacher and Hill resume their contest for the title next week, in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where Schumacher, recently signed by Ferrari, can anticipate a rapturous reception.

n The Italian Minardi team announced yesterday that it intended to continue in Formula One next season and was close to announcing a new engine deal. Minardi had been expected by many insiders to withdraw from Grand Prix racing in 1996.