Berlin: Colombian Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya has accused Heinz-Harald Frentzen of helping his fellow-German and five-time world champion Michael Schumacher win last week’s Italian GP at Monza — a victory that could have a major impact on the outcome of this year’s title race.
“He slowed me down at the decisive moment of overtaking,” Montoya told Bild newspaper.
Williams driver Montoya finished second in the race behind Schumacher but now trails his Ferrari rival by three points with just two races left in this year’s world championship.
He was referring to what happened on the 40th lap of Italian GP when Frentzen, driving a Sauber which is powered by a Ferrari engine, slowed down to allow Schumacher to pass.
Montoya believes he was then slowed down at three curves. “If he did it on purpose, it is cheating,” said Gerhard Berger, the director of Williams engine suppliers BMW.
BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen was equally scathing. “The driving of Frentzen was legitimate but not very skillful,” he said. “At the time of the overtaking, he intervened in the result of the race.”
Frentzen, who has had a stormy relationship with Schumacher, denied he had received instructions to slow down Montoya claiming that because of oil on his mirrors, he was unable to see who was behind him on the track.
“I had a radio message telling me that Montoya was behind me, so I made room as quickly as possible.”