The Watch Out for Your Ear Award

Awarded to drivers who follow the example set by Mike Tyson - i.e. issue resolution through violence.

3. Michael Schumacher v David Coulthard, 1998

2. Ayrton Senna v Eddie Irvine, 1993

1. Nelson Piquet v Eliseo Salazar, 1982

F1 Rejects Award
3. Michael Schumacher v David Coulthard
Schu slams into DCFront right destroyed
Sch storms off to find DCSchu at the McL pit, accuses DC of trying to kill him

More "Look out for your REAR!". Coulthard slows down in the rain, and Schumacher smashes into the rear end of the car (top left), leaving his front right destroyed and the McLaren's rear left severely damaged (top right). Back at the pits, Schumi storms off to find DC (bottom left), and makes it to the McLaren garage where he accuses the Scot (whose helmet you can just see) of trying to kill him (bottom right).

Grand Prix racing is a sport where punch-ups are by no means unheard of in the heat of battle. For the bronze medal we've gone for an almost punch-up, more notorious for being shown live on world-wide television.

Belgium 1998 was an eventful race in many ways. Damon Hill only won for Jordan after Michael Schumacher, who was leading in the Ferrari, collided with David Coulthard's McLaren whilst lapping the Scot, who had dropped back following a first-lap incident.

Approaching the fast left-hander at Pouhon, Coulthard apparently got the word from Ron Dennis to let Schumacher by, and thus slowed down, still on the racing line. This was made even more dangerous because of the rain. Schumacher, blind in the spray, tried to pull out of the slipstream but it was too late; the Ferrari clouted the McLaren.

Both cars ambled back to the pits, but Schumacher had lost a certain victory. As a result, Schumacher stormed out of his car, and proceeded to march down to the McLaren pit, in full view of the cameras, to confront Coulthard. He got within spitting distance, enough to accuse the Scot of trying to kill him, before Jean Todt and other Ferrari crew members finally managed to restrain the irate German and quite literally drag him kicking and screaming back to the Ferrari pit.

Back to the top.

F1 Rejects Award
2. Ayrton Senna v Eddie Irvine
Senna takes a walk down the Suzuka pitlaneEddie in his Jordan days

A match made in Heaven. The supreme Master, Ayrton Senna (left), winner of the Japanese GP of 1993, and upstart Eddie Irvine, debutant at Japan in 1993 (right).

Racing etiquette says that when you're being lapped you get out of the way and you don't make a battle of it. No surprise then that Eddie Irvine would mark his GP debut by throwing racing etiquette out the window, raising the ire of the great Ayrton Senna at the Japanese GP at Suzuka in 1993.

Senna in his McLaren was romping away to an emphatic victory, while Irvine in the Jordan, so familiar with the track, was engaged in an almighty battle with a disappointing Damon Hill in the Williams for 6th place. Senna managed to get by Irvine, but was caught behind Hill. The Ulsterman, taking no prisoners, decided to then make a move back inside the McLaren going into the Degner curves, in order to launch another attack upon the Williams.

The Brazilian champion was, of course, less than impressed. Meanwhile Irvine was all smug celebrating his eventual 6th place after the race. Rumours have it that as a joke Gerhard Berger told Senna that Irvine had been mouthing off about him. At any rate, what we know for certain is that Senna soon paid Irvine a visit and, after a lengthy discussion, delivered a fairly tasty left hook. Upon arriving in Australia for the final race of the year, Senna was tight-lipped on the incident, but Irvine, who's never tight-lipped about anything, dismissed it simply as a disagreement in which Senna made his point of view fairly clear!

There is a (possibly apocryphal) transcript of the argument between the two at, which can be found here. It's a great read, don't miss it. The following is a small exerpt taken from it:

Senna : You should let the leader go by ...

Irvine : I understand that fully!

Senna : ... and not come by and do the things you did. You nearly hit Hill in front of me three times, because I saw, and I could of collected you and him as a result, and that's not the way to do that.

Irvine : But I'm racing! I'm racing! You just happened to ...

Senna : You're not racing! You're driving like a ****ing idiot. You're not a racing driver, you're a ****ing idiot!

Go ahead and read the rest.

Back to the top.

F1 Rejects Award
1. Nelson Piquet v Eliseo Salazar
Take that!

Aaaaaaand in the WHITE corner, three times world Champion and race leader.............NELSOOON PIIIIIIIIIIIQUET!!!
Aaaaaaand in the BLUE corner, not very successful driver and race backmarker.............ELIIIIISEO SALAZAAAAAAAAR!!!

Undisputed victor of this category, though, is this interesting bout between 3-time World Champion Nelson Piquet and ... well, backmarker Eliseo Salazar.

Piquet was leading the German Grand Prix of 1982, and while speeding around the Hockenheim curcuit, came upon Salazar. Both were approaching the newly positioned Ostcurve tyre chicane. Either becuase he didn't realise he was being lapped, or because he didn't realise there was a car there at all, Eliseo failed to slow down as Nelson tried to overtake him. He speared into the side of Piquet's car and both smashed into the tryes. This forced Piquet's car off the track, and left Salazar's lying in the middle of the track (see below).

But this was where the real fireworks began. Unlike some drivers, who are able to take retirement with a certain air of "c'est la vie", Nelson decided that Salazar needed to be taught a lesson about the etiquette of racing. Piquet failed in his altruistic endeavours, however, and the scene merely decended into a prime time punch up on the side of the track as Nelson let his fists do the talking (see above).

As Andrew Baumer has told us, there was more to this particular exchange than met the eye:

"... the two had a history dating back to Salazar's arrival in England literally with nothing to his name except a briefcase stuffed full of cash with which he hoped to begin his F3 career. Nelson literally picked Eliseo up on the road on the way back from Thruxton; Nelson and manager Pee Wee Siddle helped Eliseo quite a lot with advice, references, etc. But Eliseo always kept reverting to his approach of trying to buy everything, including friendship, with that same briefcase full of money.

Nelson, perhaps in contrast to his public image, was always a warm and generous person in private. He more or less adopted Jean Alesi when he came on the scene, offering advice and friendship...

Thus at Hockenheim that day Nelson, really anxious to put up a decent showing for the assembled BMW brass, felt that he got blatantly nerfed off by a guy he had tried to befriend but had eventually concluded was an ungrateful, boorish horse's ass ..."

Unlike some F1 tales, though, this one has a happy ending. Months later, Nelson was told by his head mechanic that his BMW engine was about to expire anyway! Nelson immediately got Eliseo on the phone, and apologised, saying that he had avoided BMW the embarrassment of a blown engine at their home Grand Prix...

Back to the top.

Piquet comes up to lap SalazarPiquet in the tyres, Salazar on the track

Salazar (on inside) fails to brake and let Piquet. who is coming up to lap him, through (left) and rams the side of the Braziallian's Brabham - leaving Piquet in the barriers and his own car in the middle of the track (right).

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