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GPDA Happy Schumacher Apologised

Members of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association expressed their delight after the incident between Michael Schumacher and Nick Heidfeld in Australia was put behind following an apology from the World Champion

Ferrari's Schumacher was persuaded to apologise to Heidfeld for their collision in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Schumacher had refused to take the blame for his knock with Heidfeld's Williams but backed down at a meeting of the GPDA on Friday.

However, drivers quashed reports that they had voted unanimously to ask Schumacher to admit to an error which forced both Germans to retire in Melbourne.

"It was spoken about very openly in the GPDA and it's all been cleared up," Williams's Mark Webber said after Saturday's first qualifying session for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

"There was no vote. We're not that intelligent. We just discussed the ethics of what happened. As drivers, we're not massive (happy) about moving about in the braking area. Michael clearly defended once, then maybe tried to defend again and that's what put Nick on the grass."

Former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve insisted that the row had been resolved amicably and with the safety of all drivers in mind.

"They had their discussion and cleared it out," said the Canadian. "We all discussed what happened to make sure we have a clear idea of what's acceptable and what isn't."

Red Bull's David Coulthard praised Heidfeld's coolness after Schumacher's initial protests at the GPDA meeting.

"Nick made his point very well," said the Scot. "Nobody disagreed with his point of view, apart from initially Michael. But with some persuasion, he realised it wouldn't be sensible to disagree."

Coulthard echoed the sentiments of Webber and Villeneuve on the subject of driver safety.

"We have a gentleman's agreement on not moving in the braking zone that's designed to avoid incidents...which can be potential driver killers," he said. "Michael accepts he moved, effectively, twice and will endeavour not to do so again. Time will tell whether it does happen again."

Seven-times World Champion Schumacher is no stranger to controversy and has been accused of deliberately running his rivals off the circuit in the past. He was famously thrown out of the Championship in 1997 after forcing Villeneuve out in the title-deciding race in Jerez.

"I think most people were happy it was bit more Michael's fault than Nick's," said Webber.

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