Grand prix stars react to war in Iraq

As the Formula 1 paddock assembled in Malaysia against a backdrop of war in Iraq, drivers expressed varying sentiments about the validity of sport at such times

Grand prix stars react to war in Iraq

World champion Michael Schumacher said he was happy to race this weekend, but would rather military action been avoided in the first place.

"I think it is a matter of mentality because I guess, in particular, Americans are very, very concerned," he said. "I noticed one event where Tiger Woods was supposed to do a golf tournament in Dubai and he cancelled that, but in those circumstances it is a single person's decision and it is easy for him to do so.

"Here though, we have quite a big structure and it is not a single man's decision except for maybe Mr. Mosley, whether it is safe or not safe. I guess they have looked into that and made a decision that it is safe [to carry on].

"Sometimes you raise a question - like we did in 2001 after the [terrorist] attack - about whether it is safe to go on. It is very difficult for us sometimes. Personally I would be much happier if we could have talked a bit more about avoiding the war but everybody talked more about when it would start, not about if or why it would start. But we keep on doing our job just as everyone else does."

Williams rival Juan Pablo Montoya, meanwhile, appeared to have a more relaxed attitude to events in Iraq.

He said: "For me, being Colombian, war in my country has been there 30 or 40 years and you read about killings, kidnapping and bombs every time you open the paper. Every time I do well, I give people some smiles in Colombia, something else to think about. In Europe people react a bit differently, but in Colombia you can find that you are kidnapped or mixed up with a bomb any day."

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