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Todt Plays Down Drivers' Spat

Jean Todt has denied that the spat between Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher after last weekend's Monaco GP has hindered their working relationship within the Ferrari team

Barrichello complained to Todt immediately after the race about the manner in which Schumacher scrabbled past him at the chicane on the last lap.

"I can understand that it makes a headline," Todt said, "But it is not a problem. It is a very small controversy and I don't care about it. They will be very motivated and that's good."

It was Barrichello's 33rd birthday on the Monday after Monte Carlo and Todt said that Schumacher spoke to him on the phone and that the two drivers were "okay."

"In the last few years," Todt went on, "all the speculation has been about team orders. In six years I think it has happened twice. Once in 2001 and once in 2002 we asked Rubens to facilitate a race for Michael because of the Championship.

"I'm not making a big thing out of Monaco. I'm not saying who should have done what, the important thing is that they didn't compromise the work of everyone by taking each other off.

"This is racing, it is about competition and I have been a co-driver, sitting next to a competing driver. I know about emotion. It's human and if you ask a driver about something when he comes out of a car, then you get emotion.

"You have two approaches. You either add fuel to the fire or you try to calm things down. I try to make sure that they speak together and Michael did call Rubens on Monday.

"But this is competition and your first opposition is your team mate. Their working relationship has not been compromised."

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