Tom Walkinshaw Q&A

The biggest story to emerge from the Monaco GP was Enrique Bernoldi's successful efforts at keeping David Coulthard at bay. Since the two were contesting a position, the Brazilian was not obliged to move over, and so he didn't. After the race, McLaren boss Ron Dennis and Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug made their feelings clear to a bemused Bernoldi, much to the annoyance of Arrows principal Tom Walkinshaw. Adam Cooper heard the Scot's forthright views on the matter

Tom Walkinshaw Q&A

"I think he's talking complete nonsense. I think his comments are totally inappropriate, from a team owner of a multiple World Championship winning team. His car failed on the grid and his man was last. And my guy was fighting for the position he was in, and his guy was one position behind us. If he wanted to get past he could do the same as Verstappen had to do to six or seven cars in the race, which was overtake them. Not expect the whole sea to open up in front of him, just because it's painted in silver and black and a McLaren badge on the side. He never even tried. He didn't even have one poke at him, did he?"

"No. He's talked to you journalists, but he hasn't come to talk to me."

"What is there to talk out?

"I think what he did to that kid, him and Norbert Haug, is one of the most disgraceful things I've heard in a long time in motor racing. For two people of that stature to go and threaten a young driver in his first season of motor racing that if he drives like that again they'll finish his career. They said that to Bernoldi, and I think it is an outrage. A total outrage. [Dennis denied this when questioned later - AC]. Ron Dennis should be upset because he had one car stall on the grid and start last, so therefore Bernoldi was fighting for 15th place with the guy who was 16th. His other car broke down in the race. That's what Ron should be focussing his attention on, not beating up a kid who was driving a good race and kept it off the wall in his first race in Monaco. I think it's wholly inappropriate that two people of the stature that they have in the sport go and verbally abuse a kid like that for doing nothing else but getting on with his motor race."

"No. Coulthard was last. Are we all supposed to stop now? After the first race there's two people going for the World Championship, so everybody's suppose to stop and get out of the road. Half the trouble now is that they come round, the blue flags are waved everywhere, the sea opens in front of them... They don't overtake anybody any more. The normal blue flags let somebody know that someone is behind them, and that's fine. There were no waved blue flag message that you get on the screen to tell you when the leaders come through, because the guy wasn't leading. He was in last place. It's totally disgraceful. If he wanted to pass, he could have done the same that Jos Verstappen did. Every car that was two or three second a lap slower than him as he fought his way through the field, he caught it up and passed it within a couple of laps. Coulthard didn't even have one serious poke at trying to overtake Bernoldi, not one."

"It's what Jos had to do. He was fighting with everyone, de la Rosa, the Benetton. If you wanted to pass, you could have passed. Don't sit there and think 'Monaco, you're not supposed to pass here.'"

"He was told when the leaders came up to lap him. He was told the leader is coming though, make sure that you don't make a mistake and let anyone through that you're racing with. Each time he moved over, he let the leaders through... he let Michael, he let Barrichello, Ralf, everybody that was coming through. He didn't cause any trouble for anyone coming through. He was having his fight with Coulthard for that position, and he's quite entitled to fight for it."

"The radio didn't tell him anything. The radio told him to let the leaders through, which we're obliged to do by the regulations of the FIA. It comes up on our screen, and we have to notify the driver that one of the leading cars is coming through."

"Nobody had a problem with the situation. Only Ron had a problem with the situation, and Ron is totally out of order."

"No. He knew beforehand that if Jos was behind him he should let Jos through, because Jos would be much quicker than he was and has been all weekend. There was no need to tell him anything. Jos caught up with him and passed him straight away."

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