Ex-manager Weber unhappy with Ecclestone criticism of Michael Schumacher

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Michael Schumacher's former manager Willi Weber has responded angrily to comments made by ex-Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

As the sport prepares for the 1000th world championship Grand Prix this weekend, there has been plenty of reflection about the illustrious history built up over almost seven decades.

That has obviously included the era of Schumacher, who sits as F1's most successful driver statistically with seven championships and 91 wins but it was his controversial moments which Ecclestone concentrated on.

“His problem was that he had no limits," the 88-year-old told Sport Bild. “The scandals brought a lot of publicity, but not the right kind.”

Bernie was undoubtedly pointing to moments like Adelaide 1994 and Jerez 1997 when, with the title on the line, Schumacher twice caused collisions with his main rival.

While the first one against Damon Hill did see him take a first F1 crown with Benetton, the second with Jacques Villeneuve would result in his disqualification from the championship post-season.

And it was on the Jerez incident though that Weber hit back.

“That’s stupid talk from Ecclestone," he declared to German media. “As a racing driver, you have to go to and sometimes beyond the limit.

“Nobody knew this better than Michael, who became the most successful racing driver of all time. Bernie knows it too.

“The fact is that Villeneuve actually invited him to drive into him," he said of the 1997 moment. "I told Michael: ‘If you do it, do it right, just as [Alain] Prost and [Ayrton] Senna did a dozen times.

“But he did it half-heartedly, because as a German he knew it was s***”.

Ecclestone also then disagreed with Schumacher's decision to return to F1 in 2010 as part of Mercedes' comeback as a full works team.

“It was good for Formula 1 but not so good for him. That’s what I meant by him not knowing the limits,” he claimed.

On this issue, Weber too admitted his own scepticism at Michael's wish to race again.

“I actually advised Michael that he could not win, he could only lose,” he said. “But he was simply inspired by the idea of succeeding again with his old friend Ross Brawn.

"The fruits were then harvested by Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff.”

It was the Schumacher/Ferrari era of the early 2000s which his ex-manager claims “[put Ecclestone and F1] in a place they had never been before and may never be in again.

“And yet now he talks like that about Schumi who cannot speak for himself,” he concluded.