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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Fraser Watson

Fake Michael Schumacher interview branded "appalling" by former F1 rival

A former F1 teammate and rival of the legendary Michael Schumacher has offered a scathing response to the "appalling" fake interview with the star.

Last month, German magazine Die Aktuelle published what they hailed as "the first interview" with the seven-time world champion since his harrowing skiing accident back in December 2013. Schumacher, 54, was left with permanent brain injuries, and since September 2014 has been cared for by wife Corinna at his family home in Switzerland.

Details of his condition and rehabilitation has been kept private throughout that period, but the publication printed quotes from the German driver, attributing their exclusive to artificial intelligence. The storm that followed saw editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann fired, with Schumacher's family now taking legal action.

And now Schumacher's former Benetton teammate, Johnny Herbert, has slammed the article: "That German magazine interview was appalling," he told ICE36. "This is the modern, mad world of AI (artificial intelligence) and how dangerous it can be. That was a prime example of using it in completely the wrong way.

"I can understand the fascination with Michael because it is a story that has not had an ending yet. There is an endless fascination about Michael. I don’t have any contact with the family. It is all kept very tight."

His comments were supported by Boris Rosenkranz, an expert on the German media,who slammed the piece as "too stupid to be true", further lambasting the magazine for produces such insensitive content.

He wrote: "Of course there are a lot of question marks in the 'Die Aktuelle' text – also, as usual, for legal protection. You can hide behind it, but you can't hide the calculation – to give the readership the feeling that Michael Schumacher might be talking about his physical condition."

Herbert has hit out at the 'artificial intelligence' interview with Schumacher (Getty Images)

Herbert partnered Schumacher at Benetton in the 1995 season, a campaign which signified the second of his seven world titles. The pair's relationship was a frosty one given the team clearly prioritised Schumacher, but the British driver also argued that the selfishness of the star also drove him to greatness.

"We didn’t always see eye-to-eye," he admitted. "He was ruthless. But that is why he achieved what he achieved. He had a way that he wanted to go about his racing. He was fortunate that he got the right people around him with Flavio Briatore, Ross Brawn to Rory Byrne, and he took those people to Ferrari."

Labelling Schumacher's first win for the Scuderia, at a rain soaked Barcelona back in 1996, as his greatest drive, three-time F1 Grand prix winner Herbert added: "Yes, there was a darker side to him too, but at the end of the day you can’t deny anything he did."

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