Barrichello plays down steering wheel toss

Rubens Barrichello

(GMM) Rubens Barrichello has denied claims he recklessly endangered his F1 rivals after crashing out of Sunday's Monaco grand prix.

The Brazilian veteran threw his steering wheel onto the racing line after shunting due to a technical problem whilst climbing Beau Rivage at high speed.

The impacts dented the Armco barriers on both sides of the Monaco layout, and in apparent frustration Barrichello, who turns 38 this Sunday, threw his $50,000 steering wheel onto the track.

It was promptly run over by Karun Chandhok, who dragged the expensive debris all the way to the tunnel before it came loose and was run over again by Bruno Senna.

It was a spring from Barrichello's Brawn that last year struck the hapless Felipe Massa on the helmet.

It is also a fundamental rule breach not to re-connect the steering wheel after abandoning a stricken car.

"What was he doing?," Chandhok said of Barrichello. "Charlie (Whiting) actually asked me about it. You see on the video that he just throws it."

But the Williams driver insists: "I threw the steering wheel because I wanted to get out of the car as soon as possible.

"After the shunt I was facing the wrong side of the track and the car was on fire," he argued.

Williams co-owner Patrick Head also defended his driver.

"If you are standing in the middle of a 120mph corner, you tend to think 'let's get out of here as quickly as you can'."

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