View Full Version : F1 - USGP - The blame game

06-20-2005, 05:00 PM
The Indy USGP, round nine of the World Championship saw and unbelievable day in motor sports!

Only 3 of the 10 teams, 6 of 20 cars started the race. The two Ferrari's, two Jordan Toyotas and the two Minardi's. All three of these teams run on Bridgestone tires, all the other teams and drivers used Michelin tires. On Friday there was a small crash during practice by a Michelin blow out. Early Saturday morning practice Ralf Schumacher had a bad crash in turn 13 (the high banked turn leading into the very fast 199-210mph straight), right at the same spot he crashed last year during the race that caused him to be out for 12 weeks and have two fracture vertebrae. After the two tire issues and inspection by the Michelin labs, the 11th hour before the race on Sunday saw an unfolding of events that should have never taken place.

Sunday was a black day for F1, especially in its very small fan base of the USA. Michelin informed FIA Formula One that the tires available for the race weekend were not up to the task of taking on the track and the full race distance. A number of solutions were put out, including 9 of the 10 teams being behind the choice to add a chicane into turn 13 to slow speeds down. A proposal by Michelin was also given to ship in new tires for the race the next day. The FIA Formula One shot all of which down. Rules state that the drivers will use the same tires as in practice, qualification and the race (it is also they're ONLY set of tires during the race). Sunday morning meetings were taking place, panic was in the air and no one knew exactly what was going to happen.

It seemed like a typical enough grand prix morning to the audience in the stands, all the cars were in place on the grid and the mechanics left the grid for the formation lap. Sadly, as the cars came around for the formation onto the grid for the start, 16 of the 20 cars pulled straight into the pits and right into their garages. Michelin was not willing to approve the tires that were available for the race weekend, and this put the teams into a serious bind. Drivers said they wanted to go racing, and drivers also understood that every grand prix has its dangers. Unfortunately, the drivers have to follow team orders and due to legal ramifications if a driver were hurt due to a tire failure, they were all ordered to retire.

I'm still beside myself that such a thing could have happened. It is the 6th year for F1 to be at the Indy track and Michelin has no excuse not to have a tire ready to handle the load, pressures and required handling capabilities needed. Worse yet, Michelin is pointing fingers elsewhere. Though, to a certain extent something could have been done. Tires could have been rushed in the night before and a special situation could have been given to let all teams change tires prior to the race. Though the FIA Formula One seems very hell bent on making people follow the rules - which I can agree with as well since we have already seen BAR Honda kicked out of races this year due to cheating.

Here is the press conference with some of the drivers that did continue to race after the race -

Part 1 (http://f1.racing-live.com/en/index.html?http://f1.racing-live.com/en/headlines/news/detail/050620020054.shtml)

Part 2 (http://f1.racing-live.com/en/index.html?http://f1.racing-live.com/en/headlines/news/detail/050620020419.shtml)

06-20-2005, 06:03 PM
I caught half of the race and when I first got to it, was wondering why only 6 cars were on the track. I listened to what the announcers were saying and found out about said tire failure. It really sucks, because this could put a very bad rep with the Formula One series here in the U.S.

06-20-2005, 07:27 PM
IMHO, I think the FIA *should* have tried to work with Michelin to solve the problem. They had the power to do something about it. Can't blame the teams on this one, and Michelin did it's best to work something out given the circumstances.

Tire issues do happen though, I was kind of surprised to hear that they had no backup tire at all.

06-21-2005, 02:03 AM
They had backups, just not ones that could handle that one turn.

From a legal and ethical standpoint, you cannot send people out onto the track in cars you know are subject to a catastrophic breakdown. From a business perspective, a six car race is bad publicity, but can you image the publicity if someone was hurt or killed because of a known, avoidable safety hazard?

06-21-2005, 03:57 AM
I think this proves that the one set of tires per weekend (I think it may be only qualification and race though) is a BAD idea. I know that the FIA wanted to slow the cars down, and by making the tire manufacturers design tires with more endurance in mind would accomplish this (harder compounds => longer lasting tires => less grip and slower speeds), along with the reduced downforce for the 05 season. However, remember Kimi's wreck a few weeks ago? This was caused by a flat spot on the tire which finally gave out on the last lap of the race. I believe that he had no choice but to keep going on the bad tire, and it cost him the lead, and the race. I just don't see how the FIA can say that the one set of tires rule makes F1 safer. Now, I do think that Michelin is mostly to blame for the problem, after all it was THEIR tire that was faulty, but if same thing would have happened last season, we wouldn't be talking about it right now.

06-21-2005, 04:29 AM
Ferrari is the only one who disagreed about the chicane... i hate ferrari, they're always sucking FIA's butt for everything, always been like that for any critical decisions, unless it's something against them...

Anyway, i didn't watch it sunday pm, tv channel diffusing it sucks, you only hear the commentators with a subtle F1 backsound... decided to watch the replay at midnight instead, cancelled and replaced by a ChampCar replay because the race sucked... i missed it, glad i didn't miss a good race.

06-21-2005, 05:14 AM
I forgot which city it will be in, but the ChampCar series will honor the USGP tickets for their race. Pretty good idea, no?

06-21-2005, 06:49 AM
I support the FIA's decision to not allow any special changes. My interpretation is that Michelin came to the track with tires that they later found out were not suitable for the track. So what do they do? They try to get the FIA to allow a different set of tires in since their gamble with the higher performing tires failed. The FIA said no, so then Michelin tried to get a chicane so that everyone would have to drive slower. Well that puts Bridgestone teams at a disadvantage since they brought tires they knew would handle the course. Michelin was wrong, if you ask me.

“This was a strange grand prix and it was odd seeing the other cars go into pit lane at the start. But then Rubens and I had a close race - there was only the two of us really. I suppose it was not the best way to take my first win of the season and it was sad for the fans. But I am glad so many of the Ferrari supporters stayed to the end to see how this strange race would end. It is just a shame we could not fight in a normal way, because I think that, even with the other cars, we could have won as we had a strong car. The situation we had today was out of our hands and I don’t know all the details of the problems the others had. But I do know that we left at home tyres that had more performance and less durability, but we and Bridgestone made our choice knowing how much stress there is here on the tyres. I lost the lead to Rubens because we had long pit stops to check the tyres and mine was longer than his and he was pushing very hard.”

06-21-2005, 09:58 AM
It's not entirely michelan's fault from what i've been reading.

Even if they got the newer better tires ... they were not allowed to mount them... but they were allowed to change the same sloppy tires multiple times in the race if they wanted to.

if were michelan, i would've run, but forced the drivers to change tires every 2-3 laps

Think about it... the fans would've still been pissed ... and the finger would've been turned to FIA for NOT letting in the better rubber.

i would've let them have their tires and let ferrari put slicks on for all i care. run the race ... keep the fans happy...and deal with the points later.

Sometimes the bigger picture is more important....

'sometimes when you win, you lose,
sometimes when you win or lose you tie
and sometimes when you tie, you win'

-white men can't jump

Not to say that bridgestone is the God of good tires, we all know about their SUV's and exploding tread problem.

I wouldn't start saying bridgestone>michelan so quickly...they both have their history.

I wonder if any 3rd manufacturer has the research/tech ability to go F1...
That way we would've seen twice as many cars on the field if 1 of 3 manufacturers failed to produce tires...

diversify, reduce risk, increase competetion

Mr E
06-21-2005, 05:54 PM
Indy has resurfaced the track since last time F1 was there. Michelin had exactly zero milage on the new surface. Bridgestone knew the track because Firestone run there in US series........

The FIA said no, so then Michelin tried to get a chicane so that everyone would have to drive slower. Well that puts Bridgestone teams at a disadvantage since they brought tires they knew would handle the course. Michelin was wrong, if you ask me.

All the Michelin teams agreed to forfit all points from the race if the chicane went in. Jordan and Minardi (who stood to benefit *hugely* if all the others dropped out) agreed to the chicane. Ferrari said no.

Now I understand it's all about winning. But some sportsmanship should have taken place.

06-23-2005, 12:54 AM
Also Firestone and Goodyear's first tire tests at indy were cancled because of excessive tire wear.

06-24-2005, 03:53 PM
I was there. It was pretty messed up and the fans were PISSED. At the time I blamed Michelin and I still stand behind that but now think that the teams could have done more. Michelin has an obligation to the teams to make sure their part of the car is ready to go, no matter what. The teams have an obligation to the fans (and their sponsors) to make sure there is a good race. In this case, Michelin's actions caused the teams to not be able to run a 100% race but I still think they should have gone out. The rules allow the cars to use the pit lane as part of the course (obeying the pit lane speed limit of course). This would have at least given us a race for the 7th and 8th points spots and would have made things very interesting on the rest of the track where the Michelin cars were faster than the Bridgestone cars. You can bet that Jordan wouldn't have been on the podium had that happened.

Oh, and fuck Tiago Montero. I don't care how excited you are, you looked like a complete asshole.