Drama at Indy – F1’s Darkest Day?

This is unfreaking believable. I have been watching F1 since 1995, and this is possibly the darkest day I have seen in F1. I am certainly not trying to overshadow the deaths of brave racers and unfortunate spectators that have gone before their time; as I said, this is my darkest day in F1.

Team bosses also said it wasn’t clear if the U.S. Grand Prix would count in the championship standings.

“This is disappointing because Formula One, at times, can’t realize it is a sport first and a political battle second,” Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart said. “Nine teams have agreed to drive for points or no points as long as a chicane is installed. It is now in the FIA’s hands, but for nine of us our position is this is sport and there are hundreds of millions of people wanting to see a race.” [Source: Yahoo]

It will be interesting to see what happens, and regardless, it will be a devastation blow to any momentum that F1 has picked up in the US, if the 2005 US Grand Prix is not blessed as an official race in the 2005 Championship.

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2 thoughts on “Drama at Indy – F1’s Darkest Day?”

  1. During the SpeedTV broadcast, someone mentioned that F1 needs to recall that its a sport first and a political struggle second. Unfortunately, while that’s true, the parties involved simply do not think in those terms.

    There is no such thing as sportsmanship in this particular racing series, and there is little grace or desire to "do the right thing". As motorsport commentator Nigel Roebuck once commented, display of such things would be perceived as weakness in today’s society.

    There was no hope once Michelin failed to come up with a tire that would safely do the job. Top teams like Ferrari do not allow one another any quarter in situations like this, so the possibility of a chicane in the final corner was just not going to happen.

    Which begs the question: Michelin has finally gotten a leg up on Bridgestone in 2005 with the requirement that the tires last the entire race distance. Isn’t it amazing that such a tire would be unable to withstand the lateral loads of a banked corner at Indianapolis while the rival Bridgestone tire was up to the task? It’s not like they haven’t been to this track in the past, and they knew they had a problem on Friday(!) More support for the notion that tire technology is more black-magic and trial-and-error than science.

    One final comment. The notion that drivers should take to the track on a tire that the manufacturer declares unsafe is simply pegging the ignorance guage, and those who support this theory not only have never driven a racing car, but don’t really understand what the sport is all about.

    Now, hopefully some idiot doesn’t hit one of the 6 cars running the race with debris and cause an injury.

  2. Right then…

    The initial screw-up is all down to Michelin. Their A tyres were not safe, and apparently they did not have a safe back-up option as allowed in the current FIA rules. With that in mind, you’ve got to say they’ve made a tremendous mess of it. There are several plausible reasons for repeated tyre failures, but given that the manufacturer doesn’t seem to know what the problem is I wonder how long it’ll be before some headway is made on finding the problem.

    After that, it’s hard to know where to begin. The 3 teams that did compete didn’t help matters but then what were they meant to do? How could so many apparently mature, brilliant brains spend two days thinking of a solution and fail? Should the FIA have been more flexible in dealing with Michelin and their teams? How much blame do the Michelin runners take? Nothing but sympathy for the drivers caught in the middle of it – DC caught the eye, still trying to negotiate with his bosses as the cars set off on the parade lap, and how helpless must Alonso have felt upon hearing, "You know the procedure for that start – straight in the garage, mate"? How many times has an oil flag been used to signify beer on the apex of turn one? What exactly was Tiago Monteiro celebrating.

    Rubens Barrichello’s face at the press conference is something I’ll remember for a while – the troubled, get-me-out-of-here look of a man with no idea what had just happened to him. Roughly the sort of face I had when 14 healthy racing cars parked up.

    Cheers,
    Adam

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