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Formula 1 stinker at the US Grand Prix
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Alias



Joined: 24 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 8:38 pm    Post subject: Formula 1 stinker at the US Grand Prix Reply with quote

You can kiss any F1 success in America goodbye after this debacle.

Quote:


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - One by one, 14 Formula One cars ducked off the race track and parked in a unified protest over safety concerns at the United States Grand Prix.

From their seats in the grandstands, the few American fans of the globe-trotting racing series watched in wide-eyed disbelief as just six cars started Sunday's event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The drivers were embarrassed.

The fans were disgusted.

Any chance F-1 had of capturing the American audience was crippled



"I feel terrible. I have a sick feeling in my stomach," David Coulthard said after pulling out of the race. "I am embarrassed to be a part of this. The reality is that mature adults were not able to come to a resolution that would have allowed us to put on the show that everybody wants to see in Formula One.

"It is a very sad day for this sport. I am so, so sorry for what we've done."

Michael Schumacher bested five other cars on the track to win his first event of the season. It was his third consecutive victory in the U.S. Grand Prix and fourth in the six years it has been held at Indy.

But it will forever be tainted. He was booed on the podium, the traditional champagne celebration was cancelled and the public address announcer implored the few remaining fans in attendance to stop throwing things.

"Bit of a strange Grand Prix," Schumacher said. "Not the right way to win my first one this year."

The event was in jeopardy from the start because Michelin advised the seven teams it supplies that its tires were not safe to race through the high banked final turn at Indy.

The world's largest tiremaker worked endlessly with the teams to try to persuade FIA, the series governing body, to make allowances that would ensure the 14 drivers using Michelins would be safe.

FIA wouldn't ease its rule that forbids teams to change tires after qualifying.

And it absolutely refused to consider installing a chicane in turn 13 to slow the speeds.

So Michelin advised its teams not to compete after a lengthy morning meeting between the seven team bosses, F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and FIA. At one point, all 20 drivers were summoned to the meeting.

In the end, nine teams decided they would not race without the chicane. Ferrari, which fields cars for Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, was the lone holdout.

The nine teams even agreed to race for no points, as long as the obstacle was added to the course, in an effort to ensure the race was completed.

But when the chicane was not erected, the Michelin teams decided to withdraw from the event.

Already lined up on pit road, they all completed the warmup lap. Then they pulled off and parked, climbing out of their cars at the same time the remaining six drivers started the race. The cars that did compete all race on Bridgestone tires.

"I am really sorry for the USA fans because they came here to support us and see our show," pole-sitter Jarno Trulli said. "The decision for us not to race is sad, but we were in danger."

The crowd was stunned when the 14 cars pulled off, with fans pointing and gawking as they tried to figure out what was going on.

Fans booed and some threw water bottles on the track in disgust.

"If I was a fan out there I would do the same," said Iberville, Que., driver Jacques Villeneuve, who won the Indianapolis 500 10 years ago.

After just 10 laps, many spectators began heading for the exits. There were reports of thousands of fans showing up at the ticket office demanding refunds, and that police had been called to keep the peace.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George didn't immediately respond to an interview request by The Associated Press. Instead, he issued a statement urging fans to direct their frustration to Michelin, FIA and F-1's management. The statement provided e-mail addresses for all three.

This event already draws just a fraction of what other races here do. Less than 100,000 come to this race, compared to a crowd in excess of 300,000 for the Indianapolis 500.

Sunday's debacle will do nothing to improve that.

"Quite frankly, the fans got cheated," Ecclestone said.

Scott Brombacher, a fan from California, said he was disgusted as he left.

"I love Formula One ... it just aggravates me," Brombacher said. "I spent a lot of money and took a week off from work to come out here. To have all this happen at the last minute is just disgusting."

Now the future of the series in the U.S. hangs in jeopardy. This is the rare country that has not embraced the world's top racing series, and teams have been working hard to tap into the lucrative market.

All seven teams that pulled out of the race signed a single statement apologizing for the debacle.

"We are totally aware that the USA is an important market for Formula One and there is an obligation for Formula One to promote itself in a positive and professional manner," it said. "It is sad that we couldn't showcase Formula One in the manner we would have liked today."

Among those refusing to race were world championship points leader Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, who trails him in the standings by 22 points.

Alonso is F-1's biggest threat this season to end Schumacher's five-year reign as world champion. But when he and the other contenders pulled out of the event, it opened the door for seven-time world champion Schumacher to climb back into the race.

Schumacher entered the event 35 points behind Alonso, but cut the deficit to 25 with the victory - well within striking distance with 10 events left this season.

The tire problems began on Friday when Ralf Schumacher crashed in the final turn at Indy after one of his Michelin's failed on his Toyota. Although he wasn't seriously injured, medical personnel refused to clear him to race.

Ricardo Zonta, his teammate, also wrecked because of a tire failure.

Michelin said it was unable to determine why its tires weren't sturdy, and asked the FIA if it could ship in a new batch of rubber from its France warehouse.

FIA said no, and warned teams they would be heavily penalized if they changed their tires.

So the teams tried instead for a chicane to make the turn slower. The turn has been a concern since last season, when Ralf Schumacher was seriously injured in an accident in the same spot.

When that was rebuffed, the teams claimed they had no choice but to pull out of the event.

"We did everything we could along with nine other teams to find a solution to this problem," McLaren-Mercedes boss Ron Dennis said. "It is a bad day, but a clear demonstration of the difficulties the teams constantly have with finding solutions to problems."
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eamo



Joined: 08 Mar 2003
Location: Shepherd's Bush, 1964.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bit weird.

I guess that's the end of F1 in America. Probably not a bad thing. Given a couple of years they would have turned in into F1 X-TREME!!!!!!. Same as normal F1 but more dancing girls and statistics.
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Draven



Joined: 03 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy story all right. I didn't stay up to watch, what with the early Monday morning local time start and all, and I'm sure glad. I will watch the replay on Star Sports tonight, though.

It's not like it's the first time Formula 1 has raced that track, Michelin should've been able to provide its teams with better rubber. Good on the Jordan's and the Minardi's for getting into the points. A Jordan on the podium, whodathunk it Wink ? Puts Ferrari right back into the thick of the championship points too, but it doesn't look like they have the car to seriously challenge Renault or Mclaren anyway.
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just because



Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Location: Changwon - 4964

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey at least Jordan and Minardi must be stoked....
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Draven



Joined: 03 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

just because wrote:
Hey at least Jordan and Minardi must be stoked....


Apparently not, actually. Minardi sounds pretty sympathetic to the teams running Michelin's and would like to have supported them by not racing. Minardi's boss blames Jordan for deciding to race, claiming that Jordan's decision forced Minardi to race, as they are virtually only competing with each other in the championship's turtle derby. Story here. So if Jordan had've opted out in support of the other teams, the 'race' would've consisted of Schumacher vs. Barrichello

You gotta love the politics and intrigue of Formula 1 Confused.
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Draven



Joined: 03 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a pic of the starting grid, for anyone who didn't see it Smile.

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lunalilo



Joined: 11 May 2005
Location: somewhere in-between

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Draven wrote:
Crazy story all right. I didn't stay up to watch, what with the early Monday morning local time start and all, and I'm sure glad. I will watch the replay on Star Sports tonight, though.

It's not like it's the first time Formula 1 has raced that track, Michelin should've been able to provide its teams with better rubber. Good on the Jordan's and the Minardi's for getting into the points. A Jordan on the podium, whodathunk it Wink ? Puts Ferrari right back into the thick of the championship points too, but it doesn't look like they have the car to seriously challenge Renault or Mclaren anyway.




Yes, however, it was resurfaced just a month ago. Keep in mind the Bridgestone equiped cars have a huge advantage because its sister company Firestone in the U.S. just finished a race a few weeks ago on this same resurfaced track.

Michelin has not had the time come up with right construction and compound. How can anyone argue when a team pull out for a safety reason?
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Derrek



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting link for those who don't know the difference between Indy and Formula 1:

http://indymotorspeedway.com/98vsseri.htm
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Draven



Joined: 03 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lunalilo wrote:

Yes, however, it was resurfaced just a month ago. Keep in mind the Bridgestone equiped cars have a huge advantage because its sister company Firestone in the U.S. just finished a race a few weeks ago on this same resurfaced track.

Michelin has not had the time come up with right construction and compound. How can anyone argue when a team pull out for a safety reason?


That's a fair point. I don't think anyone blames the teams for pulling out, but rather blame Michelin for not providing a good enough product, and the FIA for not doing what it could to save the race. Certainly some sort of compromise should/could have been found. I'd heard rumours after qualifying that Michelin was flying tires over to be used in the race. Did the FIA object to them changing to these new tires, even with penalties?

Anyhow, wherever the blame lies, the fan is the one who got screwed, especially those who paid big money for tickets.
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kprrok



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Location: back in Jeju

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lunalilo wrote:

Yes, however, it was resurfaced just a month ago. Keep in mind the Bridgestone equiped cars have a huge advantage because its sister company Firestone in the U.S. just finished a race a few weeks ago on this same resurfaced track.

Michelin has not had the time come up with right construction and compound. How can anyone argue when a team pull out for a safety reason?


Let's start with this one. You obviously don't know much about the differences between the IRL and F1. Let me give you a couple examples of how these differences make the argument about Firestone giving info to Bridgestone helped them...

1.) IRL runs anti-clockwise around the entire oval. This stresses the tires in a completely different manner than the F1 cars driving clockwise through just one turn of the oval and a twisty, flat infield circuit.

2.) IRL uses slick tires with no grooves whereas F1 uses tires with grooves. This alone negates any advantage as the tires are constructed completely differently.

3.) IRL tires are built to last a maximum of about 100 miles. F1 tires must last almost 225-250 miles.

4.) IRL runs the true oval (as I stated) and are thus set up for minimal downforce and maximum speed. F1 cars are set up with much more downforce for the infield as they are on the oval for only 1 mile vs. the 2.5 miles of IRL.

These simple reasons negate any advantage they might have had. I guess I could concede that they did gain an advantage in that they saw the new surface degraded the tires more and therefore built a sturdier tire.

I don't know anyone that's blaming Michelin for pulling out of the race. The safety of the dirvers and other personnel as well as the fans must be the priority. People ARE blaming Michelin for not bringing a back-up tire as regulations permit that was sturdier than their soft tire that ended up causing problems. They brought only one compound (from the reports I've read on reliable websites) and it was not good enough.

Regulations are in place this year that prevented them from bringing in a different, untested, tire to replace the dangerous one. But this would be a moot point as running untested tires that weren't designed for the circuit in question would be even more dangerous than running the original tires. I'll return to this further down this post.

Draven wrote:
That's a fair point. I don't think anyone blames the teams for pulling out, but rather blame Michelin for not providing a good enough product, and the FIA for not doing what it could to save the race. Certainly some sort of compromise should/could have been found. I'd heard rumours after qualifying that Michelin was flying tires over to be used in the race. Did the FIA object to them changing to these new tires, even with penalties?

Anyhow, wherever the blame lies, the fan is the one who got screwed, especially those who paid big money for tickets.


I've already addressed not blaming Michelin. But let's talk about the FIA now. How can they be blamed? They as a body established the rules that have been set down since the beginning of the season and that all of the competitors have been aware of. The FIA was unable and unwilling to change those regulations now because of the precedent that would set.

In the very demanding world of F1, if the FIA give an inch one time, the teams will pull for a mile the next. The FIA must enforce the rules evenly in all cases and not allow exceptions.

Now there was talk of 9 of the 10 teams (Ferrari withstanding) came to the agreement to place a chicane in the final corner (13, banked oval corner) that would make the track safe enough for the Michelin cars to race. But to discuss this, I must digress a bit for another explanation....

.....Michelin told their teams they could not guarantee the safety of their tires through the high-speed turn 13 which is taken at full throttle. They said that if the cars could be controlled through that corner at a reduced speed, the tires would be fine. Rumors that it was Toyota causing the problems which resulted in R. Schumacher's accident were vehemently denied by Michelin's head of competition.....

Back to the talk of the chicane. Ferrari alone did not agree to the chicane, but they did not object either. They simply stated that it was the responsibility of the FIA to decide whether or not to put the chicane in and they were not going to speak up. The FIA said they could not do that as it contravened several regulations.

So why would the chicane be a bad idea in the first place? Modifying a circuit to the advantage of only a part of the field is both unfair and unsportsmanlike. It is also inherently dangerous to force the drivers to compete on a circuit where the fastest corner is suddenly changed, haphazardly I would state, to a slow chicane that completely changes the character of the track. I say the chicane would be haphazardly put together because for it to do any good, they would have to evaluate it in several formats and only after these alternatives had been tested, choose the best one. The FIA would not have had the time to do this as it was not even suggested until 2200 local time Saturday night with the race starting at 1400 local time Sunday.

Let's return now to the issue of Michelin bringing in the tires that they had designed for the Barcelona circuit which I alluded to earlier. The FIA did NOT say that they could not do this. They simply said that if they did do it, they would be penalized. That penalty would almost certainly be an expulsion, fine, and possibly a future ban. No team would want to risk this so this idea was thrown out.

If anyone has any further questions, I'd be happy to answer anything and everything.

KPRROK
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Draven



Joined: 03 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kprrok,

That was a nice post, very informative. You answered many of the questions I was having about this whole thing...

Well done.
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kprrok



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Location: back in Jeju

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No problem. I followed the story since it's breaking on Friday US time after my family alerted me of the severity of it. I woke up for the race and watched the TV coverage, plus had several websites open during the race for further info.

If you want to read more good stuff, go here. The main site is a paysite, but the forums are free and very entertaining. You just have to wade through the hundreds of "Ferrari are evil", "Mosley's Evil Plan", etc. to find the good stuff. Just a tip about these forums, anything you read from a poster named bira should be taken as holy writ. She's the main editor and probably the smartest damned woman in F1. At least, I think she's a woman! I can't say as I ever actually figured that out!

KPRROK
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coldcrush



Joined: 02 Apr 2004
Location: melbourne.... Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kprrok, you undermine the whole dave's ethos with your thoroughly informed post. cheers!

eamo wrote:
dancing girls

i'm sure ye olde f1 boys see a few dancing girls already.
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Bulsajo



Joined: 16 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Derrek wrote:
Interesting link for those who don't know the difference between Indy and Formula 1:

http://indymotorspeedway.com/98vsseri.htm

Cool link, thanks for posting it.
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kprrok



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Location: back in Jeju

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 3:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Formula 1 stinker at the US Grand Prix Reply with quote

OK. I just figured I'd start here and go through this article and point out all the errors in it....

Quote:


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - One by one, 14 Formula One cars ducked off the race track and parked in a unified protest over safety concerns at the United States Grand Prix.


Wrong. The 14 cars were not protesting any safety concerns. They were simply withdrawing their cars over concerns about safety that were beyond their control.

Quote:
But it will forever be tainted. He was booed on the podium, the traditional champagne celebration was cancelled and the public address announcer implored the few remaining fans in attendance to stop throwing things.


Wrong. The win will not be tained. That implies that he did something wrong and won by unfair means. No. He won because he was the fastest of the six cars who took part in the race because they were safe enough to do so.

And just for the record, Schumacher and Ferrari get booed in a lot of places.

The champagne celebration wasn't cancelled, Schumi and Rubens simply didnt' participate. Third place Tiago Montiero of Jordan did participate as it was his first points-finish of the year and first podium of his career...probably to be his only one too.

Quote:
FIA wouldn't ease its rule that forbids teams to change tires after qualifying.


As I stated earlier, the FIA did not forbid them to do this. They actually suggested it. They simply said that if this course of action was taken, the teams could expect penalties as laid out in the rules of the championship.

Quote:
And it absolutely refused to consider installing a chicane in turn 13 to slow the speeds.


Quite rightly so. To do this would have contravened several sporting regulations and made the race perhaps even more dangerous for all the competitors.

Quote:
So Michelin advised its teams not to compete after a lengthy morning meeting between the seven team bosses, F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and FIA. At one point, all 20 drivers were summoned to the meeting.

In the end, nine teams decided they would not race without the chicane. Ferrari, which fields cars for Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, was the lone holdout.

The nine teams even agreed to race for no points, as long as the obstacle was added to the course, in an effort to ensure the race was completed.

But when the chicane was not erected, the Michelin teams decided to withdraw from the event.


This is a good section. The timeline isn't quite right here. This implies that Michelin advised their teams not to race only after all of their ideas of a compromise were dismissed. That's not the case. Michelin advised the teams on Saturday afternoon that they could not guarantee the safety of their tires and therefore should not race.

Yes, 9 teams did agree not to race, but Ferrari was not a holdout. They were never consulted. Jean Todt has said that it is irrelevant what they would have said if asked because they weren't.

But not, the 9 teams did not agree to race for no points. The 7 Michelin teams agreed to this as they were the ones who were getting the advantage. The agreement was that the Bridgestone-shod cars (Ferrari, Jordan, and Minardi) would receive the points, but everyone would race. Hmmm, so Schumi finishes 8th on the track but gets the win? How is that gonna play?

Quote:
The crowd was stunned when the 14 cars pulled off, with fans pointing and gawking as they tried to figure out what was going on.

Fans booed and some threw water bottles on the track in disgust.

"If I was a fan out there I would do the same," said Iberville, Que., driver Jacques Villeneuve, who won the Indianapolis 500 10 years ago.


Boy, this is just plain stupid. The crowd obviously had some idea what was going on because of the abundance of pre-made signs showing their disgust at what was happening.

Fans are upset, so they throw debris onto the track. Good idea! Hey, let's not compete for the safety of everyone involved because our tires are bad, but then let's have an accident that kills someone because the morons in the stands are throwing crap on the track! Yeah! Good idea!

Jacques Villeneuve should leave the sport right now after that quote. To knowingly say you would have put your fellow drivers and competitors in danger is criminally stupid and unfathomable.

Quote:
This event already draws just a fraction of what other races here do. Less than 100,000 come to this race, compared to a crowd in excess of 300,000 for the Indianapolis 500.


This is simply misleading. The reason the F1 event only gets 100.000 people is that the track can't hold many more. The full oval is not used, only the front straight and part of the first short-shoot. Granted, this is where a majority of the seats are for the 500, but many many more are outside this area. Sure, you could offer tickets to the seats not by the track, but no one would take them.

The rest of the article is actually pretty factual, so I'll stop there. It just amazes me how sensationalistic journalists are some times and how low they'd stoop to make their point even if it means obscuring the facts.

KPRROK
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