JUNE 22, 2005
The fans respond, Part 2
We asked F1 fans for their opinions about what happened at Indianapolis. Here is what they think:
Initially I blamed Michelin, whom I, full of disgust over the past weekend, called a lot of names. They apologized and took all the blame, furthermore going to every extent in order to make the race possible. The FIA however, can expect the full rage from me and the F1 community. So many possibilities were available, even without someone loosing its face. Like, for example: let all the teams (including Bridgestone) change their tires or, let there be a chicane in turn 13 or, let the red-brigade start up front, together with the old-folks F1 cars or let them have a higher end score (add extra points for them). This brings me to the saddest company of the whole crisis: Ferrari. Once again they have shown that for them only points and money count. They have no respect for the F1 community at all. What a sad display. They had every opportunity to form a wall of teams against the FIA, but they didn't. Just like they didn't, when the prospect of a new series appeared. They were the first to sign the agreement with the "old" F1 bosses, herewith crippling the possibility for real competition. It's that same Ferrari that, in a sad display of dividing points, didn't let the fastest win in that same America in 2002. It might be time for the other teams to step away from this sad club and start something fresh, sportive, competitive and fun to watch. No Concorde Agreement, no FIA, no Ferrari, but fun!
Sjouke de Boer, Netherlands
As a fan that was fleeced out of several hundred dollars, not to mention a summer weekend, by Formula 1 at the USGP I can firmly say that my interest in F1 stops here. No more races, not even on TV. I do not give one damn about who controls this-or-that and whether Bernie or his old pal Max is in charge. The banks, the teams, the drivers, and the FIA can keep it all. What matters to me is a show. I never thought that I would hear myself say this, but NASCAR is better than F1 in every regard. As a life-long F1 fan just thinking that makes my skin crawl, but it is true. The drivers there have no driver's aids (to compensate for lack of ability), they must change gears, and the average race has about two dozen lead changes. I have not seen 24 on-track lead changes in F1 in the last 10 seasons combined. Add those factors with close racing and the fact that NASCAR drivers are forced to behave like real people, and you have a true crowd pleaser. Over the last few years, I was privileged enough to visit the F1 paddock as a team guest on several occasions. Do you know how many current drivers could be bothered to sign an autograph (if they stepped out of their trailers at all)? None, zero, not a one. I was however able to get photos and autographs from several ex-drivers (real stars like Jackie Stewart). The day that some little twerp that never won anything decided that he was too big to sign autographs for people that his own team invited, the sport died. Before the start of this year's Monaco GP, Speed TV in the US showed an in-car qualifying lap with Senna, what a driver! He had to steer, shift, brake and just generally hustle the car around the course without any electronic help. If any of the current group of prima donnas were forced to try that, they would run home crying. The thrill is gone, the sport is irrelevant and 19 weekends a year just opened up on my calendar.
Jim Koller, Naperville, Illinois
I am a long time fan of Formula 1 and have attended races in Europe, Canada and the US. I have long been aware of the petty gamesmanship which has taken place between the teams and the FIA, but on Sunday they sunk to an all time low. There has always been scant regard given to the wishes of the paying customers, but at Indy they thumbed their noses in our direction. First let me say that I totally support Michelin and the non-participating teams, safety should never be compromised, and if an accident had occurred because the teams were forced to race I would never watch another F1 race.
Second, I am appalled that any of the teams would use this debacle for advantage. Nine of the teams were in favor of compromise, but Ferrari was not. As Max Mosley has been so vocally in favor of increasing the safety of the drivers, this would appear a perfect situation to show his sincerity in protecting the drivers while having the added bonus of giving the fans the race they had paid for instead of a Ferrari practice session.
Max and Bernie have also expressed an interest in developing the US market, but in a single action they may have irretrievably destroyed any chance of that happening now. Many people were attending there first race and after traveling far and wide and paying large sums of money for travel, accommodation and the admission to the race they were treated to a farce. I suspect that is the last that F1 will see from many of those potential fans.
In my opinion, Max Mosley should step down from the FIA before he further destroys the credibility of the sport millions of us love. Under his leadership, I feel that any pretense that the FIA is an impartial body has vanished. I believe that he is determined to break the resolve of teams who dare to question his and Bernie Ecclestone's vision of the future of F1. It is embarrassing to see the ways in which they accommodate the wishes of the Ferrari team, who are firmly in their camp, but refuse to consider compromise when another team is involved. If nine of the ten teams agreed to the placement of a chicane on turn 13, why could Max not over-rule Ferrari for once and bring sanity to a difficult situation. I believe that Max Mosley, let his desire to back down the Michelin teams interfere with rational judgment. That is not the type of person that the FIA needs to chart its course for the future. I wish the FIA would listen to the fans for once and dump Max. We need someone to nurture F1 not treat if like his personal fiefdom.
Colin R. Nicol
F1 is critically damaged. No-one in F1 can claim to be pure or innocent over the ongoing saga that has slowely eroded fans confidence in our favourite sport. However, the FIA and Max Mosely must take the blame. Regardless of whether the suspicion of some of FIA bias to Ferrari, the fact is that such an atmosphere of distrust exists and is damaging the sport and as those supposedly in control of the sport the FIA must take responsibility. Putting aside for a moment the complete disaster of Indy, you have to wonder how we got into such a mess, when a team is banned (BAR) for running an illegal car and most peoples' thought is: "Is this an attack by the FIA on the manufacturers?".
Back to Indy. Michelin messed up big time. However for them to own up, suggests the seriousness of the situation. It is not something a world-wide supplier of tyres would admit to unless they really had to. The FIA point blank refused to compromise. Race with dangerous tyres, but don't race on one bit of the track. The FIA is charged with the overall safety of the event, but ignored serious safety advice from a major supplier. Do you think that Kimi/Fernado would have been able to tip-toe around the banking. Each would slowly increase speed, not wanting the other to gain a small disadvantage over the other. The end result would be a crash and possible injury.
I'm disgusted with the sport in general, but the sanctimous FIA is in charge and is not doing anything to lead or take control. The FIA is now summoning and will probably penalise the teams for taking safety more seriously than the organisation that should have it as it's number one concern. Politics, money and self-serving stupidity all came first at Indy.
The fans and the sport came last.
Max must go.
I've thought, for quite some time, that Mosley and Ecclestone need to call it a day with regards to F1. I recall not long ago, watching qualifying with cars making amazing attempts to get pole. I remember frantic pit stops with crews that made not just the preparation of the cars a team effort, but actually required team involvement to complete a race. Now, we watch single cars go out and turn laps in an order that makes it easier for the fastest to stay fastest. We see guys run out to the tires with gauges and really do nothing. We now have seen these rules come to a head, and ended up with a race (if you want to call it that) that needed not be run. Don't get me wrong, the tire manufacturers to have some responsibility in this, but my hat is off to Michelin for saying "this isn't safe", rather than taking a softer stance. It's obvious that their interest lies with driver safety along with fierce competition. That the FIA was willing to let this happen, with no desire to compromise, is a shame. From a pure racing standpoint, it was totally fair. Anybody that debates that is missing the point. Unfortunately, this isn't just about racing. This is about money. This is about spectators. Promoters and spectators invested a lot of money in a show, which they never got. There were ways to put on a show, but they were not able to compromise. A penalty for the Michelin runners? Sure. Telling them to go race around a track where the tire manufacturer has told them the tires will not last, insane. This is especially true after watching Ralf again this year hit the wall. This is what we believe WILL happen (not could happen, as it always could) and the FIA says "go race". Well, at least it's made the championship a lot more interesting with Ferrari tied for second in the Constructors' now. And the world champ in a solid third (I believe) might be a bit scary as well. In summary, there's a reason we all watched and loved qualifying. Isn't there a way to organize it so the teams can't have an extra quali car and keep a format that is more similar to what we used to have? Are the tires really that big of a deal to change? These are the ways that Mosley and Ecclestone have changed the sport, and I say, simply: "Get out".
Tom Butt, Colorado Springs, USA
I think this whole situation at Indy has been brewing for a while. The people who run Formula 1 haven't cared a bit about the fans, the drivers or the teams involved for decades now. The whole "cost-cutting" measures in place are simply to stifle the complaining from teams about needing a bigger cut of the financial pie to cover their expenses. As I see it, Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes-Benz et al are the ones generating the massive amounts of revenue coming into the sport, and the pigs at the trough are getting richer and richer off of it. Something like the disaster at Indy has been waiting in the wings for awhile, and now they got it. Yes, I am a Ferrari fan, but first and foremost I am a racing fan. I have always loved the technology and romance involved with Formula 1. It has always been the most elite of racing series, and should always be regarded as such. The technology is cutting edge, the drivers are the best in the world, and the venues are usually the most historic or the most exotic. Heaven forbid it is "expensive". It always has been expensive, and always will be. The effort to go faster is never cheap; not in sports, not in ocean sailing, not in space exploration. It wasn't too long ago they said that Indycars could never go more than 150 miles an hour; it was too fast, the drivers would get killed, they couldn't handle it. They said the same thing at 175 miles an hour, and again at 200. Now they've surpassed 250 miles an hour on several occasions, and yes, people have gotten hurt, and killed. That is the nature of the sport. It is a sport with immediate consequences for a mistake by the driver, a competitor, the team, or in recent cases, fans. I've really seen the "cost cutting" measures of the last few seasons as nothing more than a witch hunt to shut Ferrari out of the winner's circle. Too many people, in the sport and the media, have been declaring how horrible it is for one team to dominate.
Michelin screwed up badly by bringing the wrong tires to Indianapolis. They've only been coming to Indianapolis for 6 years now, and it's the only circuit with banking in any turn. You'd think someone would have thought to bring the right tire. Michelin should be held accountable for at least half the disaster, and half the refunds due the people who showed up for what was billed as a race. And FIA should pick up the other half for having their heads on backwards for the last 10 years. When this whole one weekend tire rule came about, I knew something of this nature, if not this magnitude, was going to happen. The one tire rule was a fiasco. For Michelin and the teams to say it's the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's responsibility to fix a track that was fine for five years overnight is absurd. And since the seven teams running Michelin tires all voted during the off season to have a one tire rule, they should be forced to sleep in the bed they made. And for Michelin to pick up their ball and go home was plain childish. Granted it was a safety issue, but it was no one's fault but their own to bring the wrong tire. What they should have done was publicly announce to the crowds what was going on, instead of letting people wonder why a circus broke out in the pit lanes. Again, they agreed to the rules, just as Bridgestone did, just as all the teams did. I think the old adage of "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" applies to racing, especially at such a high level. It is different now with stockholders and CEOs being keener about where money is spent, but racing is racing. If you want it cheap, go to the dirt tracks where the racing isn't as expensive. But regardless of what level racing you run, it's usually going to cost more money than what everyone else is spending to win. What Formula 1 needs to do to right this ship is to do anything that can make a car safer, faster, and more powerful. V-10's, V-12's, traction control, ride assist, height adjustment, tire pressure monitoring, GPS satellite tracking, I don't care; if it can make the racing more exciting, and the car faster and safer, do it. They should share the pie more equally. I don't mean dead last get's what first does, but people come to a race weekend in Italy to see Ferrari, Germany to see BMW and Mercedes-Benz, etc. At least 75% to 90% of all worldwide revenue should be shared with the teams, with first place getting 22%, second 18%, third 13%, fourth 8%, fifth 6%, and the bottom 5 teams each get 4%. The remaining 13% gets split, 3% goes to marketing/promotion and the rest goes to a reserve fund in case teams need financial assistance. The financial assistance can be voted to a team, with a maximum allotment of 30% of the previous year's balance going to any one team, and that team can not receive more than one allotment every 3 years. The financial assistance is not an emergency based requirement either. The team with the lowest amount of points from the previous year can apply for the assistance. In addition all teams will now be required at all venues to have meet-and-greet sessions. All team drivers, team managers, and team principals will be required to accommodate the fans only, not the media, for at least 2 hours a piece on race weekends. No one will be excluded, and the teams are required to make whatever provisions are necessary to ensure safety and order at these events. Fans will not be required to purchase tickets for the events, but must be ticket holders for the race weekend activities, and will be allowed one item per session to be signed. This has worked wonders for both NASCAR and IRL in the United States, and Formula 1 should do the same thing. In a sport where the cars are the main attraction, the drivers should be seen up close, and not only in a driver's suit and helmet as they are now. Most people wouldn't know an F1 driver if he walked up to them. All teams should also be required to bring either a fully working car from the previous season, or a mock up of the current car for fan's to see up close. The way most Formula 1 venues are now, you'd think the United States Air Force was entering a top secret project in the race. Fans need to be closer to the drivers and the cars to appreciate them. If teams are worried about spies taking pictures of this season's car, bring last year's.
Most of these ideas will never make it to reality. They are simply thoughts on what needs to be done to make Formula 1 a more enjoyable and enriching experience for those who go to the race, and more reason for those who've never been to a race to go. Sports in general, be it in the US or in Europe, have lost sight of the fact that the fan is who ultimately pays the bills. It is the fan buying the hats, shirts, toys, flags, posters and every other thing with a name on it to prove their loyalty. But when the sport turns on its fans, such as the National Hockey League has done in the US, the fans will turn, and not come back. Formula 1 has been losing fans for years, not because of Ferrari's dominance. McLaren was dominate in it's own right in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Williams was a demon itself in the early 1990s as well. Formula 1 has lost its fan base due to poor management, poor foresight, and a lack of willingness to concede on rule changes and monetary obligations to the teams who actually make the sport what it is. I've been watching racing for 26 years now. I've gone through the whole IRL/CART disaster, I've watched NASCAR bury itself in the last 4 years by doing away with everything that made it what it was. And I've been watching Formula 1 for almost a decade now do the same thing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. But unfortunately for Formula 1, it is seriously broken. And without a major shift in management, manufacturers and suppliers, Formula 1 will cease to exist when fans grow fed up with the whole thing, and walk away for good.
John Peacock, El Paso, Texas
I write as one of thousands of disappointed attendees of the 2005 United States Grand Prix. I am writing to ask the president of the governing body of Formula 1, why my reasonable expectation (after expending hundreds of dollars as well as my time and effort to attend this race) of seeing the United States Grand Prix was not fulfilled. Imagine if you can, attending your first Formula 1 race and watching to your dismay nearly every car pulling off the track. Two-thirds of the grid stood down and what could have been an exciting race in what has been one of the most exciting seasons in F1 became a farce that insulted everyone in those stands. Is this the memory of Formula 1 you want fans to carry away from Indianapolis?
Why was this not avoided? Why did you allow this to happen? Is the FIA such a myopic and impotent organization that you could not with your years of experience and knowledge anticipate such a situation or have a contingency plan available to avoid allowing the sport to fall into such disrepute. You, Mr. Mosley are where the proverbial buck stops. You are accountable as President of the FIA and as such I hold you responsible as much as anyone for what has happened this past weekend. You have an obligation to protect the sport. In this capacity you have failed utterly. Your brinkmanship and ego have created anarchy and brought the sport into disrepute. If you are unable to govern effectively and work with those competing in Formula 1 then do what is best for the sport and stand down. It's not only the sensible thing to do; it's the honorable thing.
Robert Huntley, Toronto, Canada
I agree that things are coming to a climax and it's none too soon. I've been getting a perverse sense of pleasure in all of this, because I believe that top line open wheel racing is quickly approaching a watershed moment. The majority of the teams do not like Max Mosley and the way the rules are being drawn up. One of the problems I see is that the teams are all "passive aggressive" in their approach. The FIA institutes a rule and they all nod their heads in unison, then start bitching to the media once they're out of the meeting. They're all afraid to take the ultimate stand, which is, "if these rules become reality we're leaving F1". None of the teams ever do this. So merry Max goes on his way. Honest to God, I sometimes think Mosely could force all of the teams to run on square tires. In reality, all of this started, when Ferrari started doing what they've never done before (in modern times), which is winning consistently. This upset the long standing status quo, which was McLaren and/or Williams winning (nearly) all of the time. That's when all of the conspiracy theorists went into overtime, imagining all sorts of nonsense. Now we're in a true crisis. What needs to happen is the FIA needs to ban Michelin with immediate effect. Michelin brought the sport into disrepute. Upon that, I'm sure some of the Michelin teams would opt for Bridgestones, while others would quit. It doesn't matter that the 2005 Championship would be in tatters. Who cares, the sport is in a fight for it's future. Then we would know exactly who is in what camp. It's high time that the "enemies of Mosley" put their money where their mouth is. It seems that we're indeed headed for a GPWC/F1 split. Whatever series has the better cars/tracks/drivers and regulations would be the one I'd be interested in.
Art Iverson, Michigan, USA
Michelin messed up and brought unsuitable tyres there is no question there. Commendably and with safety in mind they did the right thing in instructing their teams not to race and in seeking the FIA to compromise for the show to go on, to no avail. Ultimately the paying public got short-changed, and now for the FIA to summon the Michelin-shod runners to what is probably a kangaroo court in Paris is further fanning discontent in a sport so divided by politics its now impossible for us fans to see any real racing. The major problem you have is when a person charged with being impartial is on record as berating a team for "wasting money" on building a fancy HQ, the building that won two awards recently and the same individual presides over an organisation that seems to show bias toward a team for having a heritage in F1. All F1 teams have some form of heritage in the sport. In my view the person(s) who are/is supposed to face the music are clearly the rulemakers. F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of open wheel racing and for the FIA to say to the teams "go slowly at Turn 13" is perhaps irresponsible. How slow is slow in F1? What if a Bridgestone-shod runner ran smack into a "slow" Michelin runner at Turn 13? Is anyone in FIA or FOM willing to get on a plane with a pilot who has clearly told you he is going to crash? This is exactly what the summoned teams faced. Unless if someone was out to embarrass someone by telling them to pit every 10 laps or using the pitlane? The right decision was made by the teams on advice from their tyre supplier. What the FIA should focus on is not to meddle too much into the sport and not to take sides.Their mandate is to govern fairly. In all this politicking the paying public is disregarded. No sponsor nor any car would turn its wheels in anger if we did not view F1 on TV or paid at Grands Prix. Some people have clearly outlived their usefulness to F1 and should move on! Whichever way you look at it the FIA is in the dock. I hope for F1's sake the manufacturers can come up with an alternative to this joke we have now with or without Ferrari and/or Bernie. No-one should be bigger than the sport.
This weekend Michelin did what any competitor in any professional sport would do; they pushed themselves to the limit. It seems they overstepped the mark, something that all the constructors, engine suppliers and drivers do at every Grand Prix. It may even transpire there was nothing fundamentally wrong with their tyre as they can't even be 100% sure of what caused the failures until they have had time to analyse all the evidence, but that wasn't a risk they were prepared to take. The point is that while Michelin caused the problems it was in the FIA's hands to solve them. The proposals for a chicane put forward by Michelin and its teams were totally reasonable given the freak circumstances. The FIA's response was that to slow the Bridgestone runners as well would be unfair and against the rules. The team's suggestion that points only be awarded to the Bridgestone teams neatly solved this rule-breaking solution. But no, still the FIA resisted, apparently suggesting the both unfeasible and potentiallly dangerous solution of imposing a speed limit on the Michelin runners through the final turn! Clearly in this instance safety was at the forefront of Michelin's thinking. Rules could have been bent to accommodate the needs of everyone; the fans, IMS, the sponsors, the TV companies, the teams and Formula 1 itself. But the FIA refused, although I don't see how their own solutions fitted any of their own rules. Did I miss the rule about putting speed limits on corners of the race track itself? Is this catered for anywhere in the rules? I doubt it.
There have been a few precedents with regards to tyre failures disrupting races, particularly in NASCAR, but for me there are examples of rule 'bending' in F1 in the 1990s that are more apt to Sunday's bickering. How about when every team running driver aids was said to be contravening the rules in Canada 1993? Then everyone saw sense, raced on (for the whole season not just one race) and the rules were enforced and altered the following year instead. In Brazil 1995 when Elf made a mistake with the fuel the drivers and constructors points were seperated so as to allow the drivers championship (the main focus for the fans) to continue unimpeded, and rightly so. Surely there was nothing in the rules that allows the two championships to be separated in such a way? But it happened to safeguard the image of the sport. If the fans lose interest, so do the sponsors, so does the TV, and so do the manufacturers.
Despite what the FIA may say there have also been warning signs that such a situation with regards to tyres could arise and it failed to make a contingency in its own rules. Only a few years back the limits on the number of tyres led to talk of cars being unable to compete in wet conditions if they did not have suitable 'rubber'. This situation never materialised, but I remember thinking that such a scenario was entirely feasible in such weather conditions and I was shocked by the arrogance of the governing body as it dismissed such talk.
As much as I would hate to see another FISA/FOCA or CART/IRL war it now seems inevitable, and I hope the teams stand firm on this issue. After the mid-week headlines of rising TV viewing figures I dread to think how many people watched that fiasco unfold. I sincerely hope F1 survives this, its greatest challenge since 1994.
Phil Charnock, Southport, England.
In my opinion Mosley and Ecclestone definitely have to be removed from any involvement with F1 immediately.Their constant tinkering with the regulations has brought us to this situatuon with tyres. Having studied the draft for the 2008 regulations it seems that they want to return to a period in F1 racing that they remember from they younger days. As can be seen from the weekend's events, Ferrari could have made the gesture and approved the chicane but in the usual Ferrari attitude "if it does not affect us and means we will win" then tough on you. As much as F1 is the pinnacle of racing, one must be cognizant of the dangerous aspects that are always present. To compromise safety to appease Max Mosley is not what I call responsible.
It is very difficult to lay blame without all the facts. I do wish to mention all the things that went wrong and hopefully someone on the other end will get the picture and do something to fix it. First, for all the people who paid money to travel from places as far as Colombia and India (not just District of Columbia and Indiana), it is really unfortunate that they were forced to pay for 3 or 4 nights in a hotel to watch a tire test take place, on top of their tickets, and other such items that can never be refunded. I don't think these people are owed a refund, but rather a very honest answer as to what exactly happened.
Second, do the race teams realize that the only reason they have a job is because people are willing to pay to watch them race? If they don't race one week, do they not realize, do they not realize that people will not pay to watch them the following 50 weeks?
As for the main sponsor who seems to be getting a lot of the blame, I wish for them to know that I recently purchased their equipment for my vehicle, for the first time. From now on, unless I get an honest answer, I will not be buying their equipment. See, your sponsorship is a two-way street. If you pull silly tricks like that, you will get out of it what you put into it.
Finally, but not least, I want to know why McLaren and Renault did not at least send the cars out for 5 laps and then over-rev the engines for a nice end to the week. At least someone would have "raced" and got points for seventh and eighth places.
If Michelin had brought appropriate tyres in the first place, the race would have run, unaffected. If a tyre company isn't capable of producing a tyre suitable for an F1 Grand Prix, it should not be permitted to supply F1 cars with tyres.
Helen Rist, Norway
If we assume for the moment that the FIA is not involved in some vast conspiracy to humiliate the major manufacturers and drive them from F1, then it certainly demonstrated once again its utter incompetance. Whilst I believe the FIA was right to reject the suggestion of a chicane - this would have severely and unfairly affected the Bridgestone runners - they completely failed to take the lead and offer some sensible and effective compromise. To suggest to the teams that they voluntarily slow their cars through Turn 13 suggests they've never actually watched a motor-race before. Slow the cars by how much? Will the drivers be able to judge whether they're slowing sufficient to the needs of safety? Will all the drivers slow by the same amount? Will they slow the car if about to overtake or be overtaken? Racing drivers are not going to simply stop racing when wheel to wheel and unsure where the 'slow area' begins and ends or whether the competition are playing fair. And how could the FIA possibly suggest this would be safe practice? They offered to help by monitoring speeds and penalising infringements. Not much use to tell the driver he went too fast after his tyre has blown and he's hit the wall. As the aim is to heavily penalise the Michelin teams whilst still guaranteeing a wonderful spectacle, there are two easy ways to achieve this.: allow the teams to run the Barcelona spec tyres then deduct points from Michelin teams who attain a scoring position. A maximum deduction of 5 points would ensure the first three places were still worth fighting for, for all three teams, and as the cars would be poorly set-up for Indianapolis, hand a large advantage to Bridgestone runners. An alternative would have been to have the Michelin teams start the race on the faulty tyres, but impose a mandatory pit-stop for all cars within the first three laps where the tyres will be changed to the safe ones. No refuelling allowed, effectively giving the Bridgestone runners a 30 second or so head start. Why did the FIA not impose somthing along these lines? The severity of the handicap would most likely have handed victory to Ferrari or at least seen them coming away with the most points, whilst still guaranteeing good racing between the other teams. Their job is to punish Michelin, not the spectators. Comments about Michelin bringing a "qualifying tyre" are ludicrous. Michelin is easily winning this year's tyre war and had no need to squander a whole race full of points. Michelin made a mistake - easily done on a new high-grip surface of which, unlike Bridgestone with their presence in Indy racing, they had no prior data. Financial compensation should certainly be offered by Michelin, but it is at the FIA where the heads should roll. Time for Mosley et al to go!
During the USGP on Sunday, I was really upset that the FIA would not accept the chicane compromise set forth by Michelin. But, after a "cool down period", and after looking at the responses from all concerned, i.e. Michelin, the FIA, the 7 teams and Ferrari I have to say, for this one time, that the FIA was right. The proposed compromise set forth by the FIA on Sunday morning, did not seem to be that ridiculous. If a car cannot go at 340kph safely, then it shouldn't, plain and simple. Why didn't the seven teams agree to this? Because the three other teams could. Bridgestone did their job, Michelin really, really didn't do theirs. In Canada, Takuma Sato came back on the track after a 40 minute pit stop, why? To get a better grid position for the next race. Then, why did all the Michelin teams refuse to race, even at a slower pace? The blame, then, falls solely on the part of the seven teams and Michelin. They could of raced, but they decided: "If we can't go as fast as Ferrari, or we need to pit more than Ferrari, then we won't race." Unfortunately, most media are going to be blaming the FIA, since it's been the bad guy for so long. And I've always hated the FIA. But, for this one time, the FIA was right. The seven teams acted like cry babies, (including my favorite team), the chicane was not the only option, just the one the Michelin teams wanted.
Marc Lajoie, Montreal, Canada
I believe that all parties involved in F1 - from Bernie, the FIA, Michelin, and all the teams (including Ferrari) - are responsible for the debacle that resulted in the farce at Indy. The politics and ludicrous rules which dominate F1 have ruined and taken away all sporting aspects. F1 has been turned into a business comprised of smaller businesses all of which are pursuing success at all costs, up to and including the elimination of ethics. I have seen many questionable decisions made in the world of F1 since I became a fan in the 1950s. None, until now, has made me so disgusted that I turned away from the sport. I am turning away from F1 now. I will be perfectly content to spend my money supporting the IRL, Champ Car, NASCAR and other series which are more appreciative of my support. F1 has shown that the fans are either at the bottom of their list of priorities or not on the list at all.
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