The fans respond, Part 8

United States GP 2005

United States GP 2005 

 © The Cahier Archive

We asked F1 fans for their opinions about what happened at Indianapolis. Here is what they think:

I am grossly disappointed by the behaviour of Ferrari though this whole affair. Having been a fan of Ferrari since the Seventies, I am watching the demise of the greatest motor racing team of all time into an empty shell that no longer understands the meaning of the word "sport". This hurts. From behaviour on the track through to becoming a political organization rather than a racing team I am sure Enzo Ferrari is turning in his grave. Yes, Ferrari was a very hard nosed businessman in his day, alongside that, he was also a sportsman and he had a fundamental understanding of right and wrong. For some time, I have felt that Ferrari have been betting on the wrong horse. Sundays "one (or two) horse race" proved the point. Ferrari can not be Formula 1 on their own. My feeling is that, Formula 1 passed away last weekend in Indianapolis. I sent a fax to the FIA on Monday morning offering my condolences. In my eyes, there is only one solution to the situation that reached a head over the weekend. In the interest of the sport Ecclestone and Mosley must go.

Pete Jones, The Netherlands

I think that this sport belongs to the spectators and that the teams, their members and the FIA are lucky enough to be able to make vast fortunes out of our desire to follow them and their sponsors' efforts around the world. Michelin had a problem, it was everybody's responsibility (from Bernie, Jean Todt, Michelin, Christian Horner and all the rest) to find a solution which showed respect for us, the ultimate paymasters. They did not and the person most responsible for that failure was Max Mosley. Having heard his pathetic legally-based 'jargonic' argument on the Today Programme, I am so pleased to have said in the FIA survey that I thought that F1 is badly run. It is. He should be the first person hauled up in front of the FIA World Motor Sport Council. To be sacked. He failed us and and our sport and should not get away with it.

Mark Kernick, Oundle, Great Britain

We, the F1 fans, are tired of the FIA and its double standards. We see increased performance defined as a safety issue used to force through new rules, yet when a real safety issue occurs it's a "performance problem". We see the rule for "two specifications of dry-weather tyre" redefined as being "one an on-the-limit potential race winner, the other a back-up which, although slower, is absolutely reliable." We see them lambasting Michelin for bringing "inferior equipment" and refusing to compromise because it would have "handicapped the Bridgestone runners" yet remember when the boot was on the other foot in Brazil 2003 a compromise was reached to the detriment of the Michelin runners. We want to see the racing make the news not the FIA. We want, we need, change in the FIA.

Stephen Carpenter

To all who were involved in the Indy decision making process: stop arguing who is at fault. It is clear that you blame the other party, and the other party blames you. The problem is that there is an other party. The lack of unity is to blame, which makes all of you responsible. Sunday's crisis was a worst-case scenario. How could you opt for that? You were backstabbing the thousands of fans at Indy and millions at home. The disappointment around the world is terrible, as these political games have happened far too often lately. F1 means racing and excitement, not money, politics, power, status and certainly not the selflessness so many people have displayed in the past weekend and the past years. You are losing touch with reality and the F1 fans. Wake up! No more! Stop blaming, blackmailing, backstabbing and betraying! Start caring about the only thing that should matter to you: a good show for the fans!

Jonne Vink, The Netherlands

I suspect that, like most F1 spectators, I have a very simple view of the world meaning: I want see motor racing of the highest calibre in terms of drivers, cars and circuits. I do not want to see, hear or watch lawyers and accountants interferring with the racing. In answer to your question "So what is in the best interest of the sport? Is it best that the teams pack up and leave or that Mosley moves on?", my answer is get rid of the lawyer and replace him with someone who loves F1, has the passion of a F1 fan and wants to see the best motor racing show every two weeks. Mosley leaves, teams stay!

John Morris, Waalre, Netherlands

I enjoy Formula 1. The technology in the machines is amazing. The team strategies are intriguing. However, unless the politics is removed from the sport, I will no longer follow it. The concern for safety should always be paramount - for the drivers and as well as the fans. Max Mosley should have been conciliatory in the situation at Indianapolis. Rules should be secondary to the show. Several solutions were put forth. It seems that Mosley stuck to the rules and rejected all of them, ignoring the fact that the sport exists primarily as entertainment for the fans. Mosley should have found a solution to the problem and we should have had a proper race. Shame on him.

Frank Lazzara, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

I was at the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis this past Sunday. My emotions quickly moved from disbelief, to anger, to apathetic numbness. Still, I have been a Formula 1 fan for over 35 years and, if there was a race tomorrow, I wouldn't hesitate to purchase a ticket. My earliest heros were Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, and Chris Amon. In my youth, my father took me each year to Watkins Glen for the Grand Prix. This debacle is not going to chase me away: I understand the political throes F1 is in at the moment; I understand that this was not just about tires. However, unfortunately, the bulk of the local central Indiana attendees have only recently discovered Formula 1. Those are the people who will scream the loudest and most likely cast off all interest of ever attending another Grand Prix. In Indianapolis the locals - both the fans and the press - are most critical of Michelin. For me though, I am upset at FIA, and to a lesser extent Ferrari. Granted, Michelin unintentionally screwed up on choosing tires. Still, isn't comprise for the good of the community, for the good of the fans, worth the effort? Should any rule be so absolute that it can't bend when necessary? One of the reason NASCAR has been so successful here in the states is the ability of the governing body to react quickly when problems arise. Absolutism is a product of arrogance, whether it be in politics or sport. I would vote to encourage Mosley to move on. Finally, how can Formula 1 rekindle interest here in the states? Other than providing more parity amongst teams, all the other suggestions would fall within FOM's realm of operation. First, in the US loosen the leash on media coverage. Why are there so few fans in the United States? The media control is so incredibly tight that one must make an effort to follow the circuit. In Indianapolis for instance, local news stations are not allowed access; local photographers are severely limited in number. Also, get the drivers in front of the national media - at least a bit. The so-called television coverage is horrible; why would any casual fan want to get up at 06:00 on a Sunday morning to watch such a lousy feed? Finally, please muzzle Bernie. His arrogant, dismissive comments about Danica Patrick which were published in the newspaper the morning of the US Grand Prix further added salt to the wound. In the newspaper the day before he criticized the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's marketing of the Grand Prix.

Kristin Enzor, Indianapolis, Indiana

I dont know why you are protecting the real culprit in this debacle, Michelin. The unarguable facts are that Michelin did not supply a tyre strong enough to safely complete the race.Bridgestone did. The consequences that flowed from Michelins stuff up are Michelins responsibility. Why is everyone tip-toeing around this truth?

Steve Hinwood, Australia

I feel really strongly that Max Mosley should be made to walk the plank over this one. He made the new tyre rules and he didn't do anything when those rules lead to problems with Kimi Raikkonen at the Nurburgring - apart from very smartly deflect reponsibility onto the tyre companies. In 10 years of being obsessed with F1 I can't remember an occassion when he did take responsibility for anything. The man seems pathologically inflexible and intent upon bending powerful institutions to his will. Fine, if that's what gets you off, but can you do it in your own time and not ruin the sport I love as an unfortunate consequence? His leadership has looked shaky for a while, and this is the last straw. Right or wrong, he should resign, some big bod's head needs to roll for the Americans to believe F1 is really sorry for what happened at Indianapolis.

Andrew Peace, London, England

I stopped going to the race at Indy after MS allowed RB to pass him at the finish line in 2003. In my view that was enough to make the race a sham. I have missed going to the race the last two years but probably would have been back in 2006. This is no longer the case, after what happened yesterday I will never attend another Grand Prix. It is bad enough that I have to pay for the privilege of watching the race on TV. All of the teams (except Ferrari) are to blame. The fact that the Michelin teams took the formation lap ensured that the contractual agreements had been satisfied. This could not have been done with out the help of the Michelin teams. This "sport" is only about money and Bernie got his, that is clear. I feel like almost everyone involved in F1 said screw you to the American public. We are after all only a bunch of hicks and Hoosiers in their mind. Tony George is no fool, so if the royalty of F1 thinks he is going to take this laying down they are sadly mistaken.

John E. Dornacher, Burlington, Wisconsin, USA

I would like to see Max Mosley sacked. I also am suspicious of Bernie Ecclestone. I hope like hell the GPWC goes ahead and this crap is over one day.

Yagan Bibby

It seems to me that the teams are F1. They should all pull out of FIA, and form their own F1 organization, run by the teams in the best interest of their worldwide fan base. Their interests and the fans' interests are clearly aligned, while in the current environment, it seems that all interests are simply self-interest and aggrandisement. Pull the plug on the self-inflated egos of those currently in charge: Sunday they proved their absolute incompetence. Let them eat cake.

Bob Anderson

The technology of Formula One cars, the ingenuity of the teams and the courage of the drivers continues to amaze and compel. Formula 1's governing institutions, however, are fractious, over-regulated, uncompetitive, self-dealing, governed by elite insiders and unaccountable to the public. Consent of the governed is the sole source of legitimate authority. If nine teams decline to follow the leadership of the FIA on rules and regulations, that fact alone is evidence that the FIA has lost its legitimacy and must be reformed or replaced.

Thomas Dinsmore, Newton, Massachusetts, USA

I was shocked and dismayed to see the lengths the FIA were willing to go to simply to prove a point - that they have control of Formula 1. If ever there was an opportunity for a governing body to show its ability to manage a bad situation (primarily of its own creation I might add) the weekend at Indianapolis was it. And it failed monumentally. If the FIA delegates were unwilling or unable to encourage Max Mosley to find a compromise that did not reduce safety, that would suggest that they were in agreement with him. If this is the case then any replacement for Max Mosley is likely to share the same ideas about where the sport should be heading and we, the fans, can expect more of the same. The FIA dealt itself a massive blow on the weekend, and it would seem the time is right for the GPWC and the Manufacturers to strike out on their own. A complete seperation from the existing governing body is the only way the pinnacle of motorsport can remain so.

Ryan Boyes

It is truly sad that one of the finest sports on the planet has been reduced to a rolling farce. What occured yesterday was one of the finest displays of the FIA and Max Mosley's inability to manage F1 I have ever had the shame to winess. I took part in the FIA survey as a twenty year fan of Formula 1. I did not feel that it was anything more than Max patronizing the fan base. As an American who detests NASCAR for its go fast turn left (all the while changing rules on a whim) outdated technical product. I have to say that this would never ever happened at a Nextel Cup event. The reason? The fans come first! I support Michelin and their teams for withdrawing on the grounds of safety. I watched live 11 years ago as my hero Ayrton Senna died at Imola. I have seen F1 come a long way in that time. Why is it that the teams must be willing to compromise but the FIA does not? I will always be a fan of F1. But I will pay to see MotoGP at Laguna Seca. Thank You Max, for making F1 as popular as the National Hockey League in America. Enjoy the view on your high horse, just don't fall off. It's a long way down to where the fans and the rest of the world now dwell.

Christopher Hatch, Scottsdale, AZ

In my opinion it is Mr. Mosley that has to move on. F1 can do without Mr. Mosley, but cannot do without the teams. If the teams leave, they will form their own show, which would be OK, and Mr. Mosley and Ecclestone would have to repopulate the F1 series with new teams. In the latter case, the new teams would still be faced with a meddling management, so no real improvement will be forthcoming there. F1 is about the cars, the drivers, and the teams they belong to not about the FIA. Let's put the emphasis where it belongs.

Tom Cosgrove, Atlanta, Georgia

If you listened to the interviews with the Michelin representatives, the ex F1 pilot Martin Brundle and others, the suspected problem with the Michelin tyres was in the carcass construction of all their tyres, including all those so called alternative tyres at the Michelin factory. So contrary to the nonsense spewed out by the useless dinosaurs, Max Mosley and the FIA, the teams could not have trusted any tyre to last a single lap without a chicane to slow the cars on entry to the banking. Unlike Michelin, Bridgestone had data from the new surface installed on the banking from the the American series that race at Indy. As there are no tests conducted at this circuit would the FIA rather have a few deaths during the race? Perhaps that will raise the viewing figures. Let's be serious how can you expect a racer in the heat of the moment to remember to go half speed around a bend whilst being passed by inferior cars? After the treatment of BAR following the supposed cheating that in the races prior to the ban was passed by the FIA scrutineering on no less than two separate occasions and the designs submitted at the beginning of the season. The constant fiddling with the rules increasing the danger to the drivers and spectators etc, after never missing a race in the last 17 years, has left me seriously looking for other entertainment. Come on, manufacturers hurry up the breakaway series. Let's see F1 survive that!

Mark Brimson

In common with around 300,000 other people I had just finished attending and enjoying an epic 24 Hours at Le Mans, which had everything motor racing at its best can offer, when we all retreated to a friend's house to have a shower, settle back with a drink and watch the French television service's coverage of Indy GP. As the French speaker, I was to translate the commentary. What I got to translate from the newsreader and programme announcer was: "We will now show you what has happened at Indianapolis at the end of the warm up lap. {Shots of teams peeling back into the pits plus brief explanation} "As a result TF1 (France's main channel) has decided not to show this sporting farce, but will instead show you a film". That was the end of a three-minute F1 broadcast. Jaws dropped open among the collected motorsports media in France. That a major European station's duty senior director was able to make this decision tells us all we need to know about the state of F1 - the only people laughing were the ACO in France, and the France family in Daytona Beach - their victory is now secure. Short-sighted? Insular? Unable to agree on anything? Or sensible actions in the most litigious society the world has ever seen, where a tyre-punctured car in the crowd defies imagination? In the end, we need now never worry about the strength of the US market again, because as they say in the US, "Stick a fork in US F1, it's done."

Christopher Tate

I was one of the fans who filled in the FIA's online survey. I would never have done it had I known that I was unknowingly becoming an accomplice for the FIA. Once I finished the survey, I was left with a distinct feeling that the FIA had already decided what answers they wanted and had therefore constructed the questions to get the results. I am also appalled that F1 Racing magazine was complicit to it too, and that AMD (a Ferrari sponsor) would be involved. It was the FIA's survey that gave me a distinct impression of the showdown that we have just witnessed. I expect that the situation will get worse before it gets better and in the meantime, the fans are going to be subjected to more displays of arrogance, contempt and immaturity from all parties. I have always had respect for Max Mosley and have valued, but not always agreed to, his point of view. Similarly, I have admired each and every team for their passion and drive. However, in this instance Max allowed politics and power to eclipse the sport and he overstepped the line. I only wish that he would have the guts and the maturity to call an F1 Commission meeting and face a vote of confidence. I hardly slept last night - Indianapolis totally occupied my mind. My thoughts have gone from confusion to bemusement to outrage to helplessness. Whilst I agree that Michelin created the problem in the first place, I give them credit for accepting that they had made a mistake and proposing corrective actions. None of their solutions would have diminished the spectacle. Thus, I can only conclude that at the end of the day the FIA must take full responsibility for what happened, with Bernie and Ferrari standing in the dock as co-conspirators. But everyone was to blame. As the governing body, the FIA eclipsed the line between the sport and politics and decided to use the event to show who was boss. Ferrari are culpable for between the lone standout team to refuse Michelin's proposed chicane, although I can understand their point that it wasn't their issue - but they are guilty of putting their own interests ahead of the sport. Bernie tried hard to solve the situation, so credit where credit is due, but at the end of the day he went as far as ensuring that his contractual obligation was fulfilled (to deliver a grid of 20 cars - that is why they all went out for the parade lap, I assume) and then wiped his hands of it and left the circuit. Minardi and Jordon should be ashamed of themselves for standing with the Michelin teams in demanding that they would not race unless there was a chicane; and then showing they were utterly spineless when faced with the potential of scoring points. And the seven Michelin teams are guilty of an utter disregard for the paying public and TV viewers. They turned a political game into a farce and a fiasco. Knowing the FIA, they will charge all the teams with bringing the sport into disrepute in another escalation of the war. But the FIA should seriously ask themselves whether they are the correct authority to police a sport when they are so uncompromising and political. I feel pity for Tony George. He paid Bernie more than he took in ticket sales and got a slap in the face for his dedication and effort. I hope Bernie gives Tony a refund and all promoters insist that their contracts contain clauses with clearer language on what constitutes a grid. But most of all, I feel utter personal helplessness with the situation. How on earth do you show your dissatisfaction for what happened other than writing a letter to the media? If you don't bother going to another race it doesn't affect the teams, the FIA or Bernie because Bernie gets paid in advance and subsequently pays the teams. So a boycott of races only hurts the promoters, who already get the short end of the stick. You can't hurt the FIA because they have a history of not listening to anyone anyway. You can't hurt the teams because their primary sponsors sell products I don't use - cigarettes. So Joe Public simply has nothing to do other than accept the disaster that is occurring to his favourite sport. The only thing I can think of that will have any influence on what happened is if the sponsors sue the teams, the Speedway sues Bernie, the TV companies sue Bernie, the teams get sanctioned by the FIA, Bernie sues the teams, Max Mosley is subjected to a vote of confidence, the FIA lose their sporting authority over motorsport, etc. But some of those actions will only make the situation worse. So, I just don't know what I want to see happen.

This year was the only year that I did not go to Indianapolis. I am totally relieved that I decided not to go. Had I been there, it would have taken all my willpower to not interfere with what transpired. I am shocked that the crowd was so accepting of the situation. If I had gone, it would have cost me $320 for tickets, $800 for flights, $1500 for hotels and $150 for a hire car. I would have been beside myself with anger. Had I known what was about to happen after the parade lap, I think I would have arranged for every bottle of water in the grandstand to have been dumped on the track one minute prior to the start. No one would have been hurt but at least the fans would have been able to show their dissatisfaction with the powers that be.

Mark Jarvis, USA

I think that Max Mosley is absolutely right in his interpretation of the rules. The problem is that the event was promoted as a competition; if the FIA solution was taken, we still would have had a farce as the other teams would not be competing but making an appearance. I applaud Michelin's honesty in letting everyone know that they had messed up, I don't think you can hold them to account for what happened after, as the next time this happens a tyre company may not be as forth coming and put the drivers at risk. In the event that something like this happens again I think that the teams should be allowed to make a decision based on a majority vote, this way there will always be losers amongst the teams but not in the stands and the viewing public. The problem with the US Grand Prix was that there was not a race of any kind, nobody really won, nobody wanted to take responsibility, all in all everyone in F1 was right in their interpretation of events, except nobody looked across the fence and said what is right for the people that paid to watch. As I learned years ago, the customer is always right! If we are going to call Formula 1 a sport, I think that all involved in Formula 1 should come to agreement what a sportsman should be. Max Mosley needs to understand that he works for Formula 1 and the Formula 1 fans, that who without there would be nothing to interpret. The order of business should always be driver's safety, the show, and then the politics. Formula 1 needs to uncomplicated it's self get off the sterile corporate image and have fun, how did everything get so out of control with a group that spends so much time, energy and money controlling a 200 mph car. Get over yourselves.

John Harris, Coral Gables, Florida, USA

Safety is the most important factor in any auto racing, therefore, all teams, including Bridgestone should have been allowed to run new tires for the race. Bottom line, Mosley should move on.

Mel Scott, Vista, California, USA

When all is said and done, this is a safety issue - if it was me operating a piece of machinery that had an unsafe component, I would except the manufacturers advice and not use it. Why is F1 any different! Here at work we have a rule, "Safety is not negotiable" and we are not putting ourselves into a car travelling 300km+. I have also been told that Bridgestone had advanced warning of the track surface problems and therefore had a suitable tyre for the race. They also experienced similar problems to the Michelin tyre failures, except a month and half ago during the practice for the Indy 500, and because they had a month to sort it out before the Indy 500 they had a tyre that was safe. So should the question be, if Bridgestone knew of this problem are they not at fault also for not letting Michelin or the FIA know about the wear issue? Or is this the only way they felt they could get a competitive advantage over Michelin in one race this year? Finally the solution, it was obvious very early on that their was going to be a problem, and the FIA didn't believe Michelin would be brave enough to issue a do not use warning for their tyres. So why not put the Bridgestone tyres onto the Michelin cars, we would have had a race, and a very interesting competition. The penalty would have gone to Michelin as loss of face, while the Michelin teams would have suffered because of restricted practice time and running an unfamiliar tyre.

Craig Taylor, Sydney Australia

In the USA a business has to bear the financial responsibility for lack of performance. Michelin needs to apologize, repent and perform penance. Michelin must be required to make an apologetic commercial with the Michelin man as spokesman. They should pay up with a refund to the grandstand fans, pay damages to Tony George for this year's debacle and for his losses for next year, on top of paying for Indy's USGP costs next year. Michelin must pay whatever the cost for F1 to regain its status.

Mike Regan, USA

F1 finally has the media attention in the USA that have been craving for years. Unfortunately it is of the FIA extending it's middle finger to the world's biggest, most profitable car market. First off it is important to note that Michelin made a huge mistake and the FIA has every right to impose some king of penalty or fine. However, Michelin was the first to admit as much and throw itself on the carpet, and at the mercy of the FIA. They acted with complete honor in the face of an unmitigated disaster and held to their principle not to have teams race on rubber they could not deem as safe. How admitting your mistake, and trying to come up with an acceptable solution brings the sport in to disrepute I will never know. The seven Michelin shod teams were in a complete Catch 22 situation. Race, and risk a catastrophic tire failure, or don't, and look like fools in front VIPs, fans and sponsors pouring millions into their sport. Apparently these seven teams have brought the sport into disrepute because they chose Michelin as their tire supplier. All of this brings us to the true criminals in this affair that deserve a Donald Trump-like execution ("Your're fired!) for their actions. First up is Charlie Whiting F1 race director . For someone whose supposed focus is on safety to basically dare seven of his teams to race on defective rubber is grounds for immediate termination. And his statement that the 14 Michelin race car drivers could simply lift off in Turn 13 to keep their tires safe gets my vote for moronic thought of the year. While I'm at it, Charlie's suggestion that Michelin shod teams change tires every 10 laps would not have made the race any less of a farce then it turned out to be. Next up is Max Mosley, FIA head honcho, auto saftey crusader, the man who brought grooved tires to F1, and made races into high priced version of follow the leader. Max will surely use Michelin's difficulties as an axe to get the one tire supplier he has been ranting about. All this is well and good except for wasn't it Max who let two tire supplier's in to begin with. Max, your fired. Now we come to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone who has decided that now is a good time to play the tottering old man who has lost control of his baby. That is until you notice that by getting all of the teams on the grid, and rolling off for the parade lap, Bernie was able to collect his full sanction fee. However I hold my utmost scorn for Ferrari for their complete lack of sportsmanship that has become the trademark of the Todt/Shumacher era. These guys are greedy pigs who will take points and victories any way they can get and then act like they were entitled to them all along. A chicane could have been put in place if the boys in red had gone along. I was incredulous when Michael said that a chicane wouldn't be fair to the Bridgestone teams. To think that 20 of the best drivers in the world could not have handled one chicane thrown up at the last minute is a joke on us all. As is Michael's and Ferrari's sudden interest in fairness. Shame on you Ferrari, your have left a permanent black mark on your reputation.

Joshua Weiss, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Jean Todt is the problem. He only acts and thinks in a way that gives him (so in this case Ferrari) the most benefit. I've been smiling a season because his ego finally left him and Ferrari as the only Bridgestone-developer because the other teams ran to Michelin. It was great to see them go so slow. But now this. A nightmare come true. F1 was running straight towards this kind of mess and couldn't turn left or right. They were all pulling on the steering wheel and this is what they got. Still though, it's all about Todt who prohibited a solution because "it was not there problem". Well, Mr Todt, let's make it your problem. Ferrari has damaged Formula 1 with the big spending spree and all the no limit testing but this is the ultimate job. Ferrari screwed up in America in 2002 and now they did it again for their own interest. They should have agreed to a compromise for the sake of F1. That's what went wrong. Ferrari thinks that Formula 1 is nowhere without Ferrari, but where would Ferrari be without Formula 1?

Timo Stek

I am a big fan of F1 and was present in Montreal two weeks ago where once again I experienced the incredible thrilling atmosphere that F1 can be. And as usual I was glued to the TV this past weekend to watch the US GP and the incredible despicable events that unfolded before the eyes of millions of fans all over the world. I believe the full blame for this debacle should rest at the feet of Michelin. Not the teams, not the organizers, not the FIA. How come a reputable firm like Michelin screw-up, like novices, with a less than substandard product? It is their fault and nobody else's. In the real world when a company furnishes a client with a defective product, one thing for sure will happen: it has to take full responsibility for their product. I am of the opinion that Michelin should take a step forward and apologise to everybody involved and maybe then F1 can at least move past this debacle.

Rafael Gonzalez, El Salvador

Without the teams, there is no Formula 1. Without Mosley, well, there would be someone to take his place. Sometimes a change of management is good. The bottom line in Mosley's statement is that the Michelin teams withdrew for performance reasons. If that were in fact the case, I would side with Mosley because that would be ludicrous and completely unacceptable. But this was a "safety" issue. While safety may be considered a subcategory of performance it is certainly not of the same category of importance. His assertion that the Michelin teams just run at a reduced pace through T13 was ludicrous for (at least) three reasons. The U.S. fans would have still considered the race a farce; Michelin couldn't provide the data to determine what a safe speed actually was; Racing drivers (I am one) race with little thought to the myriad of disastrous potential outcomes of mechanical and/or human failures. The concept of a "speed limit" on a racetrack is completely incomprehensible to any racing driver I know and most of the fans as well. In my opinion, the offer from the Michelin teams to start at the back of the grid and race for no points if a chicane was installed was more than enough compromise to ensure that a good show was provided to the ticket holders and worldwide audience. Mosley's flat out refusal to compromise in this situation lays the blame squarely in his lap. He should accept the responsibility for this fiasco, resign, or both.

James Offutt, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

It is neither fair nor correct by the facts to blame Mosley for the Indianapolis disaster. Neither can the teams be blamed. Mosley did what he had to d, going by the rules. The teams did what they thought they had to do, not to race because of Michelin's request. The only one to blame is Michelin. Michelin equiped their teams with a tire unsafe to use. Michelin failed to supply their teams with a back-up tire. Suggesting building a chicane in the last moment was a silly suggestion. As dangerous as driving Turn 13 with the Michelin tires. What I personally do not believe is that Michelin flies in a whole bunch of back-up tires for sven teams from France, only for to state that those tires are as unsafe and useless as the first ones.

If that is really the case, Michelin should seek an entire new leadership board. Formula 1 is all about winning And winning makes publicity - publicity makes money. Michelin recognised that they can not win this race with the tires they brought in. Slowing down in Turn 13 was not an option. Driving through the pit lane was not an option. So what? They also recognised that their back-up tire can not win that race, as the Michelin teams will creep behind the Bridgestone teams. The US is the most important market for Michelin. They simply did not want such a negative publicity where a Bridgestone car is lapping all Michelin teams. So they made a bad decision even worse. And yes the paying fan is second in such a decision. Blame on Michelin and not on Mosley. When J.M.Balestre was president the FIA was by no means better organized or had a better reputation. That certain manufacturers are not satisfied with the redistribution of the earned money is fully understandable. They are investing millions to run a good show and it is only fair to let them participate better in the distribution of that cake. Mosley is going into the right direction with FIA's suggestions for 2008.

Frank & Tina Hertel, Port Camargue, France

I am a Ferrari fan. I am also a Schumacher fan. What people tend to forget though is that this does not override a passion for the sport in which they take part. The regulations that govern the sport have too often been changed to create a false sense of competition when one team has dominated. This alone is strange, because the rules to most other sports have remained unchanged regardless of any one team's domination. Too often have the regulations that govern the sport been made in a knee-jerk reaction, and the one tyre rule is an obvious example of such a regulation. Any good regulation has space for any eventuality to occur and be dealt with in such way as to accommodate competitors and viewers alike. The very nature of the one tyre rule is ludicrous in that it is absolute. This is the cause behind Indy's farce. A F1 car afraid to go fast through the banking for safety reasons? What about Kimi Raikkonen's suspension failure as a result of a flat spot at Nurburgring? If he was able to change a tyre without threat of exclusion, I'm sure his tyre never would have gotten into that state in the first place. Safety!?! He very nearly took Jenson Button with him. To see what is supposed to be the pinnacle of engineering, i.e. a formula one car, limping around a race track 6 seconds a lap slower than the leaders, as Alonso and Fisichella were forced to do at Monaco, was a travesty of all that is Formula 1. To see Rubens Barrichello retiring at Malaysia simply because there was too little grip to continue safely was proof of a stupid rule that ironically was introduced to improve safety, competition, and viewership figures. I understand that my team can't always win, in fact I'm glad that they don't, otherwise there wouldn't be much to watch. But surely we want a genuine reflection of who is and isn't a good team? Who is and isn't doing a good job? Surely even non-Ferrari supporters take issue with the reigning world champions being beaten by their tyres rather than the other cars on the track? Make no mistake; Renault and McLaren are doing a good job. I think that they would be challenging Ferrari if not beating them squarely if this year had been run to last year's regulations. Maybe Ferrari would have struggled the way they have this year already anyway. But it would have been a better, more accurate reflection of the progress Renault and McLaren have made. Success after a major rule change always smacks of 'better rule interpretation' syndrome, rather than as genuine success. Ferrari won the 2003 championship despite the massive rule changes that took place. They were on the back foot for the whole season, but look at what they did last year. With stable regulations, they comprehensively whipped the competition. But do we honestly believe all that performance is gone? Between the tyre regulations and pure progress, the other teams have caught and passed Ferrari. We'll never know if they found pace with their cars or their tyres, though. I'm inclined to consider the tyres as an answer because the Ferrari was pretty fast in Imola when their Bridgestones were working properly. At the end of 2002 Max Mosley announced massive rule changes to the sport. These rule changes were conceived to drop costs and increase competition, while at the same time making everything safer. What wasn't considered was the considerable investment required in order to design a car to new regulations, all the extra testing and additional expense. Amongst the garbage that has since filtered into the sport such as one tyre rules and two race engines were some good ideas. Universal front and rear wings. What happened to that idea? That would have to be one of the quickest ways to regulate the speed of the cars, which dear old Max is so keen to achieve with the tyre rules. Speed down the straights is practically ungovernable, short of introducing speed bumps. Smaller engines are not the answer as the rate of progress is such that we'll see the speed problem popping up its head in one or two season's time. What then? Now we find ourselves staring at more regulation changes planned to take place in the coming years. Regulations with the purpose of dropping the costs of F1. I don't believe there is a way to drop a team's budget. They will spend as much as possible to ensure success. Only if the money is simply not there will the teams not spend it. Money has been saved with the new engine and tyre rules, but are the teams spending any less? I don't think so. I think they simply divert the saved money into a different direction. Wind tunnel work, for example, will now occupy much more of the available money. The fact remains that available money will be spent. How will Max Mosley govern that? Will he limit how much a sponsor can spend? Maybe he'll audit each team at the end of the season. Seriously though, the FIA needs new leadership. They need to find someone who'll lead decisively without being autocratic. Someone who'll care for the sport as a whole, not only certain aspects such as safety and budgets. I have no issue with making the sport safer. What needs to be remembered is that by definition, a dangerous sport cannot be made safe. Unnecessary risk is all that can be avoided. There is nothing you can do to make traveling at 320km/h with 19 other drivers fighting for your piece of tarmac safe. Motorsport is dangerous because speed is involved and deep down inside, even though the death of a driver is the last thing we want, nobody wants to sanitise Formula 1. The tracks are safe, and so are the circuits. The cars can withstand immense forces now, to the benefit of the drivers. Which brings me to my original point. A Grand Prix car is supposed to be the fastest piece of perfectionist engineering ever designed to take part in a motorsports event. All the parts are designed to work in perfect harmony. Why lose that? Why penalize a driver for two races because his engine failed once? Why penalize him by a massive ten places instead of a far more reasonable five? Why run the risk of one tyre only from qualifying through to the end of the race? Kimi could have stopped, but as a racer, he didn't. Mosley needs to make up his mind. On the one hand, he sees himself responsible for the safety of Formula 1. On the other, he blames the teams for not taking part due to safety concerns as a result of his own regulations. I feel for the Michelin teams. They are being made to look bad unfairly as the result of a hasty rule change.

Donovan Richardson, South Africa

I was never pro-FIA but this time I have to accept that this is not their fault. What happened at Indianapolis during the Grand Prix weekend was Michelin's fault. It was Michelin who failed to bring the right tyres for the race not the FIA. It is Michelin who had a problem and tried to make it a FIA problem by turning to them and requesting a change to the circuit. It is like competing in the 200m track and field, realising that you don't have the correct shoes to turn at the "banked area" and requesting from the organisation to put obstacles in the way of all the other athletes, in order to cut down everybodys speed. Would that be fair for the competition? Would running with a chicane before Turn 13 be fair for Bridgestone and it's teams who did a good job selecting their tyres? I don't think so. I know that in the past there have been precedents with safety related problems that had to be sorted out before the race took part (Barcelona 1994 and Interlagos 2003). Yes, the FIA reacted differently from now. Yet what happened at Interlagos wasn' t the same thing as in Indianapolis, as there occured a problem who affected all, not just one ore some competitors. The problem here was that Michelin provides with its tyres seven out of 10 teams. Bad luck. Don't forget that it could have been the other way round, with Michelin providing only three teams. Couldn' t you then turn to Michelin and say "it's your problem" and have the race run with 14 cars in the race track? Then there shouldn't be much of a problem, would there? I recognise that it is a difficult situation in which to reach a decision as to whom it is to blame etc. The sure thing is that there had to be a way to find a solution for the race to happen. Maybe that should have come from the FIA. But I don' t think that it is it's fault that it didn' t come.

Valias Papaioannou, Greece

I hope you can let Michelin and their teams know that they are the most unscrupulous competitors in any sport that I can think of. Rivals Tyson biting off Holyfield's ear! Everyone of their drivers should admit to how embarrassed they are. They should never have been forced to be a part of this farce. To not compete because you didn't have the correct equipment and let the race go on to the point it did is unforgivable. And unfair for the teams that were prepared. F1 is also to blame (Max should quit) and Bernie should not darken any F1 doors again. They have created some of the most ridiculous rules auto racing has ever seen. Tradition is a word that has disappeared from their vocabulary. As a result of this fiasco, we will probably not see a US Grand Prix for many years to come, if at all. What fans would want to show up to watch this money grubbing thankless lot put on their traveling circus? I for one have decided to completely ignore F1 from now on until major changes occur that actually will help the sport. I have been a loyal fan for 42 years - no more.

Lloyd Whiton

Sunday's events highlight the need to bring an end to the confrontational manner in which F1 has been directed for some while. The root problem being Max Mosley. Mosley has run the FIA and FI as his personal fiefdom and is out of touch with every sector of the sport. The tyre fiasco is not about one event but a systematic problem in the Mosley way of regulating a sport that he appears neither to understand nor care much about. How did we arrive at the current ridiculous tyre rules? Max Mosley railroaded the sport into the "one tyre rule" on the grounds of "safety". We had the warning with Kimi Raikonen's last lap accident. Then Ralf Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta have near misses, Michelin respond in the name of safety, and Max's response? Intransigence when response was worthwhile and then to threaten them and their teams with sanction. Accidents aside, we the public have spent the season looking at race-end tyres with no groove left, wondering what happened to the rules on groove depth - introduced by Max Mosley in the name of safety - that were so vital when Ferrari wanted to complain about the opposition in earlier seasons? Apparently the rules are negotiable! Despite his much vaunted polling of the stakeholders in F1 his proposals show no signs of reflecting the fans' desire for fast high tech racing with more on track action than politics. Sunday showed for the first time that the manufacturers can stand together, and that actually an F1 race with only Ferrari does not amount to much. Let hope that we are about to see F1 move to a period of being run by car people - manufacturers, aiming to be the most technically advanced level of motorsport again, not a sad pastiche of Max and Bernies scarlet painted memories. Certainly we need to move on from being a vehicle for the power trips of wannabee politicians. Let's show Max the door and he can take with him grooved tyres, one tyre rules, ridiculous qualifying, V8 engines, the 2008 proposals and let us return to motor racing worthy of the descrription.

Peter Cas, Marmaris Turkey

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