Formula 1 21 Jun 2005 10:41 am

F1 Round 9 (USA GP) Rant

Short rant this week. Still too angry to say a lot — and in any case there’s nothing to say about the decent teams and drivers.

I’d like to say that Sunday’s fiasco was an absolute blight on Formula 1 — a disgusting exhibition of greed and self centredness. There are no innocent parties. Not one!

Minardi: shouldn’t have raced. If he felt that the Michelin 7 were in the right, Stoddy should have had the gumption to stay in the pits.

Jordan: shouldn’t have raced. They owe nothing to Ferrari.

Ferrari: continue to be the absolute shame and scourge of F1. Not only do they continue to flout the spirit of testing regulations, they were critical blockers on the road to a solution of the Michelin crisis.

The Michelin 7 teams: what choice did they really have? Their supplier made a monumental stuff-up and they have paid the price. BUT: more of them should have attended the pre-USA tyre selection/test session. AND they shouldn’t have teased the fans by appearing on the grid. (I reckon they had intended to stay in the garages, but Sauber broke ranks and they all followed onto the grid so as not to be depositioned. That’s how it looked on the coverage. And I also reckon that if Trulli had not peeled into the pit lane after the warm-up lap, they would all have gone onto the grid. Massive brinkmanship in play.)

Michelin: made a big mistake that will hurt them for a long time to come. BUT they redeemed themselves by owning up early, by not jeopardising safety and by trying to broker a solution.

FIA/FOM (hard to tell where one stops and the other begins): could hardly have done a worse job. The ONLY job these guys had on the weekend was to find some sort of solution. They failed on so many levels. Much blame for the genesis of the issue must lie with the single tyre rule in a time of multiple suppliers. Clearly single tyre can be made to work — but when there is competitive pressure, things will be pushed to the limit and mistakes will be made. But where the problem comes from isn’t as important as success in finding resolution. And despite all the ‘smart’ people involved, they couldn’t find one. It’s unacceptable, it’s disgusting and it just might be the downfall of F1 as we know it (maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing).

I am stunned that the Michelin 7 are being charged with ‘bringing the sport into disrepute’. This is totally bogus. Shall we charge BAR because they brought unsuitable engines to Malaysia and they both failed? Shall we charge Ferrari for faulty gearboxes on the 2005 car when it first appeared? Shall we charge the fuel rig suppliers for the failures down the years? Of course not. It would be nonsensical.

The sport WAS brought into disrepute — there’s no doubt about it. But the disrepute was caused by FIA/FOM and their failure to find a solution. Will the FIA charge the FIA? Of course not. Will they charge Ferrari? (I could give you three good reasons — see this rant and earlier ones — why such a charge would be well founded.) Of course not. It is illogical and immoral to charge the teams.

In fact, the level of disrepute would have been HIGHER if the teams raced on known-to-be-faulty tyres and a driver had been killed or injured. Or what if a car was launched into the stands along the 350km/h straight after racing on a known-to-be-faulty tyre? That too would bring disrepute.

Where to from here?

The FIA should get off the teams’ backs. FIA/FOM should fund refunds to the ticket holders and we should get on with racing. Oh, and for my money, points awarded in USA should be scrapped. It wasn’t a race and nobody deserves to benefit.

If you get the picture that I am angry about this — you are right! I guess I feel like a South Sydney supporter seeing his sport taken over by vested interests and men in suits who clearly don’t care for the fans or the competitors or the sporting contest.

Let’s hope we have a better race in France. It’s a great little track with a fabbo hairpin bend. New aero for Williams should be good. Mark starts 7th in qualifying (don’t get me started on the current qualifying system — it’s easier to follow than earlier in the year, but much less fair), but poor old Nick is second.

Comments are closed.