Monday, June 20, 2005

F1 woes at Indy!

The reasons for Sunday being branded F1's blackest day have been well documented. Michelin should probably take some, if not most of the blame for the debacle. The blame also should be shared by the FIA and Ferrari, the only team, going by most accounts, that did not agree to any of the options given forth by the other 9 teams and the FIA/F1/IMS. Again, depending on which side you are on, you would put one of these two three parties as sole contributor. I am however stopping short of that deed. Make your own choice.

Anyways, the FIA and Max Mosely have come out with a statement which essentially blames Michelin and the seven teams that it supplies, for the events that unfolded yesterday. It also makes this last incredulous argument to support its stand.

Rather than boycott the race the Michelin teams should have agreed to run at reduced speed in turn 13. The rules would have been kept, they would have earned Championship points and the fans would have had a race. As it is, by refusing to run unless the FIA broke the rules and handicapped the Bridgestone runners, they have damaged themselves and the sport.

My take on this suggestion - The FIA is stupid! Here's why! Consider this scenario. At lap 36, Kimi Raikonnen approaches Turn 13 and slows down, as the FIA suggested. One of the Minardi cars that he has just lapped on Turn 11, gains on his car. Now does Raikonnen move aside and allow this car that he has just lapped to pass him again? Or does he hold his position and force the Minardi to brake hard too? Depending on whose side you are arguing, it seems disadvantageous to either driver. So did the FIA have anything to counter this argument, which I am sure would have come up.

Let me make it clear that I do not say that I have a solution that F1 should have implemented yesterday. But I do hate the fact that the FIA seems to be floating this solution among the press as the best possible one that the seven Michelin teams rejected. Blaming Michelin completely is also a convinient of transfering attention from the fact that Turn 13 is an unique corner that is not seen elsewhere in any other F1 circuit worldwide. Reason - The Brickyard's banking that is typical of a NASCAR oval! I could go on and on, but the truth is, this is one of those scenarios where each party has to share blame in some capacity. On the other, as I have said so many times on this post - depending on which side you are on, you are going to blame someone or the other completely.

Ultimately, the solution is to either change the layout of the Indy circuit to slow down the pace around Turn 13 or review the new tyre rules that have compounded the problem caused by the banking. Of these two, the latter seems much more attractive considering that any change to Turn 13 would change the fundamental character of the circuit from ultra-high speed (because of turn 13) to very slow and twisting, as the FIA press release indcates.

Updates: A Q&A with Max Moseley throws up more "options", each of which made me laugh more and more.

Q: Did the Michelin teams have any other way of running the race if the circuit itself was unchanged?
MM: Yes, they could have used the pit lane on each lap. The pit lane is part of the circuit. This would have avoided Turn 13 altogether. It is difficult to understand why none of them did this, because 7th and 8th places were certainly available, plus others if any of the six Bridgestone runners did not finish. There were points available which might change the outcome of the World Championship.


Ummmm, pit lane? Even if he meant that the pit lane speed limits would have been enforced, was he talking about the crowded semi-market place full of walking people, regardless of whether there is a race on or not? Was he talking about the same place where, in the last 10 years, there has been more than one fire accident and at least one incident that would have been classified as a hit and run incident on the street around Spielberg, Austria? My belly hurts from all the laughing. I think Max Moseley and JY Lele were separated at birth.

Anyways, Minardi Team principal Paul Stoddart has made public his own account of the fracas!

What was requested of the Bridgestone teams was to allow a chicane to be constructed at Turn 13, which would then allow Michelin to advise their teams that, in their opinion, the tyres would be able to complete the race distance. It was made very clear that this was the only viable option available, as previous suggestions from the FIA, such as speed-limiting the Michelin cars through Turn 13, could, and probably would, give rise to a monumental accident.

I am gloating now! Someone with far more experience than me, agrees with my thoughts of the FIA's "best option". Stoddart goes on to say that Max Moseley actually threatened to cancel the Grand Prix if there was to be any changes in the circuit (i.e if the chicane was added). If you would recall, Moseley had made a similar threat the day before the Australian Grand Prix this year if Minardi did not withdraw legal proceedings against the FIA.

41 comments:

dumbs said...

ok one ques....could michelin have supplied the tires without proper testing?

i am with FIA in this regard.....they made the rules and stood by them....actually i'd prefer some points taken off from the people who raced with michelin....correct me if i am wrong here

anantha said...

Dumbs: The teams test at Silverstone, Nurburgring etc. a couple of times every year to prepare for the other races. And conditions in races like Indy and Baharin (due to the sandy environs) cannot be replicated anywhere else! With respect to Baharin, testing might be possible cos the circuit is virtually unused for most of the year. But no so in the case of Indy. The catch here is there is no F1 testing possible at Indy! My source is the 2003 special Formula 1 booklet that I bought in Indy the day of the race. The track's configuration is changed in a 20-30 day period after the previous non-F1 race on a Just in Time basis. In fact, the last race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before F1 was on Sunday, May 15 2005
And as I said, turn 13 at Indy has not been replicated anywhere else, cos no one needed to replicate it earlier. Mebbe now they would now. So, Indy specific testing is not possible elsewhere. So Michelin could not have forseen everything completely. Which is why Friday testing is very very key in Indy. But as I said, I am not blaming the FIA or any one specifically, but the FIA is just passing the buck completely and that sucks, especially because a lot of their decisions have been cloudy these past few years. And there has been several other historical landmarks where rules changes have been effected hours before the race (for e.g. Interlagos in 2002, as someone posted on Prabhu's comments section), so the FIA cannot use the "unfair to some teams" argument. And btw, I have posted a "what if" to FIA's "best solution" that i seem very relevant.

RPM said...

Ohhh please. There are so many things that Michelin has done wrong and the FIA is the least to blame.

Coming up with the compromise just because Michelin had problems coming up with a tire to counter the turn 13 is ridiculous. What do you think would have happened if Bridgestone had been in the same situation? Just because there are only 6 cars with Bridgestones, their cries would have been ignored and nothing would have been made of it. Or if the rules were changed, it would have been made it a 'pro-Ferrari' nexus in action.

Michelin has raced here for 6 years now and they should have known what to expect. To pass on ANY blame to others in this situation is unbelievable. The US GP, the FIA, the teams, all should be suing Michelin for such a shameful act.

They were caught unprepared. That's it. Because of their lack of commitment, the drivers and the teams were forced not to take a chance. And the farce that was.

I do agree that 'slow down on turn 13' is not a solution. But, neither is 'put another chicane on race morning'. The 6 Bridgestone cars did perfectly ok for the entire race. The tires would have apparently lasted 100 laps, from what the callers said on TV.

So Michelin not being able to supply proper tires for this race is entirely their fault and FIA should not be blamed.

Ultimately though, the sport is not going to become too popular in North America and that's a sad state of affairs.

RPM said...

I agree with dumbs also, that the FIA could not have changed anything on race morning.

And to say that Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi should have done anything differently is also incorrect. Why should they?

Can you imagine if Honda announces on race morning that their engines are not safe to drive on Magny-Cours next race? Will all other teams stop racing that weekend because Honda teams cannot race because of inadequacy of the engine manufacturer?

bigplans said...

I think Michelin need to take most of the blame.

For ferrari its just a mid year christmas.. won't blame them at all. (but that's probly the only way scummy gets on top of the podium this year)

anantha said...

Bigplans: In a way yes, but the FIA should share it for letting it run out the way it did. Midyear christmas, it is, for Ferrari...

Rpm: As I said, I have no answer to any of yours question. The FIA does not either, because every single party in this issue is on shaky ground. I just posted it cos, I thought i saw a huge hole in what FIA claimed was the perfect solution to this issue. Thats all....
But as I told Dumbs, Indy is special and it is not possible for any prior testing of any sort. And to assume Bridgestone had the perfect tire for Indy (which some of my friends were talking about) is also a stupid argument. Mainly because Bridgestone has seemed to be so far off the pace this year. And Bridgestone seems to be silent on this whole issue. And one more thing is that, Michein voluntarily accepted blame for the issue. There were too failures at that point, but one Michelin driver actually set pole. Michelin has said they advised the teams thus because they havent had sufficient time to determine what caused two accidents of the same type. The tech report on the Indy banking refers to a lot other details that contribute to possible tire failure. It is still possible that these factors might be causing the failures indirectly. Again, Michelin will be blamed to a certain extent becos they are expected to provide "suitable" tires!

RPM said...

I agree. The solution provided by FIA was not a good one. But then, what else could they do? Changing the track was out of the question. That left nothing on their plate.

And now, here come the after effects.

anantha said...

Rpm: I don't know what else they could have done. My knowledge of F1 does not extend too much into the rule book. I do however have a fair knowledge of the workings of the sport and the tech. Which is why I still maintain that Bridgestone was lucky that they did not face such a state as Michelin is in and Michelin's travails is all part of a gamble that went wrong. It went wrong with Bridgestone at Interlagos in 2003 and the FIA compromised by delaying the start of the race. So we do have precedence. Again, I cant speculate on the suitability of any such last minute rule changes, but the FIA's stand seems to paint the picture that there was no precedence of any sort.
I just read the "disrepute" article. I think the FIA is pushing the envelope way too far. They'd have high ground if the only thing they charged the teams was "Failed to ensure you had a supply of suitable tyres"! But the next two charges are totally ridiculous. You can however argue that the first charge led to the second and the third, but IMHO that is quite besides the point. The second charge is laughable considering that Michelin seems to have done the "decent" thing (and ya, Michelin ended with egg on thier face) by accepting they were at fault (and in doing so, had no option but to ask for some discounting). The third charge, I have done my best to poke a hole. Ultimately, its becoming a full blown slanging match. But I am wondering if the FIA's (and Formula One) is acting like the BCCI in some ways.
For example, did u hear Bernie Ecclestone's comment about Danica Patrick? I think it went under the radar cos not much ppl in the US care about F1 anyways (unless they are expats!)

Anonymous said...

Dei,

Michelin takes all responsibilty for the screw up. FIA played by the rules. Clear example of "Lack of planning on your side does not constitute to an emergency on my side" thingie.

And not able to replicate the indy track to test the tires..you shuld be kiddin me..are u in the 1920's?

I remember people attributing Schumi's 2003 indy win to poor performance of Michelin tires in a wet track..You guys would never quit whining, no matter whether you lose or chicken out of the race..will you:) ?

If FIA had changed the rules, it would have been very similar to scrapping the TNPCEE exam by Jaya.
Ask people to play by the rules and change it at run time !


-Prabhu

RPM said...

That article on planetf1 is an excellent one. Kinda makes me feel that the writer has an anti-Ferrari agenda. And being a Ferrari fan, I took it with a bunch of salt.

But I do agree that if there was a precedent (pardon the ignorance on my part. I truly believed there was no precedent), this farce seems to be at least partly because of FIA.

So some of the Indy spectators were in fact smart - they had 'It is Max Mosley's fault' placards. :-)

Phoenix said...

I dont think FIA can be blamed for this..If there is any one i would point fingers at it will be Michelin...After the probe on last years accident (Ralf at Indy) it is evident that Michelin's tyre was the cause..they should have fixed the problem they had...Quality should not be compromised for a sport like F1...

I feel sorry for the fans who shelled out money and drove from far off places to watch the race..atleast the Porsche race which happens before F1 would have been more interesting....

anantha said...

Rpm: The F1 fan base is so polarised that you either support Ferrari and if you dont, ppl say that you whine!

Prabhu: I KNEW this will be attributed to my being a non-Ferrari fan, which is quite well known among anybody who knows me personally. But my take is this. Sure, Michelin f****d up. Everybody knows that. But you know what, let me go ahead and say this. The FIA has a long history of such decisions and I think I am perfect when I say that the FIA/F1 does a BCCI atleast once a year. I am countering FIA's claim that there was no precedent and you say i am whining! Idhu enna kootha irruke... :O
I have made it clear that I don't have a solution. But what I am saying is that the FIA did not get it right either. If you wanna equate that with whining, pls feel free. A lot of other people associated with the sport have been saying the same thing - i.e. that the FIA took the wrong road here.
Check this one out! this is by a former PR manager for Goodyear racing who was part of the IRL/NASCAR events)
And this one!
The general consensus is that both Bridgestone and Michelin are essentially going to the limits to build one tire for both qualifying and racing and that is prelude to disaster, because performance and longevity seem to be opposite ends of the spectrum in racing, be it car or driver! And btw, regardless of whether you are in 1920 or 2020 some things cannot be replicated. Ok, mebbe it can, but at what cost da?

Phoenix: After the probe on last years accident (Ralf at Indy) it is evident that Michelin's tyre was the cause..they should have fixed the problem they had
I searched on Formula1.com and came up with zilch results for the "probe". Do you have any link/source that indicates that Ralf's accident was NOT caused by debris in the track (as initially presumed). In fact, I got a result from Rediff which says that - Tyre supplier Michelin said a punctured tyre caused the crash following damage by debris from an earlier four-car collision.
The discussion here seems to veer toward the fact the latest tire rules are major disasters waiting to happen and that Michelin was unlucky to be the supplier to be caught!

anantha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J said...

Yawn!
The post was awesome and the comments even better... cant u figure out a way in which comments become a blog post? :-p

anantha said...

J: Hmmm... guys will be guys.. do I even have to tell you that? :)

Colors said...

I agree with the others on this. Michelin should be the one to be blamed for this. They were responsible to test the tyres and bring the back-up tyres..which they failed to. Their tyres failed, so why should FIA change the rules coz of them? They were given 3 choices, and they turned all the 3 down and decided to boycott the race. If at all anyone should have thought of the spirit of the race and the fans, it should be the 7 teams. Their tyres were messed up, so it was upto them to slow down at turn 13, why should the Bridgestone teams slow down too? That makes no sense at all. I remember reading someone's comment that its as if asking to widen the goal posts in a soccer match coz their shooters are not that good! :-)

BTW, me new here..just came following ur comment on Kaatss blog.

Colors said...

Was reading ur response to the comments...thought you might wanna check out www.pitpass.com to get the real story.

thennavan said...

My brother and his family live at Indianapolis and I've been there twice but never had a chance to check out the racing track nearby.

anantha said...

Colors: Welcome.... As regards to to your question - why should the Bridgestone teams slow down too, it is mainly because of safety reasons. See, I have given you a scenario which would have forced a "slower in other corners" car like the Jordan to either slow down behind a "usually faster" car like the BMW or try to overtake the BMW, if they came together on Turn 13. Now if you look closely at footage from previous years, overtaking is usually done in the straights or in the ultra slow corners. Safety wise, overtaking is next to impossible (esspecailly when the difference in speeds in both cars would be as high as it would have in this case) in the fastest turn in Formula 1, which is turn 13 at Indy. I am repeating myself here, but let me make say it again.

All I am saying is that the FIA solution is not the best. btw, Max Moseley, in his Q&A (on pitpass.com), mentions much more solutions, one particular solution being as ridiculous (ridiculous, because of the usually reduced speeds and also cos of the throng of team members that usually floods pitlane)as using the pit lane instead of Turn 13! So the FIA cannot escape by laying the entire blame on Michelin, when precedence existed as far as last minute rule changes are concerned. Again, I am not going to mention who appealed for a rule change the last time it was done! But that is the truth.

F e r r a r i said...

Oh my. How I missed this?

aNTi the McLaren fan,

Tell me this.

1. None of the teams tested with chicane at turn 13. Yes, there have incidents when a chicane was constructed based on teams request. That is on friday itself. Not after evryone has tested so much

2. If Bridgestone had faced the same problem, do you think all Michelin runners would have agreed for boycott or heeded to their demands?

3. Last year, same corner Ralf hit the brick wall. Same tyre failure. Why didnt Michelin take that into account while manifacturing the tyres?

In my opinion, all the Michelin runners should have been given a 15 second drive through penalty (to be taken before first 10 laps) and racing should have happened.

See I know how irritating it is, to see your favorite team sitting inside while the others are racing. I understand that fully.

No way you can blame Ferrari.

Its like saying, i didnt study well for exam. I am afraid most of us will fail. So postpone the exam. Or ask questions only from this chapter.

P.S. A Ferrari fan will never consider this race win as a win. True, this year we have not been the best. But that is part and parcel of formula 1.

anantha said...

I have no answers to any of ur questions da. Well, except the third one.

Last year, same corner Ralf hit the brick wall. Same tyre failure. Why didnt Michelin take that into account while manifacturing the tyres?

Ralf accident was found to be caused by tire failure. But that tire failure was caused by debris that he ran over (have given a link that says so earlier). The debris was there in the first place because of a 4 car accident earlier in the race. It was more or less a coincidence that the accident was caused in Turn 13. To equate that situation with this year's is illogical. But a lot of ppl have made that connection without any knowledge of the circumstances.

Sriram said...

aNTi,
Me is also a fellow McLaren fan, but doesn't it sound totally stupid to blame ferrari? (i'm talking abt everyone who did it!)... Take a step back into the rule changes that were made. Don't u realize that those specific rule changes about tires were brought in to peg Ferrari back? (As much as I hate to admit it, I am saying that!).. so, with that being the case, why should one expect ferrari to make a "sporting" decision and give up something? The blame should be squarely on Michelin. And calling the Indy race a farce would be an understatement wouldn't it? ;)

anantha said...

Why do u wanna bring Ferrari up if you think I am not part of the "blame Ferrari" group. I mean, or are you being sarcastic (LMAO!) But anyways, Dude... i never did blame Ferrari! I am blaming the FIA equally for feeding us the notion that their solution was the best! But now that u have brought it up, I think I should answer. I could stay quiet, but it turns out I have an opinion in this issue too ;)

As for the rule changes being to rein Ferrari, I think, just like the Tifosi think i am trying to pin the blame on Ferrari, they (and in this case, you too) are taking a pro-Ferrari stance in everything that happens in F1. I used the Interlagos incident as example for precedence being there and since there are just two companies involved in tire supply and so the chances of one or other or both being involved in a tire fracas, if ever there was one, was very very high. At Indy it was Michelin, but at Interlagos it was not Michelin. At Indy the FIA refused any changes saying there was no precedence. But at Interlagos, the FIA made those changes without bringing precedence in to the question!

The FIA says that the rule changes are to help the teams with lower budgets like Minardi and Sauber and to slow down the cars. Ummm.. so we are essentially doing the same thing from either side of the fence. But the very teams that it was designed to help say (at least one says) that these rules are stupid and could do with some changes. Off the circuit, tires are not used to slow down the car. Slowing down a car is usually achieved by using a speed limiter of some sort (some Euro manufacturers limit their top speeds for their American spec cars) or using a de-tuned engine (like Ford apparently does in the case of the Focus).

Btw Paul Stoddart (see link in the update) says that there was a discussion on Saturday at Indy where the FIA brought up the issue of whether F1 should revert back to having a single tire supplier. He does not mention whether one of the two present suppliers were mentioned about being the sole supplier next yr or whether a completely new company should be approached.

Again, This post was not about Ferrari. It was about the FIA's stupidity! But now that I read the post carefully, I might have a typo on there that kinda seemed that I was blaming Ferrari! Point taken!

RPM said...

Maybe I am not getting it at all. How will a single tire supplier help?

Hypothetically, if there was only one tire supplier, the Indy GP would not have happened. I think between only 6 cars running and 0 cars running, there's not much to choose from, but on the other hand, if there were 5 tire suppliers, and only Michelin was impacted, maybe they would have been a non-entity.

Also, if there were only 4 cars running Michelin tires, would they have the balls to say that they are not adequately prepared?

Just like I have kept saying about current day Bridgestone (only 6 cars), I think as long as there is no monopoly and each tire supplier supplies to 2 or 3 teams only, such incidents would be hard to come by.

If the 6 Bridgestone cars had pulled out, it would not have caused so much fury. It would only have angered the Ferrari fans who feel the whole world is out to put Ferrari down anyway.

anantha said...

rpm: How will a single tire supplier help?

I don't know. I just found it interesting that such a discussion should happen just about the same time as the biggest fracas in F1 in quite sometime, coincidentally involving one of the two tyre suppliers. I don't want to see something that does not really exist in this discussion, but it does look very very interesting! Btw, this discussion happened on Saturday when Paul Stoddart says that every individual working in the paddock knew something was up wrt Michelin and its tires. He says he was surprised that the Michelin issue took up very little time in the agenda as opposed to other issues and the single supplier discussion. However it stinks that none of the team principals sought to raise this issue first. Somehow i get the feeling that each one of them was waiting for another (or the FIA) to bring it up and were caught napping when the meeting was adjourned/closed....

capriciously_me said...

seri...waited for the next post...cud not help it...wht are u guys fighting abt now? wht went wrong with this f1 thingy? if u aint have no patience to answer to a layman, pppllllllz come up with ur next post now ;)

anantha said...

CM: Whoa.. whoa.. I dont think anybody who commented here was a layman, ahem, lay person! In fact, if it seemed like i was impatient, I would apologize. But I dont think thats the case. I think we are just having a strong healthy "discussion" thats bordering on "argument", since each of us feel strongly about it. And we are sharing a lot of info about the issue too.
As for what went wrong? Everything and that is why i say that the "Blame Michelin totally" group is mistaken!

capriciously_me said...

hey...naan enna pathi sonnen...adappaavi...:( me was telling me layman bcoz me not know wht u guys arguing abt ...me not bother to read all that fiting :(

Sriram said...

aNTi,
NOooo! me is not a Tifosi!!! me part of the silver arrows! (God! been so long since someone mentioned silver arrows to me!) i didn't mean that YOU were blaming ferrari, though it sounded that way, but I was referring to the press in general :)

RPM said...

Everything said and done, it was a large egg in the face of Michelin. They should not have come unprepared.

There *may* be some argument for _teams_ that there could have been a compromise that would have made all of them happy. But Michelin simply cannot argue that FIA did not compromise or that Ferrari and Bridgestone blocked the compromise.

They have let their teams down. The teams have to complain to Michelin, not to Indy GP or to FIA. If in the first place Michelin had the right tires, there would have been no arguments or problems.

But then again, I would be talking about the main issue, not the end reuslt, which was a farcical race. Sorry to digress. Hope it is for the better :-)

Colors said...

Ok. Point taken. "Blame Michelin" is what you are against. I say Blame Michelin and all teams that pulled out. Blame FIA, but only for their poor management skills not for the race with 6 cars.

I will go with your argument that FIA should have done something, but as pointed out before, changing tracks was as dangerous (since untested). Maybe FIA's argument here is not the only reason they did not allow a rule change. Maybe they had a hidden agenda. I do not know, nor does anybody other than FIA itself.

But the important point is, who pulled out of the race? Was 'Not Racing' the only way of "protest"? Why make the spectators suffer? If they had to lose points then why not slow down and lose? They knew their problems, why cannot drivers make sure they do not speed at turn 13? It would not then, have been a safety issue. It is unfair for the Bridgestone teams to win a race and not get the credit for it. It is unfair for the fans like me who came in and spent hundreds of dollars. Blame only FIA does not seem right.

Colors said...

A few more thoughts.Sorry to keep commenting..:).
Why did the Michelin teams not run on the new tires they brought in? Why to worry about disqualification? Should they not give the spectators a "Race" that they paid for? How many ppl in the stand would have cared if the race ended and the next day the points were deducted?
Nobody could then have taken the pride away from Kimi, Trulli, McLaren or Toyota. The fight over points then could have been merely a battle between teams and the FIA. Spectators would get what they came for. A race is, after all, all about the entertainment it provides during the race.A Ferrari or a Renault winning the championship at the end of the year does not provide that entertainment.

Treat your customers respectfully. Nobody should get away with not doing that.

anantha said...

Rpm: See, if you would look at all the words that have been thrown around after last Sunday, the only words from Michelin has been a statement of apology. Its the FIA who has gone on an offensive. Its like Michelin is already on all fours, lets do whatever we can to whip their ass. And the teams are taking some of the blame too, but again they have chose to stay behind their tyre supplier since they *probably* understand and identify with what Michelin is going through already. Lets also not lose focus here of the fact that Bridgestone has not gone on an all out offensive to gloat that they did what Michelin could not. My view, from what I have understood of the problem - they know they were lucky. So the only ppl that seem to be shouting is the FIA. And I hate that "holier than thou" attitude that Max Moseley seems to be putting forth, inspite of his childish and most ill-informed "suggestions". Anyways, issue here involves every single party and not Michelin alone!

Colors: SAFETY! SAFETY! SAFETY! Not only for the drivers, but for the spectators too. In 1955, a Mercedes Benz and a Austin Healy collided and burning parts from the Mercedes Benz ploughed into the stands at Le Mans and killed a indeterminable (the actual number was never released, but BBC puts the toll at 77) number of ppl. More recently, in two separate incidents, track marshalls have been killed by flying debris/tires.
You seem to be overlooking the clear scenario that I have put forth. Slowing down suddenly for turn 13, especially with a non-Michelin car following right behind would be akin to "brake testing" - an offense that Montoya was just penalized for at the Monaco Grand Prix. A Michelin car would have to decelerate just at the point that a non-Michelin car would accelerate and if two cars of either type were close enough, then there is a very great chance of a "monumental accident". That is why the slowing down for Turn 13 is not such a good idea. And btw, I dont think that "Not Racing" was a form of protest. None of the teams said that (did they?????). It was made clear that the teams were doing it for safety reasons. And some sources claimed that the drivers were hoping to see a chicane built after the cars passed through to form up in the grid for the formation lap (which is a good 15 or 20 mins before the race). When they came to turn 13 during the the formation lap and found no chicane, they got in. That is one version. The second version paints a greyer picture where the cars ran on the formation lap to escape from fines/get the promised money from the FIA/F1/IMS. I dont know which version is true, though the second version seems to be the most popular story.
And btw, IMHO, IMHO, IMHO, the chicane would have slowed down the cars no more than any other corner in the Indy circuit. And putting a chicane would probably increase the number of gear shifts by handful per lap, which will be well within any buffer that the gearbox design tolerances would allow. So, IMHO, a chicane would technically help all the teams rather than causing "safety problems" that Max Moseley claims. All IMHO!

anantha said...

I think I screwed up with the Max Mosley Q&A. Have corrected it now.

Colors said...

Thanks for that information on the 1955 crash.But you seemed to have ignored my comment on running on new tires! How do they justify that? That would have saved the race. Or were they so incompetent that they could not get a safer tire for Sunday?? How do the teams and Michelin justify not bringing backup "safer" tires in the first place?

Hoping a chicane be built 15-20 minutes before !!! That is ridiculous!!Nobody drives a race car on an "unknown" track on the race day! And yes, it would be unknown no matter how close it is with any other turn on the speedway.
I was just listening to Speed news the other day. According to them changing the track might have even made the insurance invalid.
I think the teams and Michelin are trying to mislead by uttering the words "safety". They should say "incompetent".
Anyway, I hope it is a lesson to everyone involved.In the end we fans and the sport itself are loosers. Let us hope we get to see a great season ahead.

anantha said...

Colors: Oops.. plain oversight. Thanks for pointing that out. But now that I think about it, I will wait to get some more info before commenting on that. Michelin says that it asked for permission. After this, I see only hazy info. Some claim that the FIA refused this appeal from Michelin (using the same incompetence reasoning), while others say that Michelin withdrew the appeal, citing the same safety reasons (and not enough test times) even before the FIA said something. And even if the second reason is true, its like double jeopardy. You can't fault them for the same reason twice when their "excuse"/"reasoning" is the same - inadequate testing! But ya, there is no excuse for Michelin not bringing those backup tires. Heads are surely gonna roll. And I would not bunch the teams with Michelin, because the Michelin and Bridgestone are (I think) responsible for the transport of tires from factory to each location. With tire tempratures such a huge issue, I think the tyres are produced JIT for each race and delivered to the paddocks by the suppliers. So I think the teams themselves were caught napping! Yes, they were incompetent, but that does not mean that the safety reason is overhyped.

And again, IMHO, a chicane in this case, would have been nothing more than a wall of tire and a few red cones (like they do for some corners in Monaco). We are not talking about a barrier here, but something like a speed trap. And I don't know about the insurance thing, because Paul Stoddart's account sorta alludes to the fact Tony George and the IMS guys did not have any problems with a chicane and if at all they were against a chicane, I am sure he'd have mentioned it.

Yup, fingers crossed for better times ahead!

Twin-Gemini said...

I am sure this incident is going to bring down the popularity of F1 in the US and maybe even all over the world too, unless they do something like refunding the tickets or giving free tickets for the next year's race.

RPM said...

anti: Sorry, was out for the weekend, so could not post 'in sync'. But I don't think the FIA is the only one shouting. They are perhaps shouting to defend themselves. All the blame as I read, has been put on Max. I am no friend of his and have absolutely no (special) soft corner for him.

But I am just trying to understand what are the teams thinking and what is their agenda. The latest to come from the mouth of the dumba$$ Paul Stoddart is that if there is some drastic penalty handed out to the teams, there will be a boycott.

What? Why is he threatening a boycott? Doesn't it smell of some hidden agenda? Why should he care about the penalties on other teams?

With such mentality among the teams and the urge to start a parallel series anyway, it doesn't look like the rest of the season is going to be smooth, and I am not even sure if there is going to be a next season.

Oh, and on the side, Silverstone has sold out. So much for F-1 reputation taking a hit.

I guess we in North America will have to start making plans to visit Malaysia or Europe or something to experience the races. Which is sad. I was looking forward to perhaps a Long Beach US GP :-)

anantha said...

Rpm: Hmmmm... The issue takes a stranger turn by the day. I can't figure out why he is the one shooting his mouth off, though he does have a grudge against Mosely (refering to the pre-Aus GP fracas, regarding Minardi's law suit).
If its really true that the replacement batch of Michelin tires were found to be defective once they landed in Indy, I can't help but agree with his "force majeure" statement.
As for the talk that has been going around regarding a parallel series (after 2008?), I don't know the circumstances! But I think there WILL be a next season, even if the US GP temporarily ceases to exist. Know why? Cos Ford and GM are in no shape while the Euro and the Jap companies are doing strong. The way I look at it, the loss from the US GP will easily be matched by gains from Shanghai and Baharin!

RPM said...

I know there will eventually be a next season, partly because it is a little difficult to imagine the current situation inflate into something that big, and partly because contractually the teams have to.

But I think the point is that guys like Stoddart are further dipping F-1's throat into the muddy water when they should be looking at how to salvage their rep for the general public, which may not be knowing every little detail about what went on and what is going on.

RPM said...

And.... Michelin has announced that they are going to refund all Indy GP tickets.

Cool! Two thumbs up to them.