Michelin made a mistake which FIA rules prevented them from correcting. Under current F1 rules they aren't allowed to fly in replacement tyres as doing so would disqualify the teams using them. I know FIA officials said that doing so was an option but in reality it wasn't (if it was I'm sure Michelin would have had other tyres available before the race). 9 out of 10 teams agreed to put in a chicane to slow the track (making the tyres safe to use), only Ferrari objected. As Ferrari's word is law in Formula 1 racing that meant the FIA refused to install the chicane and thus made a Ferrari victory a certainty (which was the reason for Ferrari's objection of course, they saw a chance to finally win with this year's underperforming car and took it). Minardi only raced because Jordan broke their gentlemen's agreement to not race, the original intent of all the other teams had been to let Ferrari make themselves look stupid by racing on their own and so exposing the truth about Formula 1 politics which is that the FIA are the puppets of Ferrari (little known fact: all other teams are mandated by the FIA to pay Ferrari millions of dollars a year just to be allowed to race).
I think this was the final straw which will lead to most teams leaving the FIA when their current contracts are up for renewal in 2008 and starting a competing organisation. This would leave Ferrari and maybe one or two others in the FIA, effectively ending FIA (and thus Ferrari) rule over car racing outside the USA.
Joined: Oct 12, 2000
P.S. Everyone knows I don't like the French AT ALL and am usually the first to seek blame with them but in this case they did the right thing (OK, it was cowardly but they have to be applauded by not putting the lifes of non-French drivers at risk by racing with tyres which are liable to explode after a few laps).
I don't blame Schumacher for winning, he did his job after his team bosses decided they'd race. Same I don't blame the other drivers for pulling out, they too followed team orders to not risk lifes and millions of dollars in equipment.
The ones to blame are Michelin (for bringing the wrong tyres), Ferrari (the team bosses) for not wanting a fair competition, and the FIA leadership for their refusal to allow for situations like this in the rules and their insistence on not installing an emergency ruling that would have saved the game (on insistence of Ferrari no doubt).
formula one racing tires are built in very small batches, specifically for a particular track, etc. The tire manufacturers are constantly tinkering with the formula to eke out the last ounce of performance and to advance the state of the art of tire making.
They don't intentionally make "exploding" tires. Racing tires are actually very delicate compared to regular auto tires, having very thin, flexible sidewalls. They basically turn liquid as the car races around the track and are designed to work for about a hundred miles or so. As the margin of error is consequently small, occasionally they "screw up". I suspect that the speeds at Indy were higher (slightly) than anticipated for the batch of tires they sent over. Higher speed means hotter tires which deteriorate quicker.
Formula One racing is "road" racing in that the race tracks roughly simulate winding country roads rather than being a "simple" circle or oval shape. This poses challenges of turning in both directions as well as going up and down over the terrain. Generally speaking, most tracks have at least one turn which requires considerable slowing to negotiate.
A chicane is a sort of artificial turn strategically placed on the track, re-routing traffic and forcing it to slow down. Slowing the cars down means the tires will run slightly cooler and not reach the critical "exploding" point.
Formula One racing is an incredible technology circus. It is also an arena of petty dictatorships, intrigue, and petty, back-stabbing politics, which constantly threaten the very existence of the sport. Yet, the raw throbbing appeal of fast exotic cars always prevails.
Jeroen seems to support the principle "That was MY bad, I screwed up, Now YOU better fix it". What a joke. I should try that at my work place.
What would it be like if the Food & Drug Administration bent the rules so that a drug manufacturer is allowed to kill people while treating them for arthritis or whatever, just because the manufacturer was incompetent to produce a better drug?
I would agree that Michelin screwed up, but I also think that the FIA officials screwed up worse. The FIA officials knew there was a problem and refused to come up with a resonable compromise. If a driver had gotten killed using those tires after the teams were denied the right to switch tires, the FIA would be in an even worse situation than they are in now. The only people who didn't screw up were the teams that valued the live's of their drivers and pulled out of the race because the stupid politics could have gotten them killed. (even though pulling out was a political statement of it's own) So I say cheers to them for taking a stand.
I was a big F1 fan.... now I am just a fan... for now.
I am just so thankful that Montoya isn't doing well!!! (otherwise I would have been there!)
I made myself a promise at the beginning of the season that if Juan Pablo Montoya was doing well in the championship after the fourth race, I was going to take my kids to the Indianapolis GP. Good thing that the dummy broke his shoulder "playing tennis" (Yeah right!!... that was the excuse to not get in trouble since his contract has penalties for wreckless behavior; the rumor is that he was practicing motocross.)
Can you imagine paying about $1800 to go to Indy for the weekend to watch that joke? If I was upset at just watching it on TV I can't imagine how I would have been had I went.... poor fans.
I blame the inepts at Michelin too. Poor enginnering, poor manufacturing, poor testing, poor quality control, poor contingency planning (they are supposed to supply a second set which they didn't).
I recognize, though, that Michelin did what they had to do: announce the problem to their customers, accept responsibility for it and propose options.
Changing the configuration of a track just a couple of hours before a race was a crazy idea. The teams did what they had to do: protect their drivers; we are talking about human lives. Yes it is a risky sport but racing knowing that those tires could explode was unacceptable, specially after Ralph's crash... by the way, he has to hate turn 13!!
Ferrari and the other teams using Bridgestone tires did what they had to do: race. That's what it was about. It is not their fault that other teams have substandard equipment and they should not be penalized for that.
The FIA did what they had to do: enforce the rules.
Now Schumacher is fighting for the title and this can get boring again. Oh well, I can always Tivo the races and decide if watch it or not after reading the comments about it instead of waking up at crazy hours to watch it live. [ June 21, 2005: Message edited by: Ed Villamizar ]
In Germany 7.1 mio households watched F1 race with 6 cars. It was the TV event which attracted most people on a sunday at 8.00 pm. Strange. Isn't? A lot of people love to watch Michael win.
Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Correct Dan. Michelin screwed up and admitted it. They were prevented by the current rules to bring in other tyres which would work on the track, and the FIA (at the insistence of Ferrari) refused to alter the track so the tyres they were allowed to use would work. Yet the FIA blames Michelin for not trying to reach a solution...
Under current F1 rules teams are not allowed to change tyres on their cars once the training commences for the race. They may change the tyres, but not change to a different type of tyre up to the qualifying session but must use a single set of tyres for the qualifying session and the race both (with some leeway to allow changing of a failed tyre during the race, but that's it). This left Michelin no way to replace the faulty design with a different type, and therefore left the teams no option but to either race with cars that would all likely crash after only a few laps (causing massive financial losses to the teams as well as knowingly putting the lifes of drivers and people around the track at risk) or not start (they drove the outlap to prevent the quarter million dollar penalty per car that doesn't start the race).
The teams (not Michelin, though they will have calculated that it would work) proposed inserting a chicane to slow traffic, making the track suitable. This was refused by the FIA on insistence of Ferrari (who were the only ones to oppose the decision) even after the teams proposed they'd forego any points they would have won based on race position.
Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Originally posted by fred rosenberger: Thanks, Edwin, for that. so was it Michelin's fault, or the race track's fault? Should Michelin have known that the track was faster, or did the track designers not tell anybody what they were doing?
or maybe nobody knows until they run a few test laps???
The track was faster than anticipated. The tyres were probably designed based on last year's track and cars with a margin for error but in reality speeds were higher. Weather also plays a part. I don't know the air and track temperatures during the race but if it's hot (or has been for some days) tyres can heat up tremendously. Teams did experiment with different initial tyre pressures to see if that would make enough of a difference to race safely, but it wasn't enough.
Michelin created a tyre that was just a bit too close to the edge, expect to see more conservative designs from them for the time being.
The FIA followed the rules which indicated that a change to the course made purely for the benefit of one or a number of teams was not allowed due to it being unfair. I expect the teams were voting to disregard this rule, ferrari objected, understandably since it would have put them at a disadvantage, I'd have done the same. If it were the other way round and the problem was with Bridgestone tyres, I'd bet everything I had that other teams wouldn't agree to such a change in order to make it easier for a Ferrari to drive. The result wasn't good but I don't think the blame should be placed anywhere other than at the door of Michelin. Everyone else was just doing their job.
Pounding at a thick stone wall won't move it, sometimes, you need to step back to see the way around.
Joined: Sep 02, 2004
Originally posted by Axel Janssen: In Germany 7.1 mio households watched F1 race with 6 cars. It was the TV event which attracted most people on a sunday at 8.00 pm. Strange. Isn't? A lot of people love to watch Michael win.
I admire him as a great car racer. What he did in San Marino was incredible; I actually wanted him to win that one over the big mouthed Alonso. He is probably not a very good person, but who cares when watching the race? (wasn't Cora some other driver's girlfriend?). The point is that watching him win race after race after race gets very boring.
But, on second thought, this can actually make this year's competition more interesting....
Joined: Jan 08, 2001
Originally posted by Ed Villamizar:
He is probably not a very good person
I don't consider him bad person. He's just an extremly focussed and more introverted guy. I don't consider him robot and I've seen Schumacher in a lot of interviews held in his mother language.
Yes, change the rules to: Any rule can be changed 10 minutes before the race to suit whoever wants the rules changed.
Dude, wake up, there are rules for a reason. How long has that track been there. How long has it been fast. How long did Michelin have to fix their tyres. How bad is this for their marketing...
Everyone knows Bridgestone tyres are slower than Michelin, so those 3 teams that raced have sacrificed speed at EVERY OTHER RACE for the sake of safety... why should they now compromise for other teams' opportunism?
Yes, it was a farce but perhaps a big wake-up call for safety vs. speed. Please don't blame the three teams that raced, it's like saying "Why don't we just say, because of drunk drivers, everyone just drive on the left lane only and really slow, then no one will get hurt....."... sorry, bad example, but just try think about the reason there are bodies governing sport, it would make a rather more spectacular farce than that one race, if they weren't there?
Joined: Oct 12, 2000
the track was changed radically since the last time F1 raced there. the track was also repaved with a different type of surface since the last F1 race. the rules for cars and specifically tyres had also been changed radically since the last race.
So effectively the track was brand new.
As to your "change the rules so the rules can be changed 10 minutes before the race", get over it, it's an idiotic remark. The rules need to be changed to actually allow manufacturers to bring in different tyres if the ones they did bring with them are found to not work during practice. Under the current rules Michelin wasn't allowed to do so (even though such tyres were probably available).
If Michelin has faster tyres than Bridgestone of course Bridgestone now claims that's because they have larger safety margins. But in reality they could race only because their cars are slower because of their relatively poor tyre design.
oh, and another thing that needs changing is the idea that all decisions need to be unanimous. A majority decision should be enough, this would reduce the stranglehold Ferrari has over the sport.
In fact, it's highly likely that 2007 will mark the end of Formula 1 as all teams except Ferrari have indicated their intend to leave the competition unless things change radically and Ferrari's position is reduced from its ultimate power to the same level as the other teams. [ June 30, 2005: Message edited by: Jeroen Wenting ]