Thursday, June 30, 2005

taking sides (part 1)

for the past coulple of weeks its has been about taking sides, for me...

formula 1 - the 2005 US grand prix offered multiple dimensions for thoughts and had quite a few conversations with people, a lot of mails were exchanged and here are a few of them.

when a friend of mine said that he was all happy because ferrari had won and that fortune favored the brave, this is what I had to say...

well, I thought we were all passionate about F1 "racing"...
and when there was no such thing tht happened, where is the question of victory, fortune favoring the brave etc..
honestly, i can't call whatever happened at Indy as a formula 1 race!!

I do agree tht it couldn't have been done in any better way, though there were a few options...
michelian teams said (I think there was no reason for bridestone teams to agree to this...)
"The only practical solution was for a chicane to be installed prior to Turn 13 and nine of the teams were prepared to run under these conditions even forgoing championship points or by allowing non-Michelin teams to take top positions on the grid."

FIA said (I don't think there was any reason for the micheleian teams to do this...)
"Your teams have a choice of running more slowly in Turn 12/13, running a tyre not used in qualifying (which would attract a penalty) or repeatedly changing a tyre (subject to valid safety reasons). It is for them to decide."

so, effectively there was no race that happened and it was a big disappointment to the crowd, drivers and all formula 1 fans. after all, we didn't wait to see s'thing like this happen...
unpredictability is also one of the key players when it comes to f1 and we have to accept it, BUT, the yday's result is more of a PITY in formula 1 history and it surely is NOT a matter of pride!

when another friend of mine said, Michelin and the teams got away easily and it was Ferrari who bore the brunt for not agreeing to have the chicane as suggested by the other teams, this is what I had to say...

its such a pity that Schumacher's fans spoil it all..
who is blaming Ferrari now...the media (authentic -plz chk hasn't mentioned even once that Ferrari didn't agree or anything of tht sort...
they have very clearly stated tht it was the FIA which didn't agree to the options suggested by the 9 teams and the reason was because the options were irrelevant when it came to F1 rules and not because ferrari didn't agree to it.

so, defending Ferrari and sympathizing them is all crap...come on now, their decision had no role in any of this...they don't make the rules, they don't govern the rules...all we are saying is tht it was a disappointment and it can never be a matter of pride (to anyone...)
it was just an unavoidable situation. nothing more, nothing less.

when one of my colleagues asked me about what I thought about the fiasco (he actually called it the formula 0 fiasco), this is what I had to say...

I think it was a huge disappointment for all the fans, and the drivers. Indy 2005 would remain a compromise in F1 history.

but hey, I think they had no option but to let it happen the way it happened. I think they were reasonable when they chose not to race ...but just that they should have disclosed the news earlier to the crowd and yes, I agree that they should refund the tickets and travel expenses.

why I think they were reasonable is because FIA gave them these three options

1) they said ask your drivers to slow down on that particular turn (which is a risk and Michelin said they can't guarantee drivers' safety...can we expect them to risk their lives and race?)

2) they said your teams can keep changing the tires after giving appropriate safety reasons and showing that the tires weren't fit to continue with (this is again a risk as s'one might end up crashing before they change the tires...and Michelin had given a written statement saying they can't guarantee drivers' safety).

3) they said the teams could use a new set of tires (other than what they used for
qualifiers) but in that case, they would have to pay a huge penalty (this is as good as not racing as the penalty would make sure that they would come no where close to winning the race and also, Michelin weren't very sure about their new set of tires).

I agree that the fact that they failed to deliver tires that were fit for racing is very sad but, they realized it only after Ralf's accident. they failed miserably but it was an unavoidable situation.

as I have always said, unpredictability is one of the key players in F1 (major players are technology, speed, control) and we have to accept it because formula 1 specifications are the most stringent in the whole wide world and they get evolved from the stables of the meanest machine manufacturers and because of the efforts of the best of the automobile engineers round the world.

but, I agree that it is quite hard for people in the US to understand and accept this. I can accept this, I think I have gone too far ...beyond all this.

I was thinking how would it be for the drivers...I was thinking so much as to how Kimi would manage to go past Trulli (1st on the grid) and to not let Fisichella go past him (3rd on the grid and a Renault is know for its amazing starts) and I don't know how much the drivers would have thought and how would it be when they realize that they can't race!

When the FIA came with the charges on the team, this is what I had to say...

• failed to ensure that they had a supply of suitable tyres for the race (true but to ensure that the teams should have manufactured tyres overnight forgetting that they were car manufacturing companies!)

• wrongfully refused to allow their cars to start the race (may be no, it could be
considered that they did start the race...they retired later...if you noticed, it was shown that all the 14 drivers were out, that’s how they show when the drivers retire from the race)

• wrongfully refused to allow their cars to race, subject to a speed restriction in one corner which was safe for such tyres as they had available (I don't know if FIA can claim that it was safe, were they ready to assure drivers' safety? this claim is controversial)

• combined with other teams to make a demonstration damaging to the image of Formula One by pulling into the pits immediately before the start of the race (true, but there won't be any written rule saying that the teams shouldn't hold any discussions in public, look confused/puzzled in public :-)).

• failed to notify the stewards of their intention not to race, in breach of Article 131 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.
Article 131 states: "The starting grid will be published four hours before the race. Any competitor whose car(s) is (are) unable to start for any reason whatsoever (or who has good reason to believe that their car(s) will not be ready to start) must inform the stewards accordingly at the earliest opportunity and, in any event, no later than 45 minutes before the start of the race.”
(may be a valid point...but still I am thinking if they can say that they did start the race but retired due to some problem with their one can stop them from retiring right? but I don't know if the start of the warm-up lap will be considered as the start of the race!
"Leading bookmakers, such as William Hill and Ladbrokes, decided to stick to the Formula One rule that cars that take part in the parade lap had started the race, which meant that thousands who backed Raikkonen and Alonso lost their money")

now, the teams are found guity on 2 of the charges and it has been clarified that the penalty would be a fine and not reduction in points or ban from the race.

but the teams are set to appeal the decision.


Akshay said...

No amount of apology or compensation can ever take away the shame in the way they let down their fans. It should not have been under wraps till the last minute and it was disgusting to see those cars pull up in the last second.

Anyway, its a lesson to learnt for the teams and the tyre manafacturer. Losing F1 image in US is a big thing, because this is one of the multi-cultural GP. Its sad that europeans/asians and south-american lost so much.

DhiOnlyOne said...

Well, from being an ardent fan of Formula 1 to now an almost passive observer of the sport, I have no comment on this post :-)

I think the Michelin teams should form their own consortium and quit the dictatorial forum of Formula 1.

I always wanted to say this - Ferrari sucks and so does FIA's idol Mr. Schumacher.

That felt good :-)

ashwini bharadwaj said...

akshay, it could be so that everyone is over reacting beacause it happened in the US... just a thought.

dhi, you might like this...

Jagadish said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jagadish said...

Contrary to those who feel that the race in Indianapolis was a sham, i would like to believe the opposite.

The FIA played by the rules and that is all that mattered. Only this time, there were too many teams which was at stake. There is no need to be overly sympathetic of the issue, simply because it was a bad case of having the wrong equipment, this time the culprit being the tyre. There is absolutely no excuse for michelin to bring in the wrong tyres, and they are the ones to blame.

almost always, what matters is not how many cars run in a race, but how many have the right equipment. That's the reason it is called Formula 1, and not Compromise 1.

The spectators got a raw deal, simply because they were used to seeing 20 cars on the track.

It was by all means a perfectly run race; agreed it did not entertain, but it most surely managed not to set a bad precedent.

Apart from being a passive observer, it is important not to get carried away by emotions, and tarnish a team's image. Ferrari is one of the participating teams, and FIA is not its alma mater, so there is no reason for FIA to side Ferrari. In fact, many of the rules introduced this year, was to stymie ferrari's scintillating run last year. Only this time it backfired for FIA, with the no-tyre-change bullshit they came up with at the start of the season.