Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mr. Mosley - pull your head out of your ass

It will be quite a while until I forget about the stunned feeling I had watching a tape of the 2005 USGP (couldn't see it live...watched it on Sunday night). Six cars on the start line and hundreds of thousands of American fans saying "What the fu..?". Nevermind the millions watching slackjawed as the F1 circus effectively erased much of the progress (albeit mediocre) they had made it the last five years racing in the States. I *was* impressed with the fact that Bob Varsha et al. at Speedvision were actually able to carry out their coverage without just giving up entirely. I had heard that there were several European carriers that stopped broadcasting entirely after only a portion of the 'farce' was run.

I read an interview with Max Mosley today and he just sounds so completely out of touch. Nine of ten teams had agreed to run with a chicane installed (yes I'm sure Ferrari felt bad having to run that race all alone...Points?...yeah sure we'll take'em..). The FIA declared that such a course of action was unacceptable. Mosley states:
A chicane would completely change the nature of the circuit. It would involve an extra session of very heavy braking on each lap, for which the cars had not been prepared. The circuit would also not have been inspected and homologated with all the simulations and calculations which modern procedures require. Suppose there had been a fatal accident - how could we have justified such a breach of our fundamental safety procedures to an American court?

Brake wear is a problem at several circuits on the calendar. It usually involves a progressive failure not a sudden one. So I guess the Michelin teams should have raced even though they would have been going through turn 13 150kph slower than the Bridgestone runners...yeah that would have been a "safe" thing to do.

Nine out of ten teams agreed to take the risk for adding a chicane. That is completely different than having the supplier for the most important part of the car (with respect to safety AND performance) tell you that they cannot guarantee safe performance of their product. There was even talk that an offer to forfeit points and/or grid positions to the Bridgestone runners in order to have a race take place.

So the next time we talk about why F1 never took off in the States, there will be no more searching for esoteric, cultural reasons. At least we will take heart in the fact that it was the FIA and more specifically Max Mosley who kicked it in the family jewels. Amazing how he was able to do that while his head was so far up his ass.

One last note.. Three cheers for Tiago Monteiro. He told the truth in the post race interview that despite the fact that there was only 6 cars, he managed to get a podium for his team. Something that he (and his current team) will likely never see again. He wasn't going to waste it and it showed when he sprayed champagne on his teammates and smiled and waved in spite of the boos and jeers from the bulk of the crowd. That took balls. Big ones. Good on him.