Monday, June 20, 2005

The USA Grand Prix Farce - A solution

Whichever way you slice it, the USA Grand Prix at Indianapolis was a farce. That much is clear.

The story is simple: Ralf Schumacher suffered a tyre failure and Michelin then declined to guarantee the safety of their tyres. A compromise was saought (hat tip, grudgingly, to the anonymous coward in the comments box who hasn't the guts to let me fisk his or her site for split infinitives) - by placing a new chicane into bend 13 - that could allow the 14 cars using Michelin tyres to race. The FIA declined. Why should they compromise when Michelin had - in effect - broken some very clear rules? In the event, the race went ahead with only the 6 cars using Bridgestone tyres. Some would say that F1 is boring enough without this sort of nonsense, but your Pedant-General - beloved as he is of the British sense of fair play - would hesitate to offer such an opinion himself.

However, my gripe is not here. It is with - wait for it - the BBC. With characteristic flair, it has pinned the blame onto the wrong organisation. Max Moseley defended himself admirably (you can listen to it here), but one wonders why the editor chose to grill the FIA. Would it not have been better to humiliate the Chief Exec of Michelin? It was Michelin's error at source, but the FIA suffers the PR damage.

Your inestimable Pedant-General suspects that the FIA missed a trick: they should have declared that all teams run on Bridgestone tyres for the duration of the race.

  • the fans get their race so that the FIA comes out smelling of roses;
  • one element of equipment differential on the track is removed, placing more focus onto the skill of the drivers, and probably making for a more exciting race thereby;
  • The Michelin teams end up having to cope with a tyre system that they have probably never touched before, leading to a distinct disadvantage in the pits (which has a certain appealling feel of natural justice to it);
  • .... and: the frogs get the PR equivalent of a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Hurrah!

That's what I would have done if I were in charge.


dearieme said...

The race looked like any other F1 race to me: like watching paint dry, but noisier.

Anonymous said...

'A compromise was saught'???

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Oh god...

I bet that excuse for a son of a wotsit Andrew at NonTrivialSolutions sent you as well...

Mind you - it take you a few weeks to find this little slip-ette