NASCAR has its own ‘Indianapolis 2005’ – but the race goes on

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

20 cars on the grid at Indianapolis in 2005 - only six would start
20 cars on the grid at Indianapolis in 2005 - only six would start

We all remember the debacle of a ‘race’ F1 put on at Indianapolis in the 2005 United States Grand Prix.

Yesterday NASCAR suffered its own version at the very same venue, albeit running the full oval rather than the road course.

NASCAR managed to put on a full race, of sorts, with a full field. So, did they handle it better than F1 did?

Indianapolis 2005

After the formation lap the 14 Michelin runners withdrew
After the formation lap the 14 Michelin runners withdrew

When the F1 teams arrived at Indianapolis in 2005 no-one had tested at the track since then last event there 12 months earlier. But the FIA had changed the rules since the last race and now each driver had to do the full race distance on one set of tyres.

Early on the Friday of the race weekend Michelin discovered their teams’ tyres would only last a handful of laps before failing. Rival Bridgestone’s rubber was fine. This meant 14 of the 20 drivers did not have adequate rubber to race on.

Team bosses, race organisers and the FIA stewards discussed potential solutions. The Michelin-supplied teams offered to forfeit any championship points scored in the event. But no compromise was found and only the six Bridgestone runners took the start.

Why wasn’t a solution found?

Who was to blame for the debacle is a question that still divides many fans.

Clearly Michelin failed to anticipate the consequences of their tyre design at a circuit like Indianapolis with its long, fast banked turn 13 caused the failures.

But could a compromise have saved the day? Perhaps. FIA President Max Mosley insisted the only permissible solution was for the Michelin-shod drivers to run more slowly through the ‘danger area’ of turn 13. But this seemed fraught with problems.

How fast should they drive through the turn? It would likely be far slower than the Bridgestone-shod cars approaching top speed. So wouldn’t this be just as grave a safety risk as attempting to drive on the tyres at full speed?

Building a chicane in front of the final corner to slow the cars would have been the best possible solution, especially when combined with the Michelin teams’ offer that only the Bridgestone teams would score championship points. Since 2005 other series have used this solution in similar circumstances, such as Champ Car.

Mosley batted away the suggestion with a meaningless analogy about skiing. His refusal of the compromise was taken by many as a clear indication that he just wanted to humiliate and punish Michelin for their mistake.

Read the original report: 2005 United States Grand Prix

NASCAR’s dilemma

The NASCAR situation last weekend had similarities and differences.

Unlike F1 in 2005, NASCAR today has a single tyre supplier. Drivers from three different NASCAR manufacturers tested at the Indianapolis oval in April: Dale Earnhardt Jnr (Chevrolet), Kurt Busch (Dodge) and Brian Vickers (Toyota). In Earnhardt’s words:

I helped tyre test here [so] blame it all on me if you want to. But when I was here, [the tyres] were wearing out in five laps, too.

Despite their pre-race testing NASCAR’s tyres were wearing out exceptionally quickly. Whereas the F1 tyres were failing because of problems with the sidewalls, Goodyear simply couldn’t make their tyres last. As with F1, they had been caught out by a fundamental change in the rules in the time since the last race was run. In this case, the switch to NASCAR’s new ‘Car of Tomorrow’ chassis.

The NASCAR solution

Goodyear handed out extra sets of tyres to its teams and flew in a different variation of the same tyre construction, as used at Pocono, to use as an alternative if needed. NASCAR told the teams there would be a ‘caution’ (yellow flag) period on lap ten at which point tyres could be changed.

There were hopes that, as more rubber was laid on the track, the problem would be eased. But this turned out not to be the case. The 400 mile race saw 11 separate caution periods for 53 of the 160 laps. The longest green flag run lasted only 14 laps (and a lap on a NASCAR oval takes less time than a lap of a typical F1 track).

The race was essentially decided by the race to the pit lane exit at the final caution period. So was this the best NASCAR could have done under the circumstances? And does it show how F1 might have done better?

Any lessons for F1?

Part of the problem for F1 in 2005 was that if anything had been done to help the Michelin teams race, something had to be done to sweeten the deal for the Bridgestone teams, who had turned up with the right rubber in the first place.

NASCAR didn’t have to worry about that this weekend, and nor would F1 if it happened to them tomorrow, as it too now has only one tyre supplier. (Partly, some would say, as a consequence of Mosley’s vindictive action against Michelin).

The idea of having a mandatory caution period after a set number of laps was not considered in 2005 and it probably wouldn’t have helped anyway. The Michelin tyres were not failing because of wear, the problem was the sidewall construction.

So in a sense the problem NASCAR had to surmount was not as complicated as the one that F1 faced three years ago. But that does not excuse those responsible for running F1 from failing to find a solution. However NASCAR and Goodyear must feel embarrassed about having known about the problem for three months but not fixed it.

It might not have been much of a race at Indianapolis yesterday, but it was still a race of sorts. Was F1’s six-car farce really any better?

Thanks to Gman for some linke that were very useful in writing this article. Extra detail from NASCAR fans who can provide more information is especially welcome.

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Winner Michael Schumache defended the \'race\' afterwards
Winner Michael Schumache defended the 'race' afterwards

40 comments on “NASCAR has its own ‘Indianapolis 2005’ – but the race goes on”

  1. Now the question of who was responsible for the ’05 USGP debacle is very clear. Max couldn’t possibly have spanked Michelin any harder, could he? Not to mention all of the Michelin customer teams. Multiple butt beatings and all at once.

    Bernie and Tony George tried any number of reasonable compromise solutions that good old Max would have none of. All of the paying customers could have seen a race, but Max was too consumed with punitive punishment to the non-favored F1 players.

    As for yesterdays “race” at Indy, it too was an embarrassment, and while more boring than a usual oval race, at least the sanctioning body made attempts to put on a show of some kind. Not very satisfying, granted, but better than watching six cars as opposed to a full field compared to what happened at the USGP.

  2. I think as painful as it was to watch yesterday, Nascar did do this for the safety of the drivers. I commend them for that.

    Although they knew about the tire(tyre)issues when testing, it was only three cars on the track and I think they thought that once 42 cars ran through practice qually and into the race that the track would have rubbered up.

    Instead it looks like the compound used was too hard. Instead of the rubber heating up and sticking to the surface it simply turned to dust. It was like taking a rubber eraser to sandpaper. The track looked like a black beach by the finish.

    It could have been much worse, a couple of drivers did blow out tires and it wasn’t pretty. Nascar has become a fairly safe sport since 2001, but a blown tire at 200mph could have easily taken a life.

  3. Robert McKay
    28th July 2008, 22:27

    “As for yesterdays “race” at Indy, it too was an embarrassment, and while more boring than a usual oval race, at least the sanctioning body made attempts to put on a show of some kind. Not very satisfying, granted, but better than watching six cars as opposed to a full field compared to what happened at the USGP.”

    That is, with all due respect, totally subjective. I watched the NASCAR debacle yesterday and it was equally as stupid as F1’s situation. In some ways it was worse, because the competition yellows were the governing body acknowledging the tyres were unsafe and making the drivers race anyway – and given that some big blow-outs DID occur, someone could have been punted heavily into a wall and injured. And for all that risk, the race was rendered completely and utterly pointless – a lottery of who would make it to the end of each “segment” of tyre failure. They couldn’t even run each short 10 lap stint at full pace, as the tyres would only last flat out for 6 laps roughly. And the only way NASCAR could get to the end of the race was by deliberately extending the caution periods by a few laps even though there was no debris to clear, and to make up rules on the fly by closing the pitlane to stoppers a couple of laps BEFORE their designated tyre change. In the end it came down to a couple of laps at the end, which is arguably what most NASCAR races boil down to but this wasn’t even an attempt to be subtle about it. I know America is all about “the show”, but what kind of a show was that? A complete waste of everyone’s time.

    With regards to F1, the difference was that the (Michelin) F1 teams had the balls to stand up to the governing body, say loudly and clearly “we cannot and will not race” and take the consequences. The NASCAR teams clearly were too scared of making a scene about it, either from a sponsors point of view or from the bigwigs coming down on them point of view. As Sky pointed out, a driver (the name escapes me) who was incredibly scathing about Goodyear a few months back suddenly became very supportive, now that he’s a team manager.

    All in all both codes completely failed to achieve a satisfactory resolution, in my view. But in both situations there was an element of inevitability about what was going to need to happen. The European mentality was to pack up and go home, and the American mentality was to muddle through somehow to maintain the illusion of show. Both were wrong.

  4. Sorry Robert McKay, while I see your point I can’t agree with it. At least there were 200,000 fans who got to see some kind of show yesterday as opposed to the F1 fans who saw 6 cars in ’05. Do you really think that was better?

    Would you have canceled the event and sent those people home? They attempted to make the best of a bad situation.

    The difference in how the two problems were resolved was based on the fact that NASCAR is fan friendly (and yes, sponsor conscious) and would do anything within safety parameters to put on a race whereas Max could care less about who shows up at a race and what they get to watch.
    Max forced the pack up and go home option, not the teams or drivers.

  5. GeorgeK – when you say “Max could care less about who shows up at a race and what they get to watch” am I right in saying you mean he ‘couldn’t care less’?

    At least there were 200,000 fans who got to see some kind of show yesterday as opposed to the F1 fans who saw 6 cars in ‘05.

    I see your point, but here’s something that just occured to me. I think the ‘race’ NASCAR put on yesterday was much closer to the sort of racing NASCAR fans are used to than if you saw the same sort of thing at an F1 track. By which I mean very regular safety car interruptions.

  6. Robert McKay
    28th July 2008, 23:04

    “Would you have canceled the event and sent those people home? They attempted to make the best of a bad situation.”

    I don’t doubt that. But if it rains before or during a NASCAR race, noone says “let’s plow on for the sake of the show and the fans”, they say, quite sensibly, let’s reschedule this. So NASCAR fans are used to the show not going on, under special circumstances. I don’t know what they do – I presume they make the tickets valid for another day or offer refunds.

    To be honest, all I can ask is that the hardcore NASCAR fans tell us their view, which might not be likely to be seen on an F1 forum. If they all say “well, we got a rotten race, but at least we got some and I’m happy that I got value for the money I paid” then I’ll defer to that. If they all say “that was a shambles and it should have been done differently as it wasn’t worth the money” then again, fair enough. I guess the mentality is different.

    To be frank, the very fact that they could get away with running the race like that tells you a lot about the actual style of the racing, as Keith says.

  7. One thing I’ve always wondered -this might sound a bit ridiculous – is why it wasn’t insisted that everyone run on Bridgestone tyres , even if they normally are supplied by Michelin.Brigestone tyres can’t be so fundamentally different to Michelins that cars would only run on one manufacturer’s tyres and not the other.

    It’s perfectly clear in both cases (especially the latter with the single supplier) that the races should have been postponed until decent tyres were found.With everything driven by TV and sponsors that would never happen these days – look at the debacle with the Safety Car in Fuji last year.

  8. I think Nascar’s solution was terrible but at least it was something their fans are accustomed to seeing: full cautions. Had Indianapolis installed a tire chicane at the 11th hour to slow the last turn (a practice familiar to F1 fans, and honestly equally terrible), 2005 may have at least had all the cars running.

    I have to admit I didn’t get to watch the race because I worked that day. I didn’t know that the Michelin cars were lined up on the grid and paraded. How terrible the rash of withdrawals must have seemed to the spectators.

  9. “As Sky pointed out, a driver (the name escapes me) who was incredibly scathing about Goodyear a few months back suddenly became very supportive, now that he’s a team manager.”
    That would be Tony Steward, who purchased 50% of a small team. I believe his words were ” After that race I wouldn’t put Goodyear tires on any of my

    Pit stops in NASCAR are nothing like stops in F1, there is some risk and incredible skill involved that even if the racing sucked it was far from a lottery. The winner, Jimmie Johnson, has the best overall team. That’s why he won yesterday.

    I’m starting to sense a little bias here, I think people are ripping NASCAR simply because they don’t enjoy it.

  10. Simply switching tires wouldn’t work. Teams spend countless hours and money on developing their car according to tire characteristics, so switching tires would upset the balance of the car.

  11. plus the fact that Michelen may not want other teams to sport a different manufacturer’s tyres on their contracts.

    2005 could have been avoided with the tyre chicane. And it could have happened if both Jordan and Minardi not gone out to the race. Imagine a two car race with the Ferrari’s it would have made both Max and Ferrari look like the culprits and absolute idiots.

  12. Dan, yup that’s Tony Stewart, who’s becoming a team owner starting next year.

    But I think NASCAR’s solution was, well, even worse than F1’s. If safety was why they did all this, there were still big crashes. If someone got hurt, or worse, that would make this big problem even bigger. In the end, the risks should’ve outweighed the show.

  13. I don’t mean to beat the same old drum here, but I can remember the reaction of a lot of fans back in 1994 after Roland Ratzenberger was killed. The vast majority, and I mean vast, did not want the race to go ahead the following day.
    Plenty of the teams didn’t, and infamously, plenty of the drivers had their reservations. The result, was the loss of one of the sport’s most acclaimed drivers, that would cast such a big shadow.
    Fast forward eleven years. Here is F1, in a simular situation without the horrible outcome of Imola. Should we risk it, should we not?
    After Imola 1994, many people criticised F1’s insistance on racing that weekend, for the sake of ‘putting on a show’. This opinion of Imola 1994 still persists to this day among fans worldwide.
    In 2005, F1 chose the opposite route. Although Ralf Schumacher escaped injury following his 190mph crash, the chances of a repeat were still too high. A simular crash in race conditions, would almost certainly lead to a huge pileup and the almost certain loss of life among those involved.
    As embarrassing and damaging an episode it was to F1’s credibility and standing in America, I will always believe that by not racing, the right decision was made.
    By racing at Imola in 1994, F1 had risked everything and in the process, suffered far greater long term implications than in Indianapolis a decade later.
    As for NASCAR, the situation is very much different.
    Sprint Cup cars are designed, fundamentally to race, on the superfast oval tracks such as Indianapolis, Daytona, Talladega, and so on. For F1, driving the high banked corners of an American oval was somewhat of a novalty. For NASCAR, it is their bread and butter.
    The situation that NASCAR found themselves in surprised me, in that they should be ‘experts’ on running these of type circuits. The ‘Car Of Tomorrow’ or C.O.T. has been extensively used for the better part of a year now, on tracks every bit as daunting as Indianapolis.
    This episode goes to show, that maybe we were all a little too harsh on F1 three years ago. It would seem that nobody is immune from the odd embarrassment once in a while.
    As for the race, if you could call it that, still went on in the rather ‘vain’ hope of saving face. As at Imola in 1994, the temptation to put on a show and make some money proved just too much for those involved.

  14. While I’m not much of a NASCAR fan, the debacle yesterday has gotten plenty of mainstream sports media attention here in the U.S., and I did catch a good portion of the race on TV. To me, both 2005 and 2008 were a case of very poor planning by the tire companies involved, and it would not be an easy to find anything close to a perfect solution to either event.

    Indeed, NASCAR races normally are decided towards the end, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the decision to race with the yellow flags yesterday. To me, it was all about giving the fans and sponsors something to see to get their money worth. If the “pack up and go home” option had been used for the entire field yesterday, you can forget the trash being thrown from the stands in ’05- the 200,000 or so NASCAR faithful would have torn down the fences and stormed the paddock (if it’s called that in NASCAR-speak) to find the guilty parties.

    In the end, I think NASCAR was a success where F1 failed, in finding a comprimise to put on a reasonably good show. If the chicane/forfit points option had been used in 2005, it would have been a black eye for the sport in America, but not the crippling blow that many now make it out to be.

  15. If I may, just two brief insights that could be applied to this case. First, it is worth noting that NASCAR is the bread-and-butter of American motorsports, and even if the 2005 situation had played out with the NASCAR field, the sport would still remain ultra-strong over here. With F1, it seems as though many people(not on here, much to the creidt of you fine people) seem to look for excuses for F1 to fail in America, and Indy 2005 will always be the perfect amunition for that crowd. My point here is that the series involved in the racing makes a difference, and sadly, F1 and it’s fans will always be grilled far more for 2005 than anyone in NASCAR will be over this event.

    Second, as I was watching yesterday, I was wondering about the logistical side of things. NASCAR dosen’t race in the rain, and one in awhile a race will be pushed back to Monday to allow for safe conditions. While this is not the obvious first choice, I was wondering if NASCAR could have postponed the race a day and had proper tires flown in. I don’t know a darned thing about tire manufacturing and logistics, so perhaps some of you with more viewing experience could discuss if this was/is a viable option?

  16. Gman, Michelin discussed this as a possibility in 2005, but couldn’t do so because of the rules. But from what I understand, both the Goodyear softs and hards didn’t work here. It may be the cause of the tyre failures were down to the fundamentals of the Goodyear tyre construction, which would mean flying new tyres may not solve the problem so easily.

  17. My understanding of the Goodyear problem is simply that the CORN (Car of Right Now) doesn’t generate as much downforce as the past design and therefore relies too much on the tires to generate grip.

    The small victory here is that Nascar managed to run a race in such a way that nobody had to abandon the event and nobody got hurt either. It wasn’t a perfect solution (tires that grip at speed) but it did the job for the moment.

    I think the typical Nascar way of preventing this problem next year is to use a smaller restrictor plate to bring the speeds down. Allowing more downforce in the wings and splitters might help too.

  18. I think Nascar missed a golden opportunity Sunday. Everyone was on the same tires unlike the 2005 F1 race. Everyone was subject to the same conditions. All the teams were aware they couldn’t drive but 10 – 12 laps on the tires, why not after the first two competition yellows let them come in as they see fit. Green flag pit stops every 10 – 15 laps, some drivers actually willing to take a chance and push for that extra lap. To me it’s no different when a driver opts to run slick tires while the track is still drying. It’s risk vs reward. Motor racing is still and always will be a dangerous sport. No matter how safe you try to make it, there is always the inevitable. This could have possibly been a great race, ans being so close to the “chase” it could have shaken every thing up

  19. F1 fanatics? A surprising number of regulars seem well versed in NASCAR !

  20. Re the 2005 race, if I was bridgestone I would have offered my tyres to the michellin teams, to allow the race to go on.

    would have had major kudos points for future too, not to mention a slap in the face for michelin.

  21. I think this situation can happen again in F1, and that the FIA are in no position to do anything about it.
    Bridgestone are the only tyre supplier, and there has been at least one race this season where they admitted they had brought the wrong tyre and the teams had to live with it.
    What happens if they go to Valencia or Singapore (both new circuits this year) with the wrong tyre and have to refuse to let the cars out on track (as Michelin did in 05)? Would Bernie and Max give them the time to fly in the right tyres? (unlike 05). Or would they refund the fans (and the teams) for a wasted weekend?

  22. Robert Mckay
    29th July 2008, 8:27

    “I’m starting to sense a little bias here, I think people are ripping NASCAR simply because they don’t enjoy it.”

    I think that’s unfair. I know myself I’ve written an article for this site extolling some of the virtues and things NASCAR gets right that F1 could learn a few lessons from. But surely even the most ardent NASCAR fan would have to admit that that “race” was pretty farcical.

    I was equally scathing of F1’s abominable US GP disaster (if not more so, being a bigger fan). I appreciate that things are done differently in America, so like I said before if the NASCAR fans were happy with what they got then fine.

  23. NASCAR fans weren’t happy. Not even close.

    I highly recommend reading the article in whole. The most stunning paragraph for me:

    “Other callers invoked the memories of the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix, also held at Indy, when all but six cars pulled off the track before the green flag over concerns that Michelin’s race tire wouldn’t hold up.
    ‘That was the worst race of all time,’ one radio caller declared. ‘Until today.’
    Ouch. ”

    What else needs to be said?

  24. Like Keith said, Sunday’s race wasn’t that strange, as all NASCAR races have numerous cautions. Quite pathetic though, the commentators often say “caution for debris”, when there isn’t any.

    I know F1 can be boring, but at least the officials don’t call safety car when they feel like it. That’s one reason why I cannot respect NASCAR drivers as much as F1 drivers, the NASCAR races have so many unnecessary cautions. In F1 the drivers have to be on the limit for every lap, except when a genuine incident occurs. No fake SC periods.

  25. Sav22, I respect the NASCAR drivers, who I don’t respect as much is the NASCAR rulemakers… Hmmm… Kinda like the F1 rulemakers then?

  26. Well the drivers often have long breaks with the cautions, don’t they?

    Of course guys like Stewart and Kyle Bush I do have respect for, as they risk there lives and have great talent. But in most F1 races there aren’t any SC periods, let alone fake ones for no apparent reason. So F1 drivers have to drive fast for every single lap. Not get a fake SC period every now and then.

  27. It seems a strange decision for NASCAR to opt for regular cautions. All the teams knew that they could last 10 maybe 12 laps green flag.
    Now what’s the difference between knowing that info and knowing that a regular race they could do 40 to 50 laps green flag? None!
    Would NASCAR throw a yellow in another race because teams were risking their tyres by running them too long? No they wouldn’t.
    Therefore let the teams decide and they can then adapt their strategy. Goodyear brought extra tyres with them to help this.
    So then the teams run with less fuel and run as many laps as the tyres can hold (i.e: 10 to 12 laps) and then pit under green.
    Some drivers down the grid may risk running a bit slower and going extra laps to save on pit stops.
    The race would be won by team strategy, or is that making it too F1 for them? :D
    I guess the problem is they called it the “Sprint Cup” and it would be more endurance racing for them.

  28. I guess the reason for the mandatory cautions was that they were trying to minimize teams trying to stay out too long – which, if they weren’t careful, could cause HUGE blowouts. Those blowouts could even trigger “big ones” – massive pileups that take out more than a dozen cars!

    And that would’ve caused a lot of headaches for NASCAR if anyone got hurt.

  29. Chalky – Perhaps without the cautions they wouldn’t have had enough tyres? If they changed tyres every ten laps that’s 16 sets of tyres in a 160-lap race, and I think they had 10. Goodyear brought in the tyres for the Pocono race as a reserve in case they ran out.

  30. At least NASCAR tried a solution to their problem, even if it wasn’t satisfactory to the spectators. That way they can learn from it and do better next time. That’s a stage further than F1 got when it had a tyre problem…

  31. By the way, the 2005 United States Grand Prix review link goes to “Should F1 teams test before racing?”, which although relevant, is probably not what Keith intended.

  32. Fixed, thanks :-)

  33. Safety must still be a priority above “the show” , so they should always have a “plan B” in the FIA rules , to ensure in situations like that , that all cars can still take to the track and provide entertainment to the public. With the 2005 US GP , all they should have done was force the Michelin runners to do one (or two if necessary for tyre wear) extra stops (additional to fuel stops) , that would have been the penalty , otherwise they would have been racing flat out (even harder than the Bridgestone runners) and probably provided an even more interesting race. And there must have been a dozen or so alternatives . But as some say above , maybe Max saw this as an opportunity to figuratively cane some Michelin bottoms .

  34. Keith – fair point about running out of tyres. But if you only had 10 sets of tyres per team for a 160lap race, then the teams would need to work out what speed to run to make them last 16 laps. Only 4 to 6 laps more than flat out pace.

    It’s common sense really and I thought most racing drivers understood about driving a bit slower to preserve their tyres. Well endurance LMP \ GT racers do.
    Unless NASCAR drivers and teams can’t drive slower as they thought it wouldn’t be so spectacular?

  35. As much as the 2005 F1 race was a joke, as was the 2008 NASCAR race at indy. Possibly worse since Goodyear actually tested at the track, with the CORN, COTD or whatever you want to call the new spec chassis. They knew what was coming! They hoped that the track would just rubber-in. Just like I hope the government forgets to ask me for my income tax.

    I still have doubts on the 2005 it-was-Michelins-fault story. Toyota had been running very aggressive rear suspension setups, which at the least aggravated the problem. No other Michelin runner had issues.

    Journeyer, but there were blowouts! Kenseth for one. The Harvick-Newman (or was is the Blue deuce) looked like a lack-of-traction thing to me. And about a half dozen drivers who just had to suddenly “woah-up” because the tire fell off so fast.

    Sush, Bridgestone would not have had enough tires to supply all teams. By the regulations they would have needed to be able to supply at least 60% of the teams. However, I am not sure if that means they need actual on-site tire supplies for 0% of the teams or that their production capacity can handle it.

    As for the drivers complaining, especially Stewart who loves to whine and moan, NASCAR had a meeting 4-5-6-7 weeks ago about this. In the NASCAT media the meeting was labled as a shut-up-and-drive meeting. Keep your complaints in the NASCAR family. (i.e. complain to your crew-cheif, to your boss. Pass it up the line) Otherwise they would get whacked with a violation of rule 12-4-A Actions Detrimental To Stock Car Racing.

    I think the worse in all this is the NASCAR media who are yelling “The fans got a race, they saw a competitive finish.” Well, NASCAR should have shortened the race by 150 laps and had a 10 lap race. Everyone knew that that there would never have been more than 10 laps of green-flag racing.

    While I agree that the honourable thing would have been to cancel the race, there are logistical reasons for not doing it. We saw some of the consequences in 2005, with people throwing stuff on the track. Imagine turning loose 150-200K people, some surely well-pickled, most surely angered, in to what is essentially a residential neighborhood. It is somewhat akin to the 1955 Le Mans crash. They didn’t cancel the race, otherwise the rush of outgoing people would have prevented emergency personel comming in.

  36. michael counsell
    29th July 2008, 13:27

    I bet the IRL feels justified now in having a whole month of practise before the Indy 500. Any tyre problems would be discovered and actions taken well before the race.

  37. Number 38.

    I am not surprised by the number of people on this debate who are well versed in NASCAR, or any other series. It shows the general love of all motorsports amongst those who frequent this site.
    My main love, has and always will be Formula One, but I do on occasion follow other motorsports series and enjoy comparing them with Formula One.


    In a few brief sentences you have summed up how I felt about Indianapolis 2005. Why didn’t the teams use Bridgestones if they were the correct tyre to be on?
    That to me, at the time, seemed a no brainer too.
    There must have been strong reasons for why the Michelin shod teams chose ‘NOT’ to do this, reasons we will never get to know.

  38. “Journeyer, but there were blowouts! Kenseth for one. The Harvick-Newman (or was is the Blue deuce) looked like a lack-of-traction thing to me. And about a half dozen drivers who just had to suddenly “woah-up” because the tire fell off so fast.”

    Exactly my point, Bert. As I implied earlier, the mandatory cautions may have lessened, but didn’t fully eliminate the problem. Which makes it an unsatisfactory solution, and thus, a worse approach than F1’s.

    “Why didn’t the teams use Bridgestones if they were the correct tyre to be on? That to me, at the time, seemed a no brainer too.”

    Twofold answer, the limit.
    1. Modern F1 cars are designed around the tyres. You can’t just stick a Michelin car onto Bridgestones and expect it to work decently, let alone work well. Modern F1 cars are too sensitive to such things, and it could cause spinouts and huge crashes or accidents.
    2. All the teams have commercial agreements with Michelin. They just can’t switch onto Bridgestones. But if the teams really wanted to, I’m sure there’d have been some loophole for them. But the 1st reason makes much sense – and it’s something the teams, sensibly enough, don’t want to risk.

  39. Oh, best Indy 2005 solution for me: put a chicane in Turn 13, but only Bridgestone runners can score.

    In case this becomes an issue. :)

  40. Joe Saward at reckons NASCAR’s decision:

    Kept the fans amused. They went home happy.

    Formula 1 may like to think of itself superior to other form of motorsport but there is no doubt that it can learn lessons from other championships.

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