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If they can't bother, why should we?

NEWS STORY
19/06/2005

With 45 minutes remaining before the lights turn green for today's United States Grand Prix, it is still wholly uncertain as to whether the event will happen.

The Michelin tyre saga rumbles on, however in a new twist it appears that Ferrari is the villain of the peace.

The FIA is standing firm. Michelin wants its 7 teams to use new tyres that have been flown in from France overnight, claiming that the tyre used in qualifying were unsafe. The FIA says that this is against the rules.

Therefore Michelin has said that in order to be safe, a chicane should be placed at Turn 13 - the banked curve where Ralf Schumacher crashed on Friday - in order to slow the cars. The FIA says that this would be unfair to the Bridgestone runners.

We can reveal that the FIA offered to place a speed-trap at Turn 13 - similar to that used in the pits - which would have caused the cars to slow, but this was not acceptable.

In the latest round of meeting, it's understood that nine teams have agreed to a chicane being introduced, this has the support of the Indianapolis motor speedway and indeed the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA).

However it is the FIA, the governing body of World motorsport that decides whether a chicane is installed, not Ferrari, not the GPDA, not the IMS and not the nine teams.

What was a safety issue has now - surprise, surprise - become a political issue, with Ferrari being portrayed as the 'baddies'.

The simple truth is that Michelin came to Indianapolis with a tyre that proved to be unsafe. The only way to resolve the issue would mean compromising the regulations. Without wishing to appear biased, one must ask what the situation if the boot was on the other foot - no pun intended - and if it was the Bridgestone on the Ferraris that were unsafe?

As the clock continues ticking, Bernie Ecclestone attempts to do a deal, whilst Max Mosley keeps an eye on events from Monte Carlo.

With 35 minutes remaining, McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh confirms that the race will go ahead, but only if the chicane is in place. No chicane, no race. The drivers are ready, in their overalls, and will climb into their cars as normal, however, if there is no chicane in place when they go out, there will be no race.

This is not a good day for F1, and it couldn't have happened in a worse place - as F1 struggles to gain a foothold in the USA. However, it is the way in which a safety issue has been twisted into something political that really galls.

The sad fact is that no matter what happens today, it is the fans and their beloved sport that suffer.

The two Ferraris leave the pits to take their place on the dummy grid.

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