Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
June 21, 2005

F1 bookies glum
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) The costs will now be counted of Sunday's ludicrous US grand prix.

Forget compensation, lawsuits, penalties and share prices, even the bookies were frowning as Indy boss Tony George refused to wave the Checker.

An Australian bookmaker said he lost $100,000 because racers like Tiago Monteiro ended on the podium, and Patrick Friesacher in the points.

''It became obvious about five hours before the race,'' 'Centrebet' official Gerard Daffy told the Townsville Bulletin.

''There was all this money (being wagered) for blokes who would normally be driving taxis.''

FIA summon Michelin teams
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) F1's seven Michelin shod teams will be hauled in front of the FIA world motor sport council next Wednesday (June 29).

It is expected that they will face a combined charge of bringing the sport into disrepute by failing to contest Sunday's Indy grand prix.

''I think Michelin and the seven teams should compensate the fans,'' FIA president Max Mosley reportedly told the media.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, though, saved his ire for the French tire supplier, who did not bring a suitable product to the US.

''If the teams are penalized at the (hearing),'' the 74-year-old claimed, ''I suppose they could seek redress from Michelin.''

Meanwhile, F1 legend and winner of 16 grands prix, Sir Stirling Moss, said: ''After an apology of an event ... I am so embarrassed for Formula One.

''We were let down by Michelin.''

Chicane idea 'ridiculous'
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) Ferrari's Jean Todt has denied that he formally objected to the construction of a temporary chicane at Indy.

The Maranello chief said he was 'never involved' in a discussion, apart from with Bernie Ecclestone, but confirmed that he objected anyway.

''We were never asked about that,'' said Todt, a Frenchman.

''But is it serious to put in a chicane without testing it? It's ridiculous.''

Jean Todt said making rules and modifying circuits is a matter for the FIA, not Bernie or a bunch of crisis ridden teams.

''Imagine if we asked for two more laps in qualifying because we have better speed on the third lap.

''Everybody would laugh at us.

''You have to be prepared. If we knew beforehand that there would be a chicane, we would come with different tires.

''Why should we compromise? This has been a hard hit for F1.''

A 'screw up', says Frank
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) Sir Frank Williams has described the bizarre United States grand prix as a rare 'screw up'.

''We were desperate to race. We would have done anything,'' he told BBC radio 5-Live.

''We would have been happy to score no points and start at the back. Racing in North America is fundamental to Formula One's commercial health.''

With all the beer-can hurling and 'f**k you Michelin' t-shirts, then, it is reported that the Michelin teams now face a whopping bill -- from Indy and disgruntled sponsors.

But Sir Frank said his sponsors had been 'sympathetic' and knew the reality of allowing unsafe tires to round 300km/h banking.

Williams referred to protégé Piers Courage's 1970 death, and the infamous Ayrton Senna shunt.

''Ralf (Schumacher) narrowly escaped permanent paralysis (at Indy) when he hit the wall.''

He also exonerated the 'totally innocent' Ferrari team, whose Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello were booed on the podium.

'Kimi could've won' - Haug
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) Mercedes' Norbert Haug said Kimi Raikkonen should have won the United States grand prix.

The German told TV network 'Premiere Sport' that he not only feels sorry for the American public, but for a Finn who might have ended up with Michael Schumacher's trophy.

''As a team we are also disappointed,'' said the boss of McLaren's engine partner, ''because a win was well on the way.''

But Haug also defended Michelin, on whose tires Raikkonen has already won three grands prix this season.

''Indianapolis aside,'' Norbert insisted, ''they have been doing a very, very good job.''

'F1 can stomach Indy crisis'
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) F1 slapped faces and tore up relationships by presenting an insulting farce to the American public at the weekend.

''It was a slap in the face for (Indy boss) Tony George,'' said team chief Peter Sauber.

Similarly, 'Indy Star' newspaper columnist Bob Kravitz summed up the Monday press' sentiments by claiming that the US grand prix is 'done.'

''Forget what any contract might say. (F1 has) torn apart every relationship and lost all the credibility it needed.''

He said: ''F1 wrote itself a one way ticket out of Indianapolis.''

Swiss-German Sauber, though, doubts that the calamity - while damaging in the crucial North American market - will have a lasting impression elsewhere.

He said: ''F1 is such a strong, global sport that it can stomach a blemish like this.''

The statistics tend to agree.

Around four million people stayed glued to Britain's prime time ITV Indy coverage, which was down on Canada but double the Nurburgring audience.

Indy-fever is not contagious
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) Fear not; Indy-fever is not catching.

That is the assurance of France's Magny Cours, scene of the next grand prix, and Canada, Indianapolis' fellow North American F1 calendar stop.

French promoter 'Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile' released a statement outlining 'assurances from Michelin' that a twenty car grid will line up at the race next month.

''The ... situation was exceptional to ... Indianapolis,'' it stated, ''due to it's ... banked ... corner.

''(Magny Cours) ... is well known to Michelin technicians.''

Canadian grand prix promoter Normand Legault, meanwhile, said Sunday had been a 'source of anxiety' for F1 promoters all over the calendar.

''We believe (Tony George) cannot in any way be held responsible for (Sunday's) incident.''

Legault said he would urgently seek 'clear assurances' that a similar occurrence 'will never be repeated.'

Teams, Michelin, not to blame
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell has sided with Michelin in the blame-game surrounding Sunday's Indianapolis debacle.

The Briton, who tried America's Indy Car series after securing the F1 title, told the 'Daily Mail' that the French tire supplier was 'very brave' to block teams from racing at the fabled Brickyard.

''And you cannot really blame the teams,'' Mansell, now 51, added, ''who had to react to advice.

''I had some spectacular tire failures during my career,'' he said, including a 1986 blow out on the Adelaide straight that cost him a title.

''You don't mess about with safety. The simple and effective compromise was a chicane,'' Nigel Mansell concluded.

Rubens' glum face
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) An Indy farce was one reason for Rubens Barrichello's glum expression on the post race podium.

Some said the Brazilian was also peeved about his near collision with teammate Michael Schumacher in turn one.

As 33-year-old Rubens' team cohort exited the pitlane, he was forced onto the grass to avoid contact.

''It was very close,'' the sullen driver, who had earlier led the race from Michael Schumacher, admitted.

''All of a sudden he was coming and I had to try to stay in front. But I couldn't make the corner.

''I'm disappointed because I pushed like hell. I'm going to sleep well because I tried.

''But I don't know if I'm happy.''

Schumacher, 36, agreed that their grassy moment in the six car race had been 'very close.

''But there was no contact. Both of us race up to the limit but try to avoid contact,'' said the world champion.

'Formula Zero' - press
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) The world's press joined America in condemning the six car grand prix 'farce' at Indianapolis.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, so eager for a scarlet triumph, said a Michelin team boycott was not the way to achieve it.

''That was a farce,'' the newspaper proclaimed.

'Tuttosport' slammed fourteen apparently craven drivers for failing to stand up to bosses' orders to sit the race out.

''If they think motor racing is too dangerous,'' the editorial claimed, ''perhaps they should look for a new job.''

L'Equipe (France) ran with the headline 'Formula Zero', while Spanish title 'El Pais' said Indianapolis - the magnificent scene of motor racing history - witnessed a 'joke.'

''Michael Schumacher wins the Pantomime,'' 'Marca' proclaimed.

Indy lawsuits filed
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) Following Sunday's offensive United States grand prix, the first lawsuits have been filed.

The American 'Eyewitness News' says a Colorado man filed a class action against Formula One, Michelin, and the fabled 'Brickyard' circuit.

He is seeking a refund, expenses and unknown punitive damages.

In the 'Marion County' court, meanwhile, Jim Miller also filed a suit. ''It was utter confusion,'' he remarked of the race.

'''No one knew what was taking place.''

At Indiana's 'Motor Speedway' on Monday, hundreds of fans queued, demanding a full refund.

''Indy had nothing to do with it,'' said Indianapolis mayor Bart Peterson. ''It was a decision by others that had a negative impact on all of us.''

F1 team boss Peter Sauber, though, denied that the Michelin boycott had anything to do with America's traditionally litigious society.

''We would have reacted the same in other countries,'' he said.

'NASCAR wouldn't do this'
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.21) 'NASCAR wouldn't do this to us. Why Formula One?'

That complaint was heard in the Indy venue after all but six drivers took to the start line in Sunday's US grand prix.

''I don't think we'd be boneheaded about it,'' the American (NASCAR) series' vice president of communications, Jim Hunter, told USA Today.

''I'm not intimating that they're boneheaded.''

NASCAR driver Jeff Burton agrees that, even if a tire fault is a serious safety concern, it would've been sorted.

He blamed F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, or other bosses, for not having enough control.

''If you have a ... sport where the teams have too much control ... it's clear in NASCAR that NASCAR runs the deal.''

One example is Talladega 1969, when the drivers threatened not to race. In response, organizers found a full field of replacement drivers.

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