Sunday, June 19, 2005

Formula 1 Controversy

Wow, something really weird is going on today with the race. I just turned in about 15 minutes ago to catch the start of the Formula 1 grand prix in the US and watched all but 3 teams go into the pits right off the start. At first I ws a little confused and thought they all wanted to refuel or something, that it was a strategic advantage, but then I realized it was a protest. It all revolves around the tires, there's some stories starting to emerge on the net, the pre-race discussion, Michelin's plea to the teams not to race, and finally the result that only 6 cars are competing (3 teams, Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi who all use Bridgestone tires). Update: On ongoing news here since the Formula 1 website has crashed!

What a blow to Formula 1 who's been trying to break into the American racing market for years. The fans are pissed, so should they be! There's 140,000 paying customers that have wasted an entire weekend watching qualifying, paying for things at the stadium not to mention the cost of the tickets only to be handed a 6 car non-race. I wonder if the organizers will refund their money or maybe give freebies for next year? One of the fans has made a sign saying "black flag this race" (a black flag is used to tell a car they have been disqualified from the race). Some fans are throwing debri on the track, although that just punishes the 6 cars who actually DID decide to race!

This does have big implications on the point standings. If everything stands Ferrari will move into 3rd place in the constructors points, Micheal and Rubens will move into 3rd and 4th for drivers points (from 5th and 7th) and most interesting of all will be the first points for Minardi in the entire 5 years since I started following F1 that I can remember!

Is this the end of F1 in the US? How will this all play out? Is all publicity good publicity? Maybe this sparks some discussion in a sport that lost a lot of fan interest during the Ferrari dominance years. We'll see how this all plays out... Viva La Formula 1!

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