Sunday, June 19, 2005


Michelin, the tyres, and the bad publicity

Some of the IB members went today to the US Grand Prix of F1 at Indianapolis. It has been a remarkable unique Grand Prix. You may be already aware that no pilot or car has been the rising star of this race. The work of Michelin has put them in the hall of fame. They better adapt quickly, reliably, and accurately. A mistake like this can ruin a year of good work as fast as you snap your fingers.

Below you can find a fragment of one of the several letters that FIA and Michelin have been exchanging this weekend. You may find the letters here and here.

[...] We (FIA) are very surprised that this difficulty has arisen. As you (Michelin) know, each team is allowed to bring two different types of tyre to an event so as to ensure that a back-up (usually of lower performance) is available should problems occur. It is hard to understand why you (Michelin) have not supplied your teams with such a tyre given your years of experience at Indianapolis [....]


I'm brazilian and my country has a great history in Formula 1, only see the Biggest and Best pilot of all times, Ayrton Senna. I watched the race on TV and I thought that it was a very funny race, mainly because Portugal got its first podium in F1 with Tiago Vagaroso (the english translation of "Vagaroso" is "Slow", so you may call him Tiago Slow, very different of Scot Speed) in a race with just six cars. Barrichello was the same ever deception, sometimes I don't know if I support him, because he does not have the will to win.

What happened yesterday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a very shame fact, because US fans of F1, maybe, never will see again F1 with the same eyes/view and trust. That fact could be a knock-out punch in F1 and its plans to gain more fans in US.

About Michelin, well... I really don't understand the reasons that lead to the (Toyota's) tyres to work so badly, but we have to remember that the tyres were bad only with one team. Michelin is also the supplier of the Space Shuttle's tyres, so, it may mean that Michelin has a good experience with this kind of work. But, anyway, congratulations to the Bridgestone's japaneses, their tyres worked very well and showed no problems.

Até Mais!!

It was a really stupid decision to withdraw from the race. The Michelin teams could have changed tires after lap 10 (as the FIA letter suggested!).

Why boycott a race and give up the chance to make some points? Surely, changing tires early probably means an extra pit stop and lagging behind the Bridgestone teams, but by not racing the Michelin teams gave up any possibility of points. Really silly.

As an aside, I have never understood the lack of interest on F1 in the US. It seems people like watching cars going around in an oval (NASCAR), but do not seem to appreciate fine, aggresive, fast F1 driving. Yesterday I was trying to find the F1 race and found NASCAR and something about Champion cars. What the heck is that?
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