By Adam Cooper, England
Autosport-Atlas Contributing Writer
Imagine that the FIA would have agreed to install a chicane at Turn 13 in Indianapolis. Imagine that all the teams, including Ferrari, would have agreed to run the United States in extraordinary circumstances, for the sake of the viewing fans. Imagine that none of the embarassment that took place last Sunday actually happened. How would that look like? This is what the FIA could have announced, in an alternate universe, on Sunday morning at Indy
2005 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
In the light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding the tyres provided by Michelin for the United States Grand Prix, and following consultation with all competitors, Mr Bernie Ecclestone, Mr Tony George, Michelin and Bridgestone, the FIA has agreed to place a chicane on the approach to Turn 13. Subject to the final approval of the race director, the race will go ahead as planned, under the special conditions outlined below.
The FIA wishes to emphasise that it has introduced these emergency measures at short notice in order to provide the spectators at the circuit and TV viewers around the world with a show. It is to ensure that the image of the sport of Grand Prix racing does not suffer irreparable damage should the seven Michelin teams carry out their threat not to participate in this afternoon's race. These measures are not being taken to help Michelin or those seven teams.
Once again the FIA wishes to point out that this situation is entirely the responsibility of Michelin, and appropriate action may be taken in due course.
The FIA wishes to thank Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Jordan Grand Prix and Bridgestone for their generosity in agreeing with the measures outlined below when the situation was none of their own making.
The FIA also thanks BMW North America and Porsche AG for their understanding in allowing their second support races to be cancelled because of the work being carried out on the chicane. Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials are currently investigating the possibility of running the Porsche event after the Grand Prix.
The race director is currently working with the staff of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to finalise details of the chicane. When the work is considered complete a special 10-minute familiarisation session will be held to assess the results. In order to respect parc ferme conditions, only Robert Doornbos (Jordan Grand Prix) and Scott Speed (Red Bull Racing) will take part.
The drivers and teams concerned have agreed to provide any requested feedback to the other competitors as well as to the FIA. The time of this session will be announced in due course by the race director. If necessary, further short sessions may be scheduled to assess any modifications.
The normal race day schedule will operate from 12:30pm until 1:00pm. Drivers will be able to try the chicane on their reconnaissance lap.
In order to allow drivers to gain further experience of the chicane under controlled conditions, at 1:00pm the field will be released in the same manner as at an aborted start, except that the pole position driver will be expected to run close to race pace.
If he fails to do so, or any other driver fails to maintain a proper pace, the race director will ask the team concerned to request that the driver picks up his pace. Failure to comply may result in a penalty. This is to ensure that no driver runs slowly in an attempt to save fuel. No passing will be allowed during these three laps, which will count as part of the race, as per a safety car start.
At the end of the third lap the field will stop on the grid. Waved yellow flags will be shown from the entrance of Turn 13 until the start/finish line. Once the cars are in formation, the start procedure will continue as normal. This is to ensure that the public will see a proper racing start.
Yellow flags will be displayed on the entrance to the chicane for at least the first five racing laps. After that the race director reserves the right to withdraw the yellow flags if and when he sees fit. This will mainly be to facilitate the passing of lapped traffic. All drivers are reminded that in the circumstances any examples of dangerous driving or causing an unnecessary accident in the area of the chicane will be dealt with harshly, and may lead to exclusion from the next event.
The race director reserves the right to re-impose the yellow flags, according to circumstances. All teams will be notified immediately on the timing screens of any changes. It is their responsibility to inform the drivers as soon as possible. Instances of passing in the yellow flag zone will be taken very seriously.
Team are notified that any incidents at the chicane, including for example the dislodging of kerbing, are highly likely to require the use of a safety car. This is for the safety of marshals. In extreme cases a red flag may be used.
All normal parc ferme conditions will apply, with one exception. With the approval of the technical delegate, teams may make modifications to brake cooling ducts. Teams are reminded that they are free to adjust downforce levels in the pits once the race has started, should they so wish. They are already free to adjust front wings before the start under existing parc ferme rules.
In order not to penalise the teams that came to Indianapolis equipped with an appropriate tyre, the constructors' points shall be awarded only to Bridgestone teams. They shall be distributed, on condition that the cars concerned take the start, on the basis of the order established in qualifying:
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro: 1st and 2nd (18 points)
Jordan Grand Prix: 3rd and 5th (10 points)
Minardi F1 Team: 4th and 6th (8 points)
The points will be awarded at the start because it will be unfair if a Bridgestone car is eliminated or impeded due to an accident caused by a Michelin car. No seventh or eighth placed points will be awarded.
Because the FIA concedes that the drivers involved are innocent parties, and to preserve the sporting integrity of the World Championship, no drivers' points shall be awarded.
The commercial rights holder has agreed that in all financial matters relating to the Concorde Agreement the above order shall also be used. The highest classified Michelin runner in the race will be considered as finishing seventh, and so on.
Any competitors retiring from the race for no obvious reason may be required to explain their actions to the stewards.
All competitors are reminded that it is in their interest to thoroughly examine their tyres during pit stops for fuel. If they suspect a problem they should change tyres at that stop and take a drive through penalty on the next lap.
Tyre changes made with regard to safety which do not involve refuelling will not attract a penalty. The technical delegate will look favourably on any tyre changes made for genuine safety reasons, and no further penalties can be expected after the race.
If a competitor feels that it no longer has enough safe tyres in its allocation, it may of course use extra unmarked tyres. However, this will result in a time penalty to be added at the end of the race.
The qualifying order for the French GP shall be determined by the classification of the US GP, regardless of tyre supplier. This will provide all competitors with a suitable incentive to compete.
Indianapolis, 19 June 2005, 09:30am.