USA 2005 - Schumachers hollow victory 27 Jun 2006
The 2005 United States Grand Prix was highly memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. Things started to go awry in Friday practice, when Toyota suffered two left-rear Michelin tyre failures, one of which plunged Ralf Schumacher into the Indianapolis banking wall for the second year running. The German walked away from the wreckage, but subsequently pulled out of the meeting as a precautionary measure, leaving Ricardo Zonta to take his place.
Saturday morning and Michelin still hadnt found the cause of the failures, so running from their teams was minimal, just two cars completing a timed lap in the first session. Things looked to be back on track for the second, once Michelin had issued revised pressure and camber recommendations to ensure the safety of their tyres. Toyota used them to good effect in qualifying, bouncing back to take their first Formula One pole courtesy of Jarno Trulli.
Come Sunday morning and it was clear this was not going to be a normal race day. Michelin, still puzzled by the Friday failures, told the FIA they wouldnt allow the teams to compete on the tyres as they couldnt be sure of their safety over a race distance through the banked Turn 13. A series of heated meetings followed with all parties involved offering up a number of compromise solutions, none of which could be agreed on. With literally minutes remaining before the start, the seven Michelin teams declared they would only race if a chicane was inserted ahead of the banking. They took to the grid, completed a parade lap and then, with no chicane forthcoming, promptly returned to the pits to retire, much to the chagrin of the American fans.
That left a six-car field - the three Bridgestone teams - and predictably the result was a Ferrari one-two, Michael Schumacher edging ahead of Rubens Barrichello after their second pit stops. A delighted Tiago Monteiro scored his first podium for Jordan, while team mate Narain Karthikeyan and both Minardi men - Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher - took their first points. Not surprisingly, however, it was not the result that provoked the huge coverage in Mondays press.
Michelin apologised for having failed to bring suitable tyres to the event, but that didnt stop the FIA charging their teams with damaging the sports reputation and calling them before the World Motor Sport Council to explain why they had failed to race. Those charges were later dropped, with Michelin accepting full responsibility and refunding fans their race tickets.
Links: Results / Live Timing Archive, Photos, TV images.