SCHUMACHER LEADS FERRARI 1-2 FINISH IN SHORT USGP FIELD INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, June 19, 2005 - Michael Schumacher earned his fourth United States Grand Prix victory, leading 51 of 73 laps in his Ferrari on June 19 at the Indianapolis Motor ...
SCHUMACHER LEADS FERRARI 1-2 FINISH IN SHORT USGP FIELD
INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, June 19, 2005 - Michael Schumacher earned his fourth United States Grand Prix victory, leading 51 of 73 laps in his Ferrari on June 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The victory came in a six-car starting field after seven of the 10 Formula One teams - representing 14 cars - elected not to race after Michelin, the tire supplier for the seven teams, advised against using its tire due to safety concerns.
Schumacher did not apologize for taking his 84th career win with a shortened field, but wished for better circumstances.
"Naturally very mixed, very strange to see everybody pulling into the pits," Schumacher said. "Nonetheless, after that Rubens and myself had a race going. I think we had a very good car today to fight for the victory anyway. So it's sad, particularly for all the supporters, and there were very many until the end. America being a special Grand Prix for us in a way, certainly today (was) a very unique Grand Prix."
Schumacher's Ferrari teammate, Rubens Barrichello, finished second in his Ferrari, 1.522 seconds behind. Jordan Grand Prix driver Tiago Monteiro finished one lap down in third, his first career podium finish.
Schumacher, who started fifth, led Laps 1-26 and was overtaken by Barrichello while pitting. Schumacher regained the lead on Lap 49 when Barrichello pitted. As Schumacher exited the pits after a short stop for fuel on Lap 52, the two Ferraris were running together and almost collided entering Turn 1, forcing Barrichello into the grass.
The top three finishers, along with Jordan Grand Prix driver Narain Karthikeyan and Minardi F1 Team drivers Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher, were the only six cars to present on the grid following the formation lap.
All six drivers and their respective teams run on Bridgestone tires, which did not report any safety issues during the weekend. All six cars finished the race, with Karthikeyan, Albers and Friesacher finishing fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. The remainder of the field was not classified.
The drivers of the seven Michelin-shod teams that did not start the race - Lucky Strike BAR Honda, Mild Seven Renault F1 Team, BMW WilliamsF1 Team, West McLaren Mercedes, Sauber Petronas, Red Bull Racing and Panasonic Toyota - all participated in the formation lap but drove down pit lane as the other teams presented on the grid for the start. The 14 cars were wheeled into their garages as Ferrari, Jordan, and Minardi launched off the starting line.
"We had a detailed written confirmation from Michelin that the tires were unsafe to run unless there was a chicane put in to slow the speed into this (Turn 13) corner," said Ron Dennis, team principal for West McLaren Mercedes, during the race. "We've been trying with other teams to convince FIA to put a chicane in the circuit, and they refused."
Dennis empathized with the fans while remaining steadfast that safety concerns were the final straw in the decision not to race.
"Our primary responsibility is to the safety of my drivers, and I fully understand the consequences for Formula One are severe, and certainly enjoyment for the spectators here," he said. "The teams had no alternative. We were for this to be a non-championship race; we were prepared to race later; we were prepared to do virtually anything other than to race through that corner at high speed. And that's an unacceptable risk."
Said Red Bull Racing driver David Coulthard, one of the 14 Michelin-shod drivers: "I feel terrible. I have a sick feeling in my stomach. I am embarrassed to be a part of this. I wish we could have found a solution that had us out here on the racetrack."