After the farce of last weekend's American Grand Prix, Formula 1 is under a black cloud of controversy. At Indianapolis, fourteen of twenty runners failed to start because of safety concerns over the Michelin tyres they were running on. So were the teams right to withdraw their cars? How did the most infamous race of recent years become such a let down? Could anything more have been done to ensure that the race went ahead as planned? And will the thousands of ticket-holders be compensated for the paltry spectacle they witnessed?
Now, the governing body of F1 has attempted to provide some answers. What follows is the official statement from the FIA in its entirety - a series of questions answered by President Max Mosley.
What about the American fans who travelled long distances and spent a lot of money to see a race with only 6 cars?
My personal view, and it is only my personal view, is that Michelin should offer to compensate the fans on a fair basis and ask the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to coordinate this. Then Tony George and Bernie Ecclestone should jointly announce that the US Grand Prix will take place at Indianapolis in 2006 and that anyone who had a ticket this year would be entitled to the same ticket free-of-charge next year. But I emphasise, that’s just my personal view. Should you not have just forgotten about the rules and put on a show for the fans?
You cannot do that if you wish to remain a sport. Formula One is a sport which entertains. It is not entertainment disguised as sport. But even more importantly Formula One is a dangerous activity and it would be most unwise to make fundamental changes to a circuit without following tried and tested procedures. What happened was bad, but it can be put right. This is not true of a fatality.