Formula One prides itself on being the most technologically advanced form of motor racing. But, much like the stereotype sometimes attached to technical types, it could probably use a dose of manners and common sense, particularly when it comes to its fans.
There's no excuse for this past weekend's U.S. Grand Prix fiasco at Indianapolis. Fourteen of the 20 cars slated to race withdrew after the parade lap before the start because their tire supplier Michelin declared the rubber unsafe for the conditions produced on part of the banked oval. Only six Bridgestone tire runners were left to raceresulting in a "sibling rivalry" where Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello had the race virtually to themselves.
Now there is probably enough blame to go around, from the tire company who should have been better prepared, to the teams setting up the cars, as well as Formula One administration and the FIA sanctioning body. Nobody wants drivers to take undue risk, but compromised solutions were proposed that would have allowed a modified race to be run. But in the end turf wars between the parties prevailed, and the publicafter shelling out for tickets, hotels, travel, and timewas stiffed.
The Lords of the Racing Rings might do well to make a detour to Daytona Beach on the way back to Europe. They can sign up for lessons in Southern Hospitality from the folk at NASCAR (where the philosophy is "the show must go on") who know how to treat their fansthe people who ultimately pay all the bills.