Sunday, June 19, 2005

Off With Hobbes' Head

(Reposted from my old, long-departed blog in 2011)

Sent to Speed TV:

I am watching your coverage of the 2005 Formula One race at Indianapolis. I found Mr. Hobbes' comments regarding hoping that all the Michelin teams lose all of their accumulated 2005 World Championship points objectionable. The suggestion that the teams force their drivers to race with equiptment known to be unsafe -- purely for the entertainment of the fans -- to be irresponsible at best. When voiced by a former driver, this sentiment shows a sickening lack of respect for the safety of the current drivers, their teams, the track marshals and indeed the safety of fans. I have previously enjoyed Mr. Hobbes' commentary on Speed's programming, and thought that he would not let entertainment priorities over-ride safety considerations. I hope that Mr. Hobbes reconsideres his statements and apologizes accordingly.
Let's consider the facts here:
  • The teams have behaved correctly. It would be irresponsible for them to send the cars to the start knowing that they were unsafe. Orchestrating the withdrawl as they did eliminated the possibility of a points advantage to one driver over another.
  • The FIA behaved correctly. The Indinapolis track was certified in a certain configuration, and if that configuration is altered, the track should lose their sanction. It would be unfair to the Bridgestone teams to alter the track because their opposition had dropped the ball.
  • The stewards behaved correctly. Permitting the Michelin teams to use an alternate tire after qualifying would have been a breech of the regulations, and all those teams would have to be excluded if they had violated the regulations.
Lets be frank -- the root cause of this was that Michelin dropped the ball. Should Michelin be punished? That is an issue to be taken up between Michelin and the teams who use the tires. Everyone else has acted appropriately.

All that said, the coverage of the six Bridgestone cars tooling around is a little surreal, and will probably be something to be talked about for quite some time.