2005 United States Grand Prix
The 2005 United States Grand Prix was one of the most controversial Formula One motor races in modern history. It was held on June 19, 2005 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was the ninth race of the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship. Out of the 20 cars that entered the race, only the six cars from the teams using Bridgestone tyres (Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi) competed. The remaining fourteen entrants, all using Michelin tyres, completed the parade lap (thus having technically taken part in the race, avoiding punishment), but retired to the pits before the race started.
Following several tyre failures before the race, most spectacularly on Ralf Schumacher's Toyota during Friday practice and by
Ricardo Zonta in the other Toyota, Michelin advised its seven customer teams that without a reduction in speed in Turn 13, the tyres provided for the race would only be safe for 10 laps. Michelin had been providing working tyres for the race since 2001. The situation was worsened by the 2005 Formula One rules, which forbade tyre changes during the race.
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the sport's governing body, refused a compromise proposal from Michelin to allow a chicane to be installed, maintaining that such rule changes would be grossly unfair to the Bridgestone-shod teams, who had come prepared with properly working tyres, and that a last-minute change to the track layout would be dangerous in case of crashes. The Michelin teams, unable to come to a compromise with the FIA, decided not to participate. It was later stated that the Michelin-shod teams could have potentially exposed themselves to criminal liability under Indiana state law had they competed.
Of the six competitors, Ferrari's
Michael Schumacher was the eventual winner, with his teammate Rubens Barrichello finishing second. The result significantly boosted Schumacher's championship standing, placing him third overall—no driver above him in driver championship points took part in the race. The race also marked the Toyota team's first Formula One pole position, which did not lead to a win due to the team's withdrawal from the race start. The final race result was the lowest number of finishing entries ever seen in a major open-wheel motorsports event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since the institution of the 500-Mile Race (surpassing the previous record low of seven finishers in 1966, a race marred by a major first lap accident that eliminated a full third of the starting field). The situation created enormous negative publicity for the sport of Formula One, especially in the United States, a market in which Formula One had struggled to establish itself over the preceding twenty years; some even called the race "Indygate".