Schumi wins controversial Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher of Germany won the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix, which was marred by withdrawal of seven teams over tyre concerns.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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Narain Karthikeyan finished fourth in the controversial United States Formula 1 Grand Prix, marred by withdrawal of seven teams over tyre concerns, though he helped his team Jordan earn five valuable world championship points. Karthikeyan failed to take advantage of a depleted field that saw just three teams and six cars competing for honours with Michael Schumacher of Germany winning the strangest race in the history of Formula 1. The seven-time world champion won his first race of the season ahead of Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello of Brazil while Portugal's Tiago Monteiro of Jordan came third. Monteiro's effort earned Jordan six more points. Tyre trouble In a dramatic turn of events, seven teams, using Michelin tyres, pulled out of the Grand Prix at the last moment over tyre concerns after a warm-up lap, leaving only Ferrari, Minardi and Jordan to contest the race. All the three teams use Bridgestone tyres. All the 20 cars had formed up on the grid after a morning of confusion saw the International Automobile Federation (FIA) deny a request for circuit or rule changes to ease Michelin's tyre safety worries. Michelin had written to the FIA asking for the change, after deciding that the tyres they qualified with were not safe to run the 73 laps in the wake of Friday's accident involving Ralf Schumacher during a practice session. Disappointed spectators In front of a hugely disappointed crowd, that booed and gave thumbs-down sign and even threw water bottles on the track to show their displeasure, Karthikeyan lost an opportunity to finish on the podium though Jordan had reasons to smile with the effort of both of its drivers. With no big names around, it turned out to be a contest between Schumacher and Barrichelo with both of them having it easy in the face of almost no competition. The Minardis of Christijan Albers and Patrick Freischer took the last two places giving the team its first championship points so far. Earlier, just six cars took the start at Indianapolis this afternoon after the Michelin teams stood by their threat not to race without an additional chicane ahead of the high-speed Turn 13. Michelin could not guarantee the safety of their tyres through this corner over a race distance, so instructed their teams not to compete if the track layout was not changed to slow the cars. The FIA refused the request, pointing out several other options available to Michelin. The Michelin teams declined these and jointly decided they would race on the tyres they used in qualifying, but only if the chicane was inserted. Depleted field It was not and as a result, all cars took to the grid, but the Michelin cars all peeled in at the end of the formation lap, leaving only the Ferraris, Minardis and Jordans to start. Jordan and Minardi had been expected to stand by the Michelin teams. Ferrari duly won the race, with Schumacher leading until the first pit stops. He lost his lead to Barrichello for his second stint, but narrowly regained it after emerging just ahead of the Brazilian after his second stop. (PTI)