The Massively Controversial 2005 United States Grand Prix
2005 United States Grand Prix

The Massively Controversial 2005 United States Grand Prix

The 2005 United States Grand Prix, held on June 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will go down in history as one of the most controversial races in Formula One history. The reason? Only six cars started the race, and all of them were from the same team.

The controversy began during practice and qualifying, when it was discovered that the Michelin tires being used by most teams were not safe to use on the banked turn 13 of the circuit. The turn was redesigned in 2003 to create a 10-degree banking, but it was discovered that the Michelin tires were not strong enough to handle the load. As a result, Michelin advised its teams not to compete in the race due to safety concerns.


This left only the three teams using Bridgestone tires – Ferrari, Jordan, and Minardi – able to compete in the race. The other seven teams, all using Michelin tires, withdrew from the race. This left a total of six cars on the grid – two Ferraris, two Jordans, and two Minardis.

The crowd at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was understandably unhappy with the situation, and booed and jeered the six cars as they made their way around the track for the formation lap. Once the race began, it quickly became clear that Ferrari was going to dominate, with Michael Schumacher leading from start to finish.

Despite the lack of competition, the race was not without incident. On lap 10, Tiago Monteiro’s Jordan suffered a puncture, causing him to spin off the track and into the gravel. He was able to continue, but he was now a lap down on the leaders. On lap 14, Christijan Albers’ Minardi suffered a similar fate, and he too was forced to pit for a new tire.

Schumacher went on to win the race, followed by his teammate Rubens Barrichello. Tiago Monteiro finished in third place, a lap down on the Ferraris. The other three cars all retired from the race due to mechanical issues.

The fallout from the race was immense. The seven teams that withdrew were fined for breach of contract, and the FIA announced that it would launch an investigation into the matter. Michelin also faced criticism for its handling of the situation, with many accusing the company of prioritizing safety over competition.

In the end, the 2005 United States Grand Prix was a black mark on the history of Formula One. The lack of competition and the controversy surrounding the race made it one of the most infamous events in the sport’s history.