F1 doesn’t totally gloss over ‘infamous’ 2005 USGP

The official Formula 1 site has a rundown on the history of F1 in the United States, and it doesn’t totally ignore 2005.

It comes close, though.

The hook, if you’ve been living under a rock (also for you, Obama won the U.S. presidency again), is this weekend’s return to America of F1. Even as I type, Todd is rocking across Texas on his way to Austin. My understanding is he rented a Ford GT.

Here are a few of the highlights F1 lists:

Formula One racing’s association with the great country began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – or the ‘Brickyard’ as it is affectionately known – which dates back to 1909. The first Indianapolis 500 was staged there in 1911 on a track surface consisting over three million bricks, hence the nickname.

Bizarrely, the Indy 500 was actually on the Formula One world championship calendar from 1950 to 1960. However, it was virtually unheard of for any of the Formula One teams or drivers to make the trip to the States to compete in what was such a specialised race. Similarly, the American Indy teams and drivers rarely competed in any other round of the championship.

Stranger still, it was only once the 500 had disappeared from the calendar did the Formula One fraternity truly take up the challenge of the great race. Jim Clark finished second in 1963 in a Lotus. Two years later he went one better to take victory, again for Lotus, and in 1966 he followed Graham Hill home in a British one-two.

By this time the US already had its own Grand Prix on the Formula One calendar, the inaugural event having taken place at the Florida airfield circuit of Sebring in 1959. Bruce McLaren was the first US Grand Prix winner, the New Zealander inheriting the lead after Jack Brabham ran out of fuel on the final lap. Aged 22, it made McLaren the youngest Grand Prix winner – a record not broken until 2003 by Fernando Alonso). The race also featured one Indy refugee: Bob Ward, who had won the 500 earlier in the year, entered his Kurtis-Offenhauser, but the dirt-track car stood little chance against the F1 machines and after qualifying last he retired with clutch problems after 20 laps.


Ferrari clinched their first US Grand Prix victory in 1975, courtesy of Niki Lauda, and the Italian team were to win twice more before the race left Watkins Glen, with Carlos Reutemann in 1978 and Gilles Villeneuve in 1979.

James Hunt was a double winner at the track, taking back-to-back victories for McLaren in 1976 and 1977, while Alan Jones and Williams claimed the final Watkins Glen win in 1980.

By this time there was a second US race on the calendar. The United States Grand Prix West, or the Long Beach Grand Prix as it was also known, became part of the championship in 1976, with Ferrari’s Clay Regazzoni the inaugural winner on the Californian street circuit. Then in 1977 Mario Andretti made history there by becoming the first and only American to win a round of the F1 world championship on home soil.


Schumacher and Ferrari went on dominate the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, winning five of the eight races held there up to 2007, including the infamous 2005 event, which saw just six cars compete after all seven Michelin-tyred teams withdrew on safety grounds following the formation lap.

I’m a little worried I’m burying this question — it probably deserves a separate Your View — but what’s your favorite U.S. F1 memory?

And thus begins our crazy over-the-top-but-still-not-enough coverage of this weekend’s race.

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