Trulli claims pole amid tyre concerns at the Brickyard

Jarno Trulli will start the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from a surprise pole position after beating Kimi Raikkonen by a mere 0.069sec in qualifying as they outpaced Jenson Button and Giancarlo Fisichella. But behind yesterday's performances lurks a spectre of potential tyre failure, following the accident in turn 13 on Friday that ruled Ralf Schumacher out of participation in the race.

Michelin believe that it was a result of a failure arising from the combination of suspension camber angle and the tyre pressure that Toyota chose. Yesterday's practice and qualifying went ahead, with all of the Michelin teams adopting fresh recommendations from the tyre manufacturer regarding those parameters.

The problem is, however, they will change the wear rate and performance of the tyres, so the Michelin teams will go into the race with much less data on predicted performance, because what they spent their time gathering on Friday and Saturday has been rendered academic. Higher tyre pressures, for example, lead to oversteer and higher wear, and there is no way that they can predict what this will be. With increased wear comes an increased risk of the sort of failures Michelin experienced here last year.

Michelin have flown in Barcelona-specification tyres from Clermont-Ferrand and they arrived this morning, but it remains to be seen whether their teams will be permitted to use them for the race and, if they are, what olive branch might be extended to Ferrari and Bridgestone, who have not experienced any tyre problems so far this weekend. It is a political hot potato the FIA must treat with real sensitivity, not only because of the underlying safety connotations, but because some teams may wish to stay with the tyres they have already tested.

Schumacher Jnr might be forgiven for developing a phobia about IMS. The record for consecutive accidents here probably still belongs to the late "Cactus" Jack Turner, who cartwheeled down the main straight during the famed 500 three years in a row in the Sixties. But Ralf is catching up after his second straight shunt in the banked turn 13 on Friday that duplicated the incident which took him out of last year's race and led him to miss several more.

Schumacher's misgivings aside, you never come to this hallowed place without breathing deep the history of a great sport. Its self-styled moniker "the world capital of racing" is stretching things a bit (though with the 500-mile classic, the Grand Prix and the Nascar 400 it embraces the three top-line disciplines in the US), but the Brickyard is one of the spiritual homes of motor racing.

The American rookie Scott Speed lived up to his name with the eighth-fastest time as Red Bull's third driver in Friday's practice, and local stars Tony Kanaan and Danica Patrick are mooted for BAR tests in the near future. There are even rumours of a second US race, in Las Vegas, in 2007.

Another image for the possible future came from the FIA president, Max Mosley, via his latest proposals for the sport's technical rules from 2008. Designed to assist independent teams, they are a pastiche of manual gear-boxes and standardised components that, critics suggest, will dumb down the sport and could drive technology-minded manufacturers away. But others believe they could genuinely reduce costs and improve the racing.

Sir Frank Williams said: "How does Max truly define an independent team? Is that a team with no money or is it the opposite, are we owned by a billionaire with lots of money with only one mission, to win every championship he can get his hands on?

"Are we an independent team? We certainly are. We've managed to get, through merit, a freebie engine, but next year maybe will have to pay for engines. It doesn't suit me to want to have to fire 500-plus people next year. But much more importantly, if you want to field a perfect field of 10 independent 30-man teams, would Formula One still be Formula One and still have the world's third-largest sporting TV global footprint?"

Suggested Topics
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice