Michael Schumacher won a farcical United States Grand Prix, with his Ferrari only one of six cars to start the race.
Those were the bare facts of a strange race, the background to which started when Toyota test driver Riccardo Zonta spun at turn five when his left-rear tyre deflated. In the next session, Ralf Schumacher crashed his Toyota at turn 13, the same place at which he had crashed 12 months earlier. His tyre had deflated, too.
Suddenly a pattern was observed. The failures were on Michelins and teams and drivers started to lose confidence in the rubber. Michelin - bravely - admitted that it could not be confident of the tyres withstanding the centrifugal forces for lap after lap on the fast, banked corners. We need to add a chicane, they said. The Bridgestone teams said no. The FIA said no. Why should the others be penalised? Ring master Bernie Ecclestone became involved in the heated discussions that wore on up to race time. Even he failed to broker a peace deal.
The American crowd, most of who had paid to sit in the vast grandstands, were unaware of the rhetoric in the paddock and were appalled when, at the end of the green flag lap, car after car peeled into the pit lane. The race, such as it was, comprised Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello for Ferrari, the Jordans of Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro (who ended up on the podium) and the Minardis of Patrick Freisacher and Christijan Albers. The pitiful display lasted for 89 minutes but the damage to Formula 1's reputation in the USA lasted far longer.