What a wierd weekend of sport....
The only thing that seemed normal in this mornings papers was that Shane Warne is involved in another sex scandal. But that's pretty boring compared to other events.
First of all the world champion Australian cricket team lost a one-day match to Asian minnows, Bangadesh (scorecard). It was the greatest upset since, well... I can't think of a bigger upset. And then to lose the very next day to bloody England.... arrgh. Fleet Street will be in a real lather now.
Then I heard that a New Zealander had won the US Open. Up until Until Michael Campbell's win, New Zealand's top earner at golf's major championships
carried Tiger Woods's bag for a living. Can we Australian's take that as one for "Oceania"?
But the biggest farce was the US Formula One Grand Prix.
In what might well be the darkest day in the history of the sport, just six drivers competed in a race that saw Michael Schumacher greeted on the winner's podium by the jeers and boos from the few fans who hadn't already left in disgust.
It all went pear shaped after one of the two officially supplied brand of tyres – Michelin – proved to be unsafe. When officials ruled out a compromise solution involving a new chicane to slow entry speed at the high banked final turn, 14 drivers refused to take part in the race. Those on the rival Bridgestone tyres didn't have the same problem so a six-car grid finally agreed to race.
Urgent meetings throughout the weekend failed to reach compromise and there are several villains here, including a tyre manufacturer that's renowned for pushing the envelope and the “win at all costs” team, Ferrari. Nine teams are believed to have voted not to race without the chicane, but Ferrari insisted the regulations should not be bent to fix what it argued was essentially a technological defect.
Ultimately when FIA and F1 officials sided with Ferrari and all 14 Michelin “shod” cars withdrew, it left a race that was a complete farce. It's also one that is sure to see tens of thousands of racing fans demanding refunds and all kinds of legal challenges. The more than 200,000 fans who attended, many of whom flew long distances to see the race, booed and threw objects on to the track.
In absolute PR terms this is an unmitigated disaster. It seems no-one is more to blame than the Ferrari team which saw it could gain an advantage by sticking to the letter of the law, rather than looking at what its intransigence would mean for the sport in the longer term.
There was no shortage of condemnation from those in F1 including team bosses and the drivers. "I feel terrible. I have a sick feeling in my stomach," David Coulthard said. "I am embarrassed to be a part of this. The reality is that mature adults were not able to come to a resolution that would have allowed us to put on the show that everybody wants to see in Formula One. It is a very sad day for this sport. I am so, so sorry for what we've done."
But Michael Schumacher fooled no-one when he saw fit to observe: "Bit of a strange Grand Prix. Not the right way to win my first one this year."