Controversy at U.S. Grand Prix

After 14 Formula One race car drivers withdraw due to safety concerns over the Michelin-made tires on their vehicles, German driver Michael Schumacher wins a less-than-satisfying victory at the United States Grand Prix on June 19, 2005. The race, held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana, will go down one of the most controversial Formula One racing events in history.

Two days before the race, driver Ralf Schumacher (Michael’s brother) crashed in practice while negotiating the speedway’s banked right-hand 13th turn. Michelin, makers of Schumacher’s tires, determined that the tires they had supplied for the Grand Prix could not withstand the high speed on the turn, and asked the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the sanctioning body for Formula One races, for permission to send another batch of tires. The FIA refused, citing its mandate that only one set of tires be used in a weekend. The organization also refused Michelin’s petition to build a chicane, or series of turns, designed to slow down cars before the 13th turn–despite the fact that the speedway’s chief executive and 9 out of the 10 teams in the race agreed that the track could be altered. The only team that didn’t was Ferrari, the team of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello (who ended up finishing second) and one of three teams in the race that used Bridgestone tires instead of Michelin.

In the end, 14 cars stayed in the garage for the Grand Prix; the six remaining cars were from the Bridgestone-outfitted Ferrari, Minardi and Jordan teams. The race itself featured one moment of excitement, when Michael Schumacher almost collided with Barrichello after a pit stop, forcing Barrichello off the track briefly and onto the grass before he regained his bearings. Many disgruntled fans left early, while others threw beer bottles and other debris from the stands and booed the victory ceremony, during which a subdued Schumacher declined to spray the customary bottle of champagne into the crowd.

The teams that used Michelin tires issued a joint apology to fans and sponsors, while Michelin later reimbursed some ticket holders for the event. Though many faulted Michelin for not providing adequate tires and agreed that the FIA and Ferrari team had the right to insist that the race course not be changed, many felt a compromise would have benefited Formula One racing as a whole, especially in the United States, where it was still seeking to build a solid fan base. The 2005 Grand Prix had drawn a crowd of some 100,000 fans–far less than that attracted by the Indianapolis 500 or a regular NASCAR Nextel Cup event.

U.S. Grand Prix descends into farce

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- World champion Michael Schumacher scored a hollow victory in the U.S. Grand Prix after only six cars started Sunday's race due to safety fears over the reliability of Michelin tires.

Seven of the 10 teams did not race after their demands for a makeshift chicane at the Brickyard -- which they believed would have made racing safe -- were not met.

Amid chaotic scenes, the sport's governing body, the FIA, refused to change the circuit, leading to an unprecedented boycott.

All the drivers completed the parade lap but then peeled off into the pits, leaving reigning champions Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi racing.

All three teams run on rival Bridgestone tires which apparently had no problems.

Schumacher and team-mate Rubens Barrichello swiftly occupied the first two positions from their outclassed rivals.

But their domination was met with little enthusiasm from the 120,000 crowd who booed and whistled and threw beer cans on to the track.

Schumacher went on to claim a hollow victory, the only incident of note in the race coming as the German left the pits after his second stop.

Barrichello looked set to edge ahead of him but Schumacher refused to give way, forcing his team-mate onto the grass.

Portugal's Tiago Monteiro of Jordan achieved his first podium finish in third.

The ten points sees Schumacher take closer order in the championship behind leader Fernando Alonso whose Renault team was among the non-starters.

Big frustration

But observers say Sunday's events have proved a public relations disaster for Formula One in the United States and puts the future of the grand prix in doubt.

Original polesitter, Toyota's Jarno Trulli, summed up the feeling of the drivers. "It's a big frustration for the team, for the drivers, Formula One and the fans who are here," said the Italian.

"But we couldn't avoid this situation -- we were in danger and we knew it. It was very clear that Michelin runners couldn't race today."

Red Bulls' David Coulthard was equally downbeat. "As a driver I'm embarrassed to be part of this situation. It's a very sad day for the sport," he said.

The controversy arose once Michelin were unable to guarantee the safety orf their tires on the high speed banking unique to the circuit.

Michelin are baffled by the left rear tire deflations that led to practice crashes on Friday for Toyota drivers Ralf Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta.

Schumacher, who suffered serious injuries with a crash in the same race last year, pulled out of Sunday's race as a precaution to be replaced by Zonta.

The FIA also refused to bend any rules to allow the seven Michelin supplied teams to switch to tyres newly arrived from France after those used in practice and qualifying here were deemed unsafe for the race by the manufacturer.

Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One's supremo, will come under huge pressure over the farcical "race" although he pointed the finger of blame firmly at Michelin.

"You can't tell people to do something when their tire company said you can't race on those tires," he told reporters on the grid minutes before the race.

U.S. Grand Prix history review as Austin prepares for Formula One

After almost two and a half years of anticipation since Tavo Hellmund first announced the Circuit of the Americas project, Formula One is finally back in the United States this week. With the U.S. Grand Prix near Austin, Texas, at the brand new, world-class race track on Sunday, F1 returns to the U.S. for the first time since 2007, when it appeared for the final time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Although F1 has had a long and at times troubled relationship with the American market, the sport also has a rich history here. Since 1950, the U.S. has hosted 62 F1 events, including races at Watkins Glen, Sebring, the streets of Detroit and several others. As some F1 fans prepare to head to Austin while others plan to watch the U.S. Grand Prix on television, here's a quick recap of F1 racing's American history.

1950-1960&mdashIndianapolis 500: OK, technically this was not a traditional Formula One race, let alone a road-course race. But 11 times from 1950-1960, the Indianapolis 500 counted as a round of the world championship, with points scored at Indy adding to F1 drivers' season tally.

1959&mdashSebring: In 1959, the U.S. hosted two F1 races for the first time. In addition to the Indy 500, F1 added the United States Grand Prix to its schedule. The race, held at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, was the ninth and final round of the 1959 season.

1960&mdashRiverside: In 1960, the United States Grand Prix moved from Sebring to the famous&mdashand today much missed&mdashRiverside International Raceway in Riverside, Calif. Promoters had a difficult time drumming up interest for the Sebring race the previous year, and had similar problems with the Riverside race. It wasn't until the following year when F1 moved to Watkins Glen International in upstate New York that American fans started to embrace Grand Prix racing.

1961-1980&mdashWatkins Glen: After running the United States Grand Prix at two different venues in 1959 and 1960, the event finally found a somewhat permanent home in 1961. Originally, Daytona International Speedway was supposed to host the 1961 event, but an agreement couldn't be made. In the end, F1 went to Watkins Glen, where it remained for almost 20 years.

1976-1983&mdashLong Beach: After a 16-year hiatus, F1 returned to the West Coast in 1976. Dubbed the United States Grand Prix West, the race found a home in Long Beach for seven seasons. The Long Beach races also marked the first time a city street circuit was used in the U.S., and the event is credited with having a major impact on turning the city around and increasing its desirability as a place to live. Of course, when F1 left after the 1983 race, Long Beach continued to host the CART World Series, and today hosts the Izod IndyCar Series and American Le Mans Series. But it was F1 that started the city's ongoing affair with auto racing.

1981-1982&mdashLas Vegas: F1 left Watkins Glen after the 1980 running of the United States Grand Prix. The U.S. did continue to host the final race of the F1 season, but in Las Vegas. For two seasons, F1 participated in the Caesars Palace Grand Prix, which featured a surprisingly decent&mdashif rather flat&mdashtrack layout in the parking lot of the famous Las Vegas hotel. When F1 did not return to Las Vegas, the CART World Series added the race to its schedule in 1983 and 1984.

1982-1988&mdashDetroit: The year 1982 marked the first and only time that three F1 races have appeared in the United States during a single season. In addition to races in Long Beach and Las Vegas, downtown Detroit hosted its own street race. The circuit was bumpy&mdashno surprise to Michigan drivers&mdashtight and demanding. Alas, F1 could not come to an agreement with the host city for 1989, whereupon CART once again added Detroit to its schedule.

1984&mdashDallas: Although this weekend's U.S. Grand Prix marks F1's first visit to Austin, the series is no stranger to Texas. In 1984, Fair Park in Dallas was converted to an F1 circuit to host the Dallas Grand Prix. The race turned out to be a one-off event, and it was plagued when high ambient temperatures caused the track surface to break apart. Drivers said it was the roughest circuit they had encountered, and the race was a significant physical challenge for the Grand Prix aces. Keke Rosberg won the race, but Nigel Mansell put on a memorable show by hitting a wall on the final lap, coming to a stop and attempting to push his car over the finish line. Instead he collapsed, exhausted by the heat on the rough circuit.

1989-1991&mdashPhoenix: After the final race in Detroit in 1988, F1 wanted a new venue. It came down to either Laguna Seca in California and the streets of Phoenix, and Phoenix got the nod. From 1989-1991, the United States Grand Prix found its home in Arizona, and the first event, held in June, roasted drivers and spectators with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. The organizers learned a lesson Phoenix's next two races were held in March.

1992-1999&mdashHiatus: There were no F1 races held in the U.S. during this time period, and some began to wonder if the sport would ever return. And then along came Indianapolis . . .

2000-2007&mdashIndianapolis: After a nine-year absence, F1 came back to the U.S. in a huge way and to much fanfare in 2000. The series returned to its American roots, racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, after then-Speedway boss Tony George invested millions to build a road course inside the world-famous oval. Not only that, but George dropped millions more to construct modern F1-spec garages, offices and a new pagoda and media center on the oval's front straight.

That first year, in 2000, the venue offered the largest F1 crowd in history as more than 250,000 fans flooded the giant facility, and it looked like a smash hit that would cement the series in the U.S.

However, the race&mdashand F1 in particular&mdashsuffered major backlash in 2005 when cars using Michelin tires were forced to withdraw due to concerns their tires would fail on the Speedway's banking. With 14 entries using Michelins, that left only six cars on Bridgestone tires to start the race. Fans were not impressed.

Name: Tony Stewart

DOB: May 20, 1971Birthplace: Columbus, IndianaSeries run: NASCAR, Indy Racing League

When your idol is A.J. Foyt, you&rsquore going to have a tough time staying out of trouble. Like his hero, Tony Stewart threw an entire generation&rsquos worth of punches, helmets, and on track hip checks. At a time when NASCAR was dominated by California dudes like Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, Stewart brought the Midwestern charisma, the candor, and the crass. He was pudgy, profane, and surly. But he won races&mdasha lot of them&mdashbringing home series championships in everything from USAC to IndyCar to NASCAR (three times). Oh, and he also ran over and killed a guy in a dirt-track sprint car race. So there&rsquos that.

1999 Martinsville, VA When Stewart made the transition from Indy Racing League (where he&rsquod won the series championship), his wicked temper was but a rumor. In NASCAR, it became legend. His rookie year, he coined a signature move: Hop out of wrecked race car in a rage, charge the guy who wrecked him. The first victim was Kenny Irwin. Stewart threw his gloves at Irwin&rsquos approaching car, Irwin slowed down, presumably to apologize, and then Stewart lurched into the passenger window netting to get a punch in. Instant classic.

2000 Watkins Glen Stewart's career became a masterclass in the art of shouting profanities. His opening aria took place here in the heated moments after Stewart and Jeff Gordon tangled on track. It was what would become a typical shouting match&mdashHome Depot Tony hurling invective in his high-register Indiana twang as crewmen restrain him. Here, Jeff Gordon&mdashalready a three-time series champ&mdashsinks gamely to Stewart&rsquos level. In a few days, all was forgotten. Such is racing.

1999 - 2014 Since then, Stewart has fought with many drivers, officials, fans, corporations and sanctioning bodies: Kasey Kahne (&ldquoDumbass&rdquo), Joey Logano (&ldquoLittle prick&rdquo), Robby Gordon (&ldquoIdiot&rdquo), Kurt Busch (&ldquoWeirdo&rdquo), Matt Kenseth (&ldquoHate him&rdquo), David Gilliland (&ldquoIdiot&rdquo), Goodyear (&ldquoCan&rsquot build a tire that&rsquos worth a crap&rdquo), fans (&ldquoMorons&rdquo). You get the point.

2014 Canandaigua, NY Racing sprint cars on a rural dirt track, Stewart mixed it up with a young racer named Kevin Ward. Ward wrecked, and during caution laps, got out of his car and ran at Stewart&rsquos No. 14 as it passed. Stewart&rsquos throttle blipped, and his 21-inch-wide right rear tire caught Ward and killed him. Video of the incident depicts Ward executing a classic Stewart move: airing his grievance on a hot track. People accused Stewart of driving close to Ward to scare him or taunt him. Stewart was clearly devastated by the death, and lawsuits followed. But still: He killed a guy.

2019 Minnesota dirt track Devastated, perhaps, but not down for the count. Stewart in retirement&mdashas a team owner, an occasional dirt-track racer, and track owner (Eldora Speedway, in western Ohio)&mdashstill flips the bird regularly and tosses the odd fist when the mood arises. As recently as 2019, he chased and punched a heckler in front of dozens. He&rsquos been caught on camera punching or trying to punch fans many times, from New York to Ohio to Minnesota. Clearly, time has not toughened Stewart's thin skin.

Ayrton Senna vs. Alain Prost

At the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren team-mates Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost collided, knocking the Frenchman out of the race. Although Senna continued and won the grand prix, he was then disqualified, handing the world championship to Prost.

The following year, the Japanese race decided the championship again. And again, it was a controversial decision.

Senna qualified on pole, but his request to start from the clean side of the track was denied. Going into the first corner with Prost, now driving for Ferrari, the Brazilian slammed into his former team-mate, clinching the title for himself.

Motor Sport Magazine's Nigel Roebuck wrote that, at the following race, "one of the McLaren engineers whispered to me that the telemetry showed that Ayrton had never lifted for the corner at all—he simply took aim."

Although Senna originally denied that he crashed into Prost on purpose, he later admitted that is exactly what happened, per the Daily Mail's Phil Duncan.

12 Michelin Tires, 2003

Almost every aspect of racing in Formula 1 falls under strict rules and regulations. Fuel, aerodynamics, weight, engines – it is all heavily regulated and watched by officials. Tires are another aspect of F1 for which there are strict rules. In 2003, Michelin was one of the tire suppliers for the teams undertaking that season’s campaign. Regulations stated that tires on all cars must be a certain size and not exceed a certain width. Everything seemed fine until rivals Bridgestone discovered that the Michelins expanded over the course of a race, affording more grip as they became wider. Bridgestone blew the story wide open and officials forced Michelin to revise their tires right before the Italian Grand Prix. At Monza, Bridgestone had the last laugh as their tires played a role in handing Ferrari the Driver and Constructor’s Championships.

F1 could use help in the U.S.

Lencheski served as CEO of sports and entertainment marketing firm SKI & Company before selling the agency in 2008. The company formulated F1 sponsorships.

He said for F1 to market effectively market in the U.S., having a native driver would be critical in a sport fueled with nationalism, as it travels worldwide.

Currently, there are no American drivers in F1. Michael Andretti's father, Mario Andretti, is the most successful American driver to dominate F1, winning the 1978 championship.

And Gene Haas' F1 team is the only American team in F1 but has no American drivers, something U.S. drivers long ago noticed.

United Kingdom native Lewis Hamilton is the most popular driver in F1. But Hamilton is 36, and the retirement chatter has started. He only signed a one-year deal to drive for Mercedes, further fueling speculation about his future.

"I don't feel like I'm at the end but only in the next eight months or so I'll find out whether I'm ready to stop or not. I don't think I will, personally, but you never know," Hamilton told F1's website in March.

With Hamilton nearing the end, Lencheski nominated American IndyCar driver Colton Herta as a driver that could convert and thrive in F1 as a future star.

"He's already proven he can win in IndyCar," Lencheski said. "He's won on the Formula 1 circuit in Austin. He's lived in Europe training, and he's the correct age."

Said Mario Andretti on Kyle Petty's show: "As a young lad, his dad sent him to Europe, he was doing Formula 3, and he knows most of the circuits there, for one thing, and he's trained. He's showed in his rookie season in IndyCar, and he won some premium races like (in Austin) … beat two of the very best Indy has to offer. The entire race, he held off Will Power and Scott Dixon. This is one kid Iɽ love to see him get a break over there because to the U.S. colors again – Formula 1 is like the Olympics in a sense."

Michael raced in the 1993 F1 World Championship series. He also praised F1 for building on their brand, which includes a streaming series to educate and generate new fans in the U.S.

"I think Liberty has done a lot of good things with the F1 series, including that Netflix show," Andretti said. "That has done wonders for F1 and people understanding more what it's about."


The Long Beach Grand Prix was the brainchild of promoter Chris Pook, a former travel agent from England. Pook was inspired by the Monaco Grand Prix, and believed that a similar event had the potential to succeed in the Southern California area. The city of Long Beach was selected, approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of downtown Los Angeles. A waterfront circuit, near the Port of Long Beach was laid out on city streets, and despite the area at the time being mostly a depressed, industrial port city, the first event drew 30,000 fans. The inaugural race was held in September 1975 as part of the Formula 5000 series. [5] [6]

In 1976, the United States Grand Prix West was created, providing two grand prix races annually in the United States for a time. Long Beach became a Formula One event for 1976 and the race was moved to March or April. Meanwhile, the United States Grand Prix East at Watkins Glen International was experiencing a noticeably steady decline. Despite gaining a reputation of being demanding and rough on equipment, Long Beach almost immediately gained prominence owing much to its pleasant weather, picturesque setting, and close proximity to Los Angeles and the glitzy Hollywood area. [5] [6] [7] When Watkins Glen was dropped from the Formula One calendar after 1980, the now-established Long Beach began to assume an even more prominent status.

Despite exciting races and strong attendance, the event was not financially successful as a Formula One event. The promoter was risking a meager $100,000 profit against a $6–7 million budget. Fearing that one poor running could bankrupt the event, Pook convinced city leaders to change the race to a CART series event beginning in 1984. In short time, the event grew to prominence on the Indy car circuit and has been credited with triggering a renaissance in the city of Long Beach. The race was used to market the city, and in the years since the race's inception, many dilapidated and condemned buildings have been replaced with high-rise hotels and tourist attractions. [5] [6]

The event served as a CART/Champ Car race from 1984 to 2008, then became an IndyCar Series race in 2009. The 2017 race was the 43rd running, and the 34th consecutive as an Indy car race, one of the longest continuously running events in the history of Indy car racing. On three occasions (1984, 1985 and 1987) the race served as the CART season opener. In seven separate seasons (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993 and 1994), it served as the final race before the Indianapolis 500.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 race was canceled as part of the City of Long Beach's ban on events with estimated attendance of more than 250. [8] The following year, as a preparatory measure for the pandemic's effects on the schedule, the race was moved from its traditional April date to September 26 as the season finale. [9]

First wins Edit

Despite the challenging nature of the course, the Grand Prix of Long Beach has produced the first Indy/Champ Car victories for several drivers. Drivers who won their first career Indy car race at Long Beach include Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Juan Pablo Montoya, Mike Conway, and Takuma Sato. For Michael Andretti, the Long Beach Grand Prix has the distinction of being his first career Indy car win (1986), and 42nd and final career IndyCar win (2002).

James Hinchcliffe won his first-career Indy Lights race at Long Beach in 2010, then followed it up with an IndyCar Series win at the track in 2017. In 2005, Katherine Legge won the Atlantic Championship support race at Long Beach, her first start in the series. In doing so, she became the first female driver to win a developmental open-wheel race in North America. [10]

The current race circuit is a 1.968-mile (3.167 km) temporary road course laid out in the city streets surrounding the Long Beach Convention Center. The convention center actually doubled as the pit paddock during the days of Formula One. The circuit also goes primarily over the former location of The Pike historic amusement zone. The track is particularly noted for its last section, a sharp hairpin turn followed by a long, slightly curved front straightaway which runs the length of Shoreline Drive. The circuit is situated on the Long Beach waterfront, and is lined with palm trees (especially along the front straightaway towards the Aquarium of the Pacific), making for a scenic track. Long Beach is classified as an FIA Grade Two circuit. [11]

The circuit has undergone numerous layout changes since the race's inception in 1975. All iterations have featured a signature hairpin turn, main stretch along Shoreline Drive, and back stretch along Seaside Way. The first grand prix layout measured 2.02 miles, and featured two hairpins, one at each end of the Shoreline Drive straightaway. In its early years, the starting line and the finish line were located on different sides of the course.

In 1982, the hairpin turn and the end of the main stretch (turn 1) was removed, and replaced with a 90-degree right turn, followed by 90-degree left turn. When the race became a CART series event, the layout was changed significantly. The final turn hairpin was moved to the east, closer to the pit entrance. Other slow chicanes and turns were removed. After a minor tweak to the layout in 1987, the track was shortened in 1992 by the removal of the Park Avenue loop. That created a longer Seaside Way back stretch and a faster run to the passing zone.

In 1999, due to new construction in the area, the turn one set of curves was removed, and replaced with the new fountain complex. Turn one now became a 90-degree left turn, leading into a roundabout around a fountain, and a series of three 90-degree turns. A year later, this segment was revised again, to create a longer straightaway leading to Pine Avenue. This course layout remains intact today.

This Day In History: Tire Chaos Strikes At The 2005 United States Grand Prix

A child born on June 19, 2005 would be old enough to drive a car in the state of Indianapolis today, but on the date of his birth, most Formula One cars were not driving in the United States Grand Prix. That’s right, folks. It’s been 16 whole entire years since one of the most controversial F1 races in history.

(Welcome to Today in History, the series where we dive into important historical events that have had a significant impact on the automotive or racing world. If you have something you’d like to see that falls on an upcoming weekend, let me know at eblackstock [at] jalopnik [dot] com.)

When the US GP kicked off at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2005, 14 cars had opted against heading out to compete. That left six whole vehicles competing for a truly unsatisfying win. This is a story that most fans know but one that’s always worth a retelling.

Back in the day, F1 used to have two competing tire manufacturers: Michelin and Bridgestone. Generally, this was not a massive point of contention. But Turn 13 at IMS was banked, since it incorporated some of the iconic oval track. And the tires that Michelin supplied weren’t quite right for the job.

In fact, Ralf Schumacher’s Michelin-clad car lost control in the high-speed turn, which caused a massive crash. A deep dive by the tire company showed that it was indeed the fault of the tire the compound it brought couldn’t withstand the speed and forces.

That’s when things got tricky. Michelin very quickly realized that it couldn’t safely run its tires during the event. So it asked the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), F1's sanctioning body, if it could send another batch of tires out to the track. Those tires would be safer and capable of handling the forces.

The FIA, much to everyone’s chagrin, said no. Teams were allowed to bring and use a single set of tires during a race weekend. The FIA said that Michelin bringing in safer tires would be in direct contravention of that rule.

Michelin asked that a temporary chicane be built to slow cars down ahead of Turn 13. Track officials were fine with the alterations. Nine of the 10 teams were fine with the alterations. The FIA said no because a sudden change could prove dangerous.

So the race went ahead. The Michelin teams withdrew. The three Bridgestone teams contested the race. Michael Schumacher won. Fans were so pissed they either left early, booed, or threw beer bottles onto the track.

It was such a ridiculous situation that it actually caused serious detriment to the United States Grand Prix. After all, how could you expect the event to recover when it had become, as many people said, a farce? It caused many people to call for Max Mosley, the president of the FIA, to resign. The seven Michelin-shod teams were charged with violating the International Sporting Code. While the teams were later exonerated, it was such a disaster that its shadow is still cast on the sport.

F1 only raced at IMS two more times. The track was dropped ahead of the 2009 race season, leaving a US-shaped gap in the schedule until the Circuit of the Americas was completed.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

Mammoth Grand Prix: History of Progression

The final stop of the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix will be held at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California’s Eastern Sierra Jan. 29-Feb. 1. The event will host men and women’s FIS World Cup halfpipe and slopestyle competition.

Mammoth Mountain has proved its ability to breed talent and foster a culture of athletic development that almost seems embedded in the mountain’s DNA. Mixed with a healthy amount of natural snowfall and the world-class Unbound Terrain Parks, it’s the perfect formula to set athletes up for success. Over the years, you can see evidence of these elements coming to fruition through groundbreaking athletic performances and milestone moments.

Mammoth’s ties to U.S. Olympic Freeski and Snowboard Team selections are second to none. Mammoth has hosted the Grand Prix more than 10 times, and has been fortunate enough to name our Olympic athletes three times including in 1998—the first year the Olympics hosted snowboard halfpipe as an official event. Mammoth also hosted the final qualifying event before the 2014 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Furthermore, the U.S. Snowboard Team has been utilizing Mammoth’s amazing terrain and facilities since early 2001, when halfpipe coach Pete del Giudice took Ross Powers and Kelly Clark to Mammoth to train prior to the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. It’s evident Mammoth had something to offer as both Ross and Kelly went on to win Olympic halfpipe gold medals.

Kelly’s journey with Mammoth came full circle when she qualified for her fifth and final Olympic team in 2018 at her home resort, under the lights, complete with fireworks and an amazing high-energy crowd. Joining Kelly that night to celebrate their Olympic nominations was Shaun White and Chloe Kim, who both went on to take home gold medals in Pyeongchang. Chloe and Shaun both call Mammoth Mountain their home resort, so it was fitting that their training and official nominations took place under the shadow of the 11,053 ft peak.

There are countless athlete achievements that have taken place at Mammoth Mountain by U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes thanks to over a decade long training and event partnership with Mammoth Mountain. Chloe, who is the only woman to ever land back-to-back 1080’s in the halfpipe, revealed she learned a 1260 at Mammoth along with most of her other big tricks. U.S. Snowboard Pro team athlete Maddie Mastro put the double crippler to her feet for the first time at a spring training camp at Mammoth in 2018. Maddie went on to land this trick at the Burton U.S. Open the following year to make history landing the first-ever double crippler by a female snowboarder in competition and win the event. In June of 2018, three-time Olympic medalist Jamie Anderson landed her first double-cork 900 with the safety net of the airbag. This trick has since contributed to Jamie adding another Winter X Games gold medal to her collection in 2018 in Aspen, Colo.

The men also have no shortage of progression and career firsts at Mammoth Mountain. Over the past few years amazing moments have unfolded, including American freeskier Kyle Smaine earning his first-ever World Cup victory in the last competition of his career at the 2018 Mammoth Grand Prix, narrowly missing qualifying for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games. In 2019, U.S. Freeski Pro Team members Birk Irving and Mac Forehand earned their first-ever World Cup victories at the Mammoth U.S. Grand Prix.

On the snowboard side, Judd Henkes also earned himself his first-ever World Cup podium, finishing second behind Gerard in 2019. This past spring, U.S. Snowboard Team veteran Taylor Gold was able to find the rotation on a Michalchuck 1080 into the airbag. Since then, Gold is the first rider to ever land it in the halfpipe, but has yet to attempt the trick in competition.

The progression at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix is not limited to athlete performances, but also in their willingness and ability to host pinnacle events. During the 2016-17 season, U.S. Ski & Snowboard broke the mold of the Olympic qualification process by hosting an Olympic selection event the season prior to the 2018 Pyeongchang Games as a result of athlete feedback following the 2014 Sochi Games. Essentially, this made Mammoth the first and last stop on the road to Pyeongchang for U.S. Freeski and Snowboard athletes.

These key moments only brush the surface of the rich history and culture surrounding Mammoth Mountain and the U.S. Grand Prix. Mammoth Mountain and U.S. Ski & Snowboard invite you to join us Jan. 29 - Feb. 1 for four days of snowboard and freeski slopestyle and halfpipe competition. If you can make it to Mammoth, be sure to tune in on NBC to catch all the action.


Wednesday, Jan. 29 - Slopestyle Qualifiers
Thursday, Jan. 30 - Halfpipe Qualifiers
Friday, Jan. 31 - Slopestyle Finals
Saturday, Feb. 1 - Halfpipe Finals

Wednesday, Jan. 29 - Halfpipe Qualifiers
Thursday, Jan. 30 - Slopestyle Qualifiers
Friday, Jan. 31 - Halfpipe Finals
Saturday, Feb. 1 - Slopestyle Finals

Subject to change
All times EST
*Same-day delayed broadcast
** Next-day broadcast

Watch the video: The 2005 US Grand Prix Formula 1 Story: F1s Brickyard Blowup (January 2022).