Nigel Mansell says Formula One bosses should have reached a compromise to prevent the farce that led to just six cars starting the US Grand Prix.
Mansell says F1 cannot afford to take any risks with safety
Just three teams raced following safety concerns over Michelin tyres.
Mansell told the Daily Mail Michelin had showed "integrity" in refusing to race their tyres and said the teams "could not be blamed" for withdrawing.
He said: "A compromise had to be found - a chicane being installed at that final fast corner, pure and simple."
Mansell, who raced in America after retiring from F1, said he was "disgusted and deeply saddened" to see the sport in such a state of disarray.
"It was a sick joke," he said.
"Although I was 4,000 miles away, I felt humiliated and embarrassed by what went on. It was like watching someone commit suicide in public."
The seven Michelin teams have been summoned to appear before a hearing of the sport's governing body, the FIA, in Paris at the end of the month to explain their role in events.
The problem emerged after two Toyotas crashed in Friday practice at the fastest corner on the Indianapolis track because of tyre failures.
Michelin could not find the source of the problem and advised its teams not to race unless a compromise could be reached.
Those attempts failed, and only Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi, who all use Bridgestone tyres, started the race.
Mansell said: "You cannot blame Michelin. I thought it was very brave of them to declare their concern over the integrity of their product and advise the teams.
"You cannot really blame the teams, who had to react to the advice they were given and not risk the safety of their drivers.
"I had some spectacular tyre failures during my career.
"One robbed me of a world title and yet I did not criticise the Goodyear company who supplied us in those days.
"You cannot disregard warnings about tyres. When the safety of drivers and, possibly, supporters comes into question, you don't mess about.
"You do whatever is necessary in order to race. A compromise had to be found."