New twist in McLaren pitlane row

The Bahrain International Circuit has revealed that McLaren has been moved to the far end of the pit lane for next weekend’s race. A statement on the circuit’s website says:

Late notice arrived to announce that instead of garages 15-18, the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes team would take up residence in garages 33-35.

McLaren were originally expected to have the least favourable garages in the pit lane following their exclusion from last year’s constructors’ championship, but were moved up to fifth at Bernie Ecclestone’s behest to give them room to fit all their transporters and equipment. Why has this now been changed?

It may simply be that Bahrain, one of the newest tracks on the calendar, has enough room to accommodate the McLaren trucks even if they are parked at the far end of the pit lane.

Or perhaps the other teams are unhappy that McLaren’s promotion up the pit lane does not reflect the punishment they received last year.

Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, chief operating officer said: “We understand that it is in line with the rules and regulations of the sport for McLaren, which scored no points in the 2007 constructors? championship, to take the final set of garages.” The circuit apologised to McLaren fans attending the race who would now not be able to see their team’s pit, but said the change was “force majeure”.

Either way, the move could have a bearing to play on the race weekend as McLaren’s drivers will have a straighter exit from their pit box, and therefore a potentially slightly quicker one. It could also be useful for them in qualifying.

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16 comments on New twist in McLaren pitlane row

  1. Interesting that it was FOM who told the promotors to move McLaren. It should be a FIA decision.

  2. That is true. Pit lane placement is supposed to be the responsibility of the FIA, as it is a sporting matter. It is also interesting that a circuit organiser should take it upon itself to correct the injustice without appearing to reference the FIA or the FOM’s people first, only the rules. This is dangerous territory for organisers – I wonder if bin Isa Al Khalifa is aware of the possible consequences for his race of annoying the powers-that-be.

  3. I’ve just checked <a href=>the Autosport version of this story</a> and apparently the FOM did initiate this.
    Sorry for misunderstanding.

  4. the strange thing is that the announcement came from Bahrain organizers and not from those who made that decision …

  5. Steven Roy said on 30th March 2008, 16:17

    Why can’t Max just come out at the start of the season and tell us what is going to happen?  It can’t be too difficult for him.

  6. Kris said on 30th March 2008, 16:25

    …or perhaps at the start of each session? At least until he makes his mind up for the rest of the season.


    Another innocent team should not lose a larger garage to Mclaren. They have earned the right, unlike Mclaren

  8. <a href=""&gt; Max Mosley Scandle</a> Keith, have you seen the News Of The World today? Perhaps Max is too busy to respond?

  9. Alex – I dropped a big hint earlier towards that news story – as it is a story with photos it is not up to us to really go into this especially since there is an outstanding apparent trial/case raised by mr mosley towards a news international employee – never read that it was dropped?
    but as we have become used to certain dictatorial statements/regulations from the fia/F1 area we should never really be surprised by what happens in life – it will be interesting to see what the new race organisers think of what happens

  10. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th March 2008, 19:43

    I have Alex I’m deciding what to write at the moment.

  11. Good luck Keith – it throws F1 into another ball game – one I’m sure we can do without – ps couldn’t resist a pun!!

  12. thing is that some places i read that this last garage will be for mclaren for the rest of the season, some places it seems it will be for bahrain.. is it just for now, or will we have to see race by race on garage position for mclaren?

  13. Having being pointed in the direction the Concorde Agreement by a very clever fellow it seems it’s actually that the FIA set the critera, and FOM get the promoter to do it. So it’s right that FOM told the track authorities.

  14. Toncho said on 31st March 2008, 22:33

    Keith, can you explain what do you mean by less favourable places?? You mean space like or there are some favorable places in terms of racing??

  15. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st March 2008, 22:36

    Sure Toncho – by ‘least favourable’ I meant that they usually have the least available space for storing equipment and parking transporters and the like. But as I said at Bahrain with it being one of the newest tracks space may not be a problem. In which case we may see the same at Shanghai (which is gigantic) and other new venues.

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