Ecclestone: Media ‘made up stories’ over Bahrain Grand Prix

F1 Fanatic round-up

Bahrain International Circuit, 2004In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone accuses the media of “making up stories” over the Bahrain Grand Prix.

New Unibet column

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I would be taking on some new projects in 2012 and here’s one of them. I’m writing a new column for betting company Unibet.

The column will appear every Tuesday, plus on race weekends on Friday and Saturday. Here’s my first Tuesday column as well as two for the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend:


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Bernie Ecclestone has no doubts about holding Bahrain race (BBC)

“The problem is people like you who make the concerns not the teams and not the people in Bahrain. Seriously, the press should just be quiet and deal with the facts rather than make up stories.”

Indecision rules (Darren Heath Photographer)

“The Bahrain event ?ǣ inextricably linked as it is to the rulers of the country, not a politically disinterested third party promoter ?ǣ runs a clear and present danger of being the focus of the protesters? ire. That?s a situation far removed from a grand prix such as that held in China, for instance. Formula 1 effectively put Bahrain on the international map, and for the sport to return to the kingdom while unrest is still very much an almost daily occurrence serves only to endorse the actions of those in power.”

F1 bosses stage show of support for Bahrain GP (Reuters)

Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed Alzayani: “We are not witnessing [attacks on foreigners] in Bahrain. There hasn’t been any assaults on foreigners… maybe you are referring to the British guy who got his fingers chopped off, but that was an isolated incident.”

CVC prepares to refinance F1 loan (FT, registration required)

“The refinancing, being handled by Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Scotland, and expected to be completed by the end of April, will take place at the same time as F1 finalises a deal with the teams on a share of revenues, expected to last until the end of the decade.”

Red Bull find fault with Formula One cost-cutting measures (The Guardian)

“When FOTA was first created there were clear and tangible restrictions in personnel, amount of engines, gearboxes, in testing, all things you can see policed and genuinely save costs. They’re the type of things that should be focused on rather than apportionment of people’s time and equivalence which is, in any formula or mechanism, fraught with problems and difficulties.”

Felipe Massa desperate to save Ferrari career (The Independent)

“Instead of returning home to Brazil as initially planned, Massa today headed to Ferrari’s base in Maranello to assess where it has all gone wrong for him in the first two races of the season.”

A small party to celebrate the win with an old friend (Ferrari)

Luca di Montezemolo: “This victory must not be an isolated one, but rather the starting point to a season in which we want to be the best. To succeed, we have to be the best in our daily work in every sector. We know there is a lot to do, but we also know it?s not impossible.”

Kimi Malaysian Grand Prix review (Kimi Raikkonen)

“For me it was my debut with the rain tyres. While the lights went off, I had to take it easy, because I simply didn’t know how the tyres are behaving. Obviously, we had done only one installation lap before with the wet tyre, so we didn’t even know how to adjust the front wing for the wet race.”

Ticket sales open for Korea?s third F1 Grand Prix (The Korea Herald)

South Jeolla Province Governor Park Joon-yung: “We didn?t know what F1 was exactly when we first held the event and had many problems. Last year, we undertook a major overhaul of our organization, so there were some difficulties in preparations.”

What happened in the Malaysian GP: Engineers’ debrief (Caterham via YouTube)

Australian Grand Prix video highlights (F1)

Warning: Contains excessive amounts of Nicole Scherzinger.

Comment of the day

Stefano Domenicali points out that press criticism of Felipe Massa is much as it was at the Malaysian Grand Prix four years ago.

Fer no.65 doesn’t see it that way:

The difference between then and now is that Massa was running second at Malaysia, and then he retired. He was beaten by his team mate but not by much. Last Saturday, he was three-tenths slower than Alonso in Q1 even after trying with the softer compound.

Yes the car is bad, but the difference between the two has been enormous for quite a while now. In 2008, he was being beaten by Raikkonen for quite a while too but not by much and he was able to match his speed most of the time.
Fer no.65

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Today in 2008 the FIA confirmed the eighth change to F1’s qualifying system within the space of five years.

Fortunately they now seem to have found a version they are content to stick with, in the form of the current ‘knockout’ format:

Image ?? Bryn Williams/

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102 comments on Ecclestone: Media ‘made up stories’ over Bahrain Grand Prix

  1. vjanik said on 29th March 2012, 9:38

    i think the Bahrain GP could help attract worldwide attention to what is happening in Bahrain as protesters will surely use it to their advantage. The worst thing that could happen is if Bahrain is out of the news and out of peoples minds. Then nothing will change. Having the worlds media in Bahrain and putting the spotlight on the country for 4 days would not be a bad thing.

  2. zimkazimka (@zimkazimka) said on 29th March 2012, 10:28

    I find Al Khalifa’s reasoning extremely arrogant. He says that no foreigners were hurt so far, but what about locals? People died in those clashes, and the resistance is obviously still fighting with the authorities. Indeed, the race is organized by the regime associates, and instead of acknowledging human rights issues Al Khalifa and Bernie put forward a false idea that the race will somehow work towards the unification. It wont. If anything it will anger protesters even more, since their fight is handwaved by powerful folks with influence like Bernie.

  3. Estesark (@estesark) said on 29th March 2012, 10:43

    I said Bahrain would be the cause of this season’s biggest F1 row, and I’m feeling pretty confident about that now. It’s not even the next race, yet it has taken the top three stories in this round-up and a lion’s share of the comments. I think it has passed the Mercedes DRS thing already and will not go away until the race has taken place (or not, but it looks like it’s going to happen).

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 29th March 2012, 20:20

      Looks like the teams are all going to just roll over to Bernie and go to Bahrain though. While most teams have already submitted to Bernie’s superior mind control, a few are still holding out on signing the new Concorde Agreement, so I expect that to still be the larger political battle this year.

  4. Mooph (@mooph) said on 29th March 2012, 10:57

    Find myself in some agreement with Christian Horner on how equivalency is not what the cost cutting measures should be about and that poilicing it would indeed be way too complicated and the potential to exploit it too high,
    Practical things that I think have helped are Powertrains for a price, i think it was something like €5mill for a season, having a common ECU also has some benefits,we already just have 1 tyre supplier
    I think they should look towards having a central purchaisng agreement on some items which are done on an F1 tender type basis and the price split evenly amongst all teams, whilst it may not do much for the big teams the benefits lower down the grid in terms of better quality parts and lower prices would certainly reduce some of the burden
    off the top of my head
    Wheel Nuts,
    Air guns & Hoses
    Brakes calipers and Varying Brake Materials, having dseveral compound options for personal preference
    Trucks and Packing Crates
    Fluids for the car (though i think some teams get this free)
    Fuel Cells (though i think they all use the same provider anyway but probably at different prices and sizes)
    you could even look at the carbon fibre being provided which i accept is an area of research in materials but a base spec minimum??
    i dont know as i dont want to push a spec series but its practial and if a team wants to spend more then they could

  5. Bendanarama (@bendana) said on 29th March 2012, 11:41

    Yes Bernie, the media do make up stories.
    They just don’t write them on their tax returns the way you do.

  6. The Limit said on 29th March 2012, 13:42

    Typical Bernie Ecclestone comments. The facts though are different, the media did not cancel last years Bahrain Grands Prix and we all saw the pictures of protesters being shot dead on the streets. Those things you can’t deny, in in that enviroment how can you expect to have a grands prix?
    The media reported the facts, and they were that Bahrain was not a safe place to be at that moment in time. If F1 fans had been caught up in that and killed, I doubt Ecclestone’s attitude would be as cocky as it is now!
    This year we will race at Bahrain, but I still think this circuit will soon be put to pasture in much the same way the Turkish event was. The events of 2011 were a negative factor outside the circuit owners control, but the event itself has been about as entertaining over the years as the one in Valencia. I think that says it all!

  7. slowhand (@slowhand) said on 29th March 2012, 18:06

    Bernie –
    “The rich cannot live on a island
    Surrounded by poverty
    We all breathe the same air.
    We should give everyone a chance,
    At least a fundemental chance” – Ayrton Senna

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 29th March 2012, 21:29

    I’m pretty bored of the Bahrain issue to be honest. If the race does go ahead, which it likely will do, there will be a big scandal about it for the weekend then it will all be forgotten in a week.

    I get the impression people only really care so much BECAUSE Formula 1 is going. I imagine the level of attention Bahrain gets would be significantly less if the F1 circus didn’t show up.

    Do the race, get it over with. Let’s not pretend that most people care beyond the race weekend.

    • pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 29th March 2012, 21:40

      Don’t judge others by what appear to be your own low standards. I get the feeling you may not be so bored if you were getting your head caved in because you felt it was maybe your right to say you didn’t like the way things were.

      No one is pretending anything here – people are voicing their resentment at the events in Bahrain. As well as the association of the sport they love being dragged into a political quagmire. Plus the fact that the guy that holds the purse strings has no other interest in mind apart from its fattening.

      Just because you go about life without regard for others does not mean others should suffer because of it. Such antipathy and misanthropy is the root cause of most of the ills of which we speak.

      F1 provides a platform not just for aristocrats to flaunt their power. It also presents an opportunity for people to rally round and try do something about the troubles by disrupting the event. And best wishes to them.

      Just remind me the next time YOU may need help that I should just walk on by.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 30th March 2012, 13:50

        @psynrg I never said I didn’t care. I’m just taking a very cynical view of the whole thing. Fact is, these atrocities are happening, but would we all be so worried if F1 wasn’t on the agenda? I really doubt there would be so many people voicing their concern. Which is fine, if it’s not in the news, no one knows about it, but there are tragedies all over the world every day.

        You’re right, I’m not getting my head caved in and chances are I would be more vocal if I was. But this isn’t about me and we could play the ‘put yourself in their position’ game all day long.

  9. DB Cooper said on 29th March 2012, 21:59

    IMHO we should not race in any of the islamistic, antidemocratic & antiwestern Gulf states. No matter what megastructures they build to entice people. You could more or less see all racing activities in these states as funded by bribes to you know who in you know which companies attending the races. Shame on you all.
    I might abandon the F1 circus by jumping out of the 727 with some of the aforementioned bribes, better not land in any of these states….

  10. Mahir C said on 30th March 2012, 2:12

    Warning: Contains excessive amounts of Nicole Scherzinger.

    I dont mind seeing Nicole or any other doll drivers are with, it is just like the old times. Who could forget Mrs Hakkinen, and hotties DC was dating in late 90s, not to mention Flavios Briatore’s model friends.
    I would rather warn about excessive amount of drivers’ daddies. I wish they just kept them at home.

  11. budchekov (@budchekov) said on 30th March 2012, 2:32

    What a sad little man, time for Bernie to go I reckon.

  12. javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 30th March 2012, 22:19

    In min 3:41 of the video with Jody Egginton, he states “…as for (KERS) deployment, RedBull made some extra functionality available to us in the race…”

    So, does this mean that RB, and other manufacturers are hiding, withholding features from their customers? I never really thought that happened, that indeed, the powerplant in Mclaren Mercedes was EXACTLY THE SAME as the one in Shumi’s car, and that Sauber-Ferrari shared the same bits and features as SF.

    Maybe this is something new that RebBull added for all including themselves?
    I would hate to think that there were functions kept only for the maker. If so, no wonder the back-markers are so bad, as they dont get a full deck.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st March 2012, 18:45

      It might just be something they had developed new in the KERS system, but only got to testing it in Australia on their own car, before opening up that functionality to their customer, to make sure it works before handing it on.

      But in the past it was very much usual, that customer teams would have lower spec engines etc. Just think about Sauber in 2010 having numerous blowups, and how long they had to wait until some of the changes Ferrari made to the engine after the first race got on their car as well.

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