F1 Fanatic round-up
In the round-up: McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says the team will wait for a clarification on Mercedes’ controversial DRS before deciding whether to create their own version.
Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:
Paddy Lowe: “I think what we need at this point is clarity. I would say it would have been better to have clarity before now. So we’ll have to see what the next event – in China – will bring us in that sense. Until we’ve got clarity it’s difficult for us to commit a huge about of effort in that direction.”
Bernie Ecclestone: “None of the teams have expressed any concern to me – quite the opposite.”
“It is impossible to find a team principal either wanting to go to Bahrain or willing to go on record as saying so. Formula One’s long-established code of ‘omerta’ operates at all times, even when the moral vacuum surrounding a race that could end in bloody violence and disruption threatens to suck the participants into a political farce of epic proportions.”
“‘Yes, there is a need to keep the circuit and the teams secure and they are doing this and they feel very comfortable about the arrangements,’ the Lotus report said in excerpts reproduced in the Bahrain circuit statement.”
“Earlier today, the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) issued a press release attributing quotes to our team showing support for the Bahrain GP. These quotes were part of a full internal and confidential working document, that was also sent on a confidential basis to all F1 team managers last week.”
My latest column for Unibet, on the subject that is commanding the most attention in F1 at the moment.
“There is still a certain amount of astonishment in F1 circles that McLaren agreed to be part of such a deal and the cynics in F1 have suggested that McLaren’s willingness to be involved was simply because Mumtalakat, a Bahrain government-linked investment company, which owns 50 percent of McLaren, was encouraged by Bernie Ecclestone to encourage McLaren to agree to his wishes.”
Comment of the day
Alianora La Canta gives a useful reminder on the rules relating to the potential cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix:
It’s also worth noting that a cancellation of the race within three months of its due date leads to its automatic removal from the following year’s calendar unless force majuere is deemed by the FIA to have occurred. This is due to Article 5.6 of the F1 Sporting Regulations.
The organisers can’t prove force majuere, only suggest it (if they feel that’s appropriate).
Bernie, thanks to the separation of commerce and sporting powers enforced by the EU rulings of 2001, can only stop the event if he isn’t paid or some other financial element of the contract is breached (something which nobody has accused the Bahrain organisers of doing).
The FIA appears to be attempting to establish Bahrain as a model country in terms of what good things a country can get if it does what the FIA wishes of it, as a means of encouraging other Middle Eastern countries to follow suit. So even if Bahrain itself contributed little to the FIA, the knock-on effects of a strong presence in Bahrain could lead to the FIA getting a lot of money from other countries.
The latter may not be proven but its actions imply that, given that there were better choices than Bahrain for the WEC race and that, unlike F1, doesn’t have a Bernie-style commercial director participating in the selection process.
Alianora La Canta
From the forum
No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.
On this day in F1
The FIA moved to reduce downforce levels in 2009 by placing tight new restrictions on aerodynamics.
But as this article from three years ago showed, it didn’t stop the teams from making their cars even faster: