Marco Tronchetti Provera, Bernie Ecclestone, Shanghai, 2012

New Jersey race could be delayed until 2014 – Ecclestone

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: As international media attention focuses on Bahrain, Bernie Ecclestone makes a surprising announcement about the New Jersey Grand Prix.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone unsure of 2013 Grand Prix of America race (BBC)

“Maybe the New York race will be 2013. It’s a when – 2013 or 2014.”

Bahrain F1 Grand Prix protests continue – video (The Guardian)

“Mourners chanted anti-government slogans and criticised Bahrain’s hosting the Formula One Grand Prix this weekend.”

Daily protests in Bahrain amid human rights abuse claims (BBC)

More video of the protests in Bahrain.

More protests against Bahrain race (Sporting Life)

“This was the more acceptable face of protesting in Bahrain as a 5,000-strong crowd made their voices heard without resorting to throwing petrol bombs and stones at riot police.”

Human rights in Bahrain (Amnesty International)

“In recent months, the Bahraini authorities have become more concerned with re-building their image and investing in public relations than with actually introducing real human rights and political reforms in their country. Indeed, for the authorities, much is at stake. They are keen to portray Bahrain as a stable and secure country in order to stave off international criticism. But as the country prepares to host the Formula 1 Grand Prix on 20-22 April, after the event was cancelled last year in response to the instability in the country, daily anti-government protests continue to be violently suppressed by the riot police that uses tear gas recklessly and with fatal results. Acts of violence by some protesters against the police have also considerably increased in the last three months.”

??Formula One belongs to the rulers, not us? (The Times)

“‘I am fighting for my future,’ he told me as we careered down narrow streets. ‘Formula One belongs to the rulers, not to us. It is not wanted because they will tell the world everything is normal in Bahrain, but it is not. This is the real Bahrain ? the bullets and the teargas and they don?t want anyone to see or know.'”

Bahrain… safety and morality. (Will Buxton)

“I was given the opportunity by Speed, my employers, not to attend the Bahrain Grand Prix. But I have decided that I will. I have made that much clear both in this blog and on Twitter.”

What will F1 find in Bahrain? Our man finds out (The Mirror)

“With this protest the last for the dead cameraman, I was told, the focus would turn on Formula 1. The authorities have not helped that in using the banner ‘UniF1ed’ in all their promotional material. To some F1 and the ruling monarchy are the same thing.”

Red Bull KERS: Floor Mounted Super Capacitors? (ScarbsF1)

“With a year?s understanding under their belt and the newly confirmed status as the RenaultSport factory team, the RB8 has taken a step forwards in KERS packaging. Now the energy storage appears to be slightly revised, with the unit inside the gearbox swapped for floor mounted units.”

Explaining the Red Bull dilemma (Sky)

“Newey seemed to be spending most of his time on Webber’s side of the garage rather than Vettel’s. Adrian is not someone interested in looking backwards. His focus will be on unlocking the greater potential of the revised car and as such he will have been far more interested in Webber’s progress in China than Vettel’s.”

How Webber turned tables on Vettel (BBC)

“Webber told me a ‘little lift’ of the accelerator was enough to bring the car back down again. For those watching, it was a heart-stopping moment. But Webber obviously did not dwell on it long – in the very next sector of the lap, he set his fastest time of the race so far.”

Silverstone closing on F1 testing return (Autosport)

“In a bid to ensure that teams are also not disadvantaged by bad weather at Silverstone, they will be able to pull out of the running if it looks like the test will be a washout.”

Schumacher Ferrari, classics may fetch $11.3 million (The Age)

“Schumacher’s F1-2000, which may fetch AUS $1.1 million, was raced in the Austrian Grand Prix in 2000, when it retired on the first lap following a collision.”

Comment of the day

Dan_the_McLaren_fan on the Amnesty report linked above:

It?s truly astonishing to see what is going on with my favourite sport.

Everyone in F1 is calling for security. I don?t think the protesters have a strong desire to murder every driver, mechanic and spectator. The only purpose of the army protection would be to keep protestors away: that way they won?t disturb the race, no TV can film them, and they can all suffer and die in silence. What everyone will see is a F1 race in a calm state where law and order reign.

Utterly disgusted by this situation!
Dan_the_McLaren_fan

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Alan and Consi!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Jochen Rindt would have turned 70 today. He died during practice for the 1970 Italian Grand Prix and won the world championship posthumously later that year.

136 comments on “New Jersey race could be delayed until 2014 – Ecclestone”

  1. So what Bernie is really saying is: “Hey look, a bird!”

  2. Well Mr. Ecclestone, you said something similar about this years United States Grand Prix didn’t you? I say give the organizers a chance to sort things out :)

  3. Bernie would go and say something like this in the midst of all the drama over Bahrain, wouldn’t he?

    I sincerely hope that New Jersey’s “when” is next year and not 2014, because it’s a race I’d love to attend, and the sooner the better. I’ve never been able to go to a grand prix before (living in California, post-Long Beach era), and it’s hard as hell to plan for a cross country trip like this when you can’t even be sure the thing is going ahead. That rough lap sighted by The F1 Show, which I just saw yesterday, looked pretty promising to me.

  4. I will get the track ready in time myself if I have to!!!

    1. @aka_robyn
      Say the word, and I will appear with a shovel and an army of friends to help

  5. “Maybe the New York race will be 2013. It’s a when – 2013 or 2014.”

    There have been doubts about every race since Korea being ready on time. None of them have ever failed to come about.

    1. Bernie doesn’t normally give them any doubt though, does he?

      1. He had genuine concerns about Korea. He obviously learned from the experience with India, because he was constantly checking in with the organisers. Even then, he had his doubts. But maybe he was just downplaying it so that they would “surprise” everyone.

    2. im sure they’ll be fine, but I wonder if Argentina will be able to build a whole race track in time for next year IF they do get F1 back here.

      If New Jersey can’t, then surely we can’t either…

    3. Bernie is just kidding, isn’t him?

  6. Heres the problem, the human being in me admits that for the formula 1 circus to go over to Bahrain is a really bad idea. However, the selfish side of me just want’s another race… Is this bad?

    1. It’s perfectly natural.

      I have not missed a race on TV since 2007. But I am going to purposely miss Bahrain. It’s just one race. Boycott it.

      1. Nara (@narazdache)
        18th April 2012, 9:50

        Did you also boycott races in India cause they have whole villages where people are born and die slaves? Or China for very same reason?

        Get real please, F1 in Bahrain going to be the best exposure to whatever is happening there they will get. It will be bias, but it still better whatever you base your view on.

        1. Here we go again. Add US for their death penalty and Guantamo, China for Tibet, France for Sarkozy’s reported relations with deceased evil Moammar Kaddafi and Italy because Berlusconi is Italian!

          I think there are many ways to justify the race, but it’s not by saying “other race holders have problems that should not go unnoticed as well”. Bahraini authorities are literally imposing heavy security measures on their own population in order to hold the race. Formula one is suppose to be more than just a race wherever it arrives, it’s suppose to be an event for the whole city or country.

        2. @narazdache @jcost Considering the fact that u r referring to Caste system in India, Let me tell u tht the discriminatory system remains only among a handful of the population. If u come to India and do reality check, u will be astonished to find that ppl of the so-called “lower castes” are among the most forward thanks to the reservation system here. I know, that some Europeans and Americans love to see the dark side of India. It really bothers me. These guys see “Slumdog Millionaire” and say “that’s India” without knowing that most slum-dwellers are not poverty-stricken. Neither do they visit India nor do they watch Bollywood movies and think that they know all about India

          1. most slum-dwellers are not poverty-stricken.

            Umm…. I agree that India is far more advanced than Nara suggests….

            But a slum is a slum, and India has it’s fair share.

        3. @mike In most slums in my city, the residents have bikes, satellite TV, etc. The Below Poverty Line ID cards which they posses have been obtained by bribing the authorities. The official population of poverty-stricken people is actually the number of BPL cards issued. @nazardache @jcost

          1. I’m sure…

            Bet they have jet ski’s as well.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_India

          2. India is an amazing country…

            But every nation has it’s flaws.

          3. @mike oh boy…they also have a wikipedia page on the topic! :o

          4. If these people really suffer from poverty, why do they opt to have so many kids?

          5. @malleshmagdum

            I’m just working from the information within my reach.

            If these people really suffer from poverty, why do they opt to have so many kids?

            That is the single most ignorant question I’ve ever read on this site.

            Here’s another Wikipedia link. Think about it.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_fertility_rate

            If you need a picture Google birth rates by country.

          6. @mike u didn’t get my point. In the top 3 backward states of India, people prefer large families even though they understand that it would put a strain on their income. They see it as a “tradition” to have large families

          7. Which is one factor in what I was trying to explain to you.

            backward states

            You seem out of touch. Look up and you may see others looking down.

        4. @narazdache @jcost @mike In Mumbai, which is famous for its slums, the residents have been allotted free flats by the Govt. But they choose to give it for rent and come back to the slums.

          1. @malleshmagdum so they’re entrepreneurs :)

          2. @jcost u just reminded me of my entrepreneurship class! btw u r the only person seeing it in a positive way

      2. Richard Craig
        20th April 2012, 22:08

        Great some more like minded individuals. Not judging others’ choices, but I am genuinely struggling to understand how some people can state how they are against F1 staging a race in Bahrain, that it is terrible that the F1 fraternity are being kept in a “bubble” of ‘everything’s calm and fine’ (thanks to the oppressive putting down of those protests), etc. etc. and then rationally say, “well on with watching the race, is Rosberg going to get pole?”

        Bizarre.

    2. Depends on your moral point of view. I’m in the same boat as you tho haha.

      1. I really have no problems watching the race because…
        1. I do not inflate my self-importance to think that all this oppression will stop once the rulers find out Javlinsharp did not watch the race because he does not approve.

        2. I like F1 and I watch to see the teams and drivers, not the locations nor their internal issues. If I wanted that, I would visit these places.

        3. I have come to terms with the fact that there is enough blame to go around. As I have previously posted, ALL Nations have sinned, both in the recent and distant past. The difference between Bahrain and any 1st world nation is better PR.

        4. There is more than enough “morality work” I can do in my own town, city, state, country. Bahrainis, and everybody else for that matter, must win their own freedom just like everybody else… Things are tough all over and it is unfortunate, but never the less, a reality.

        Call it apathy if you want, I really dont care what you think ;-)

    3. I believe that Formula One should remain neutral and I don’t want to see my favorite sport dragged into a dirty political game. If going to Bahrain means political involvement, then we shouldn’t go to Bahrain, but unfortunately there’s little we can do about it at this point. The one thing we can do is boycotting the race.

      I won’t watch it. I have no illusion it will achieve anything, because there won’t be enough people doing it. I doubt it will decrease the viewing figures in any way, but I’ll do it for myself anyway. Seeing any member of the Al Khalifa family smiling would probably ruin my day, so I’ll skip it. Bahrian races are pretty boring anyway.

      1. @maroonjack Unless you are one of the households they use to monitor TV viewing (and then extrapolate the figures out to cover the whole country) then it will never affect the viewing figures.

        Im in the same position, I just want to watch racing. This sideshow is not good. F1 shouldnt be put into this position

        1. Exactly, unless you have a special box- which you would know about- then it does nothing in terms of registering your dissatisfaction.

          1. Or you’re a Sky viewer (those boxes can be counted individually).

          2. I did wonder if that happened.

      2. So racing is apolitical? I think some folks have different points of view in Bahrain…

      3. @jcost Bahrain GP is a political event and a propaganda success for Al Khalifa family. If FIA wanted to remain neutral, they should have canceled the event.

        @welshtom and @matt90 I know it won’t have much effect. I said as much in my original comment. I do it for myself. I know I won’t be able to enjoy the race, even if this track somehow produces a great spectacle (which is unlikely). It will be hard to forget what’s going on off the track. It will be impossible for me, personally, to have fun watching the event hosted in support of an oppressive regime. So I won’t.

        1. I think it has already been said, but F1 in Bahrain is actually GOOD for the protests.

          Bahrain is NEVER mentioned in major news outlets that I see (btw, I keep up on news).

          Now, with F1 there, all this discussion has been generated, all this attention has been focused, all these pundits are writing articles and those get picked up and further disemminated.

  7. Did anybody else know that there was a golf tournament in Bahrain last week? And that it happened without a single incident?

    1. Did anybody else know that there was a golf tournament in Bahrain last week?

      I think you know what most people are going to say and what that means.

      One of the things that’s annoying me most about this now is the fact the teams, despite their safety concerns, are absolutely not allowed to object to going to Bahrain. It seems so wrong because not one person that works in F1 signed up for going into war zones and putting their lives at extreme risk. They also didn’t sign up to become involved in political statements that will almost certainly have horrific outcomes.

      But when your life is at risk and you’re told to shut up or quit, it makes me hate Bernie and the FIA so much. Could it be any more obvious that it’s all about money at the expense of human life? I think not. And why people are putting that money ahead of human life, even on here, is beyond me.

      If you honestly think the teams want to go to Bahrain and if you believe the team principals when they say they’re happy, you’re completely naive and deluded. You’ve fallen straight into Bernie’s trap.

      1. And on top of that, I know several people that feel so, so guilty about going and that they’re going to be seen as part of the evil circus and hated upon by everyone fighting for their lives. But the sad thing is that they aren’t even allowed to say that or they’ll be kicked out of F1. See the problem?

        1. @damonsemdley

          they aren’t even allowed to say that or they’ll be kicked out of F1. See the problem?

          There is no probelm, and the teams know it. What is the FIA going to do, forbid them from competing? As the Flavio Briatore case proved, the FIA’s powers are limited to whatever charter they have set for themselves. If they stray away from it, anyone on the receiving end of penalties could appeal it in a civilian court and have the verdict overturned. Besides, the Concorde Agreement dictates that there must be a minimum number of cars on the grid for a race to take place. If enough teams refuse to race in Bahrain, the race will not be able to go ahead. The FIA knows what happened the last time an undersized field started a race. If they tries to kick any team out, then there will not be enough cars to complete the season. Even if they convince any of the remaining teams to field three-car teams, there will likely be massive sponsor withdrawls, broadcasters will refuse to televise races, and circuits will terminate contracts. The entire 2012 season will be a write-off, and with a new Concorde Agreement up for negotiation, it could well trigger a breakaway series from 2013. In the world-case scenario, other FIA-sanctioned events will boycott the FIA itself.

          If the teams really, genuinely don’t want to race in Bahrain, then all the power rests with them.

          1. @Prisoner-Monkeys

            If the teams really, genuinely don’t want to race in Bahrain, then all the power rests with them.

            But it doesn’t, does it? If the FIA make the decision, then the teams don’t suffer any of those consequences. I don’t seem to remember any of those things you listed happening last year when Bahrain was pulled from the calendar.

            I genuinely did not know that there was a golf tournament in Bahrain four days ago.

            That’s my point. Why would protesters cause any trouble at an event no-one knew existed.

            I genuinely did not know that there was a golf tournament in Bahrain four days ago.

            There is nothing I’d like to do more than show you some of my “evidence”, but I can’t. Not only is it not my place to say, but doing so could (read: would) result in people losing their jobs.

          2. @damonsmedley

            If the FIA make the decision, then the teams don’t suffer any of those consequences.

            But if the FIA doesn’t make that decision, do you think the teams will blindly follow them into a situation that they are uncomfortable with? If the teams are genuinely concerned about their safety, and if the FIA doesn’t call the race off, then the teams won’t go anywhere.

            I don’t seem to remember any of those things you listed happening last year when Bahrain was pulled from the calendar.

            Last year’s race was not cancelled by the teams refusing to race. It was cancelled by the FIA, at the request of the Bahraini national motorsport body.

            I think that there is a distinct possibility that the FIA is attempting to create a situation like 2011 again where they don’t have to axe the race. Not because they’re cowards, but because they recognise that making a decision is a political statement, a statement that they are not comortable making. With nobody saying anything one way or the other, we can’t really state what their intentions are. I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility that the FIA are waiting for the Bahrainis to cancel the race, and will only call it off themselves at the last possible minute. But as an apolitical statement, it only works if they say nothing – if they let the world know that they want the Bahrainis to cancel it, it would be seen as the FIA trying to influence local politics.

          3. @Prisoner-Monkeys

            If the teams are genuinely concerned about their safety, and if the FIA doesn’t call the race off, then the teams won’t go anywhere.

            But the things you listed above will come as a result of teams pulling out. No teams are going to make that decision alone unless they have nothing to lose. And as far as I’ve been informed, there’s a horrible mood in the paddock right now. Approximately 100% of F1 personnel do not want to go and a lot of them are genuinely terrified.

            It’s times like these that I agree with the article posted in the round-up the other day; F1 isn’t a sport at all.

            Last year’s race was not cancelled by the teams refusing to race. It was cancelled by the FIA, at the request of the Bahraini national motorsport body.

            Yep, that was my point. That’s why I wish it would happen again.

          4. @damonsmedley

            But the things you listed above will come as a result of teams pulling out.

            Only if the FIA decides to prosecute them, and they could probably only do that if teams fail to follow due process in withdrawing from the race. Right now, it is assumed by many that the FIA is forcing teams to compete in Bahrain against their will. There is no evidence of this happening aside from unsubstantiated reports from journalists who do not quote or name anyone. For all we know, the FIA have asked the teams to maintain a stace of “we will race” even if they don’t want to, because the FIA want the Bahrainis to call the event off and keep tihngs apolitical.

            Yep, that was my point. That’s why I wish it would happen again.

            There are still four days until the race. Anything can happen. The authorities are supposedly desperate for Formula 1 happen, but even then, there is a tipping point where they will have no choice but to call it off. And even if they don’t, the FIA may have told the teams “we’re prepared to wait until this date and time for them to call the race off; if they don’t, you’re free to do whatever you think is best”.

            The problem is that once again, everyone is assuming that the FIA is forcing the teams to compete, and they’re assuming that because the teams have said “we will race” when everyone thinks the race should not happen.

            There also appears to be the assumption that the FIA is somehow in the pocket of the Bahraini government, and that the government is compelling the FIA to force the teams to race. I have no idea how the Bahrainis might have ammassed that kind of power, but I think the notion is fairly ridiculous.

          5. So what is the due process for leaving a race. Informing the FIA as soon as first practice begins? Could all the teams agree to do such a thing, do it and face no sanctions from the FIA and FOM?

            And would they all stick to the agreeement. We all know how difficult people were with the Indy tyre debacle – Minardi and Jordan just couldnt trust each other to pull out in a common defiant statement.

        2. Well said.

      2. I think you know what most people are going to say and what that means.

        I genuinely did not know that there was a golf tournament in Bahrain four days ago.

        One of the things that’s annoying me most about this now is the fact the teams, despite their safety concerns, are absolutely not allowed to object to going to Bahrain.

        And where is your evidence that the teams are not allowed to object? As near as I can tell, they’ve all declared themselves to be happy. I haven’t seen a single word of dissent from anyone. Or are you just working under the assumption that because they’ve done something you disagree with, they are doing so under duress?

        1. Your favorite Joe S and Adam Cooper have said that the teams aren’t happy in private, but they know they can’t criticize the FIA in public.

          1. Well, that’s convenient, isn’t it?

            “Hey, the teams have said one thing in public and another thing in private, but they won’t go on the record about it, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. It’s cool, though; it’s not like I’d join the board of directors for one team, not tell anybody about it, and then try to make out that their rivals are a sinking ship.”

          2. I knew it you’d say that about Joe, which is why I also mentioned Adam Cooper, who writes for Autosport. Surely you can’t discredit him too?

          3. Tagging @prisoner-monkeys. Just refer to the comment above this one.

          4. @prisoner-monkeys Tagging you here. Not sure why the previous tag didn’t work.

          5. Well, I can’t find anything he said on the subject.

            Still, it’s a lot like Kevin Eason’s article about how nobody wanted to go to Bahrain, but the only person he could actually name as having reservations was a caterer with Williams. I think far too many people are assuming that because they don’t like what is happening, the teams don’t like it. And because the teams aren’t saying anything about it, they’re obviously acting under duress.

          6. @prisoner-monkeys Adam Cooper’s tweets:

            https://twitter.com/#!/adamcooperf1/status/190676071723712513
            “Bernie’s view that the teams are happy to go to Bahrain might be an optimistic take on their real thoughts…”

            https://twitter.com/#!/adamcooperf1/status/190676499634987010
            “One senior team member told me he’s constantly fielding queries from concerned personnel who have no wish to go”

            https://twitter.com/#!/adamcooperf1/status/190677778335678464
            “Another senior team member on the fact that terrorism can happen anywhere: ‘The difference is in Bahrain we are targets…'”

          7. @journeyer – And yet, he doesn’t name a single source.

            Like I said, if the teams really were concerned about it, something would have been said by now. Which is why I think the FIA might have asked the teams to officially support the race in the hopes that the Bahrainis will wise up and cancel the vent themselves, thereby preventing the FIA from having to take political sides. And if the Bahrainis have said nothing by an agreed-upon time and date, then the teams will be free to do what they think is best.

          8. @prisoner-monkeys As I’ve said – because they can’t criticize the FIA in public! I’d take Adam’s word for it – he’s in the guy in the paddock, not you and me. Perhaps you should too?

            They are not ‘free to do what they think is best’. Remember what Bernie said, they can choose not to go – they’ll just get sued for breaching their contract by not doing so.

      3. They go to Brazil every year.

          1. Can’t see Bahrain being any more of a risk.

          2. The Brazilian Grand Prix is in Sao Paulo. And while Sao Paulo is not in the same league as Grozny, Ciudad Juarez, Cape Town or Bogota, it’s still a reasonably dangerous city. Jenson Button nearly got himself held up by armed gunmen in 2010.

          3. @xbx-117

            Is the race in Brazil killing civilians though?

          4. I wasn’t aware the race in Bahrain was killing civilians.

            The citizens of Bahrain are not protesting the race. They are protesting what the race represents. The actual, physical act of racing is not the problem here.

        1. I don’t know of any race that is killing civilians. I know people are killing people for a large number of reasons, but that’s not exactly localized to a single sector of the earth.

          And my comment was mainly aimed towards your assertion that F1 personnel did not sign up to go to a war zone (Bahrain), but we look forward to a race each year where F1 personnel actually have been put in dangerous situations (Brazil).

          1. @xbx-117 But by going to Bahrain, F1 is throwing a huge amount of fuel on the fire. My biggest concern is protesters being restrained at all costs so they can’t disrupt the event. And when it comes to Bahrain’s record of dealing with protesters, it’s a terrifying thought.

            Even if there was no bloodshed over the weekend (the police are trying to convey a message of peace and normality, so they probably won’t be too violent unless they “have” to be), when F1 goes back home and the world forgets about Bahrain, there would be some pretty severe punishments for those who tried to “ruin” their perfect little festival.

            So it’s not just about the teams, in my opinion. You’ve got to look at the bigger picture and realise that people’s lives are being put at risk so F1 can throw a big expensive party that nothing good will come of. The only reason we’re there is because of money. There’s no way you can compare the situation to that of any other race as it’s completely different.

          2. And there might be punishments if the race was cancelled as well due to protesters. Therefore, F1 would have no real effect on the situation.

            And I hope that your opinion is not just on the teams, as I pointed out how that could be seen as being somewhat hypocritical. People’s lives are at risk regardless of what Formula 1 does. Bahrain is having social issues right now that have nothing to do with the sport. Both sides are simply using it as their own personal stand, but it really has nothing to do with their problems. F1 is racing there because they paid the fee, and its on the calendar, and they guarantee the safety of the teams and attendants. Full stop.

            The whole argument has been rehashed for an entire year. Some people say Bahrain is bad. Others say China is bad. Some people say its not the same. Others say yes it is. We will never find common ground with that main idea dividing our thoughts. You either believe F1 does not play any role in the politics of a nation, and we can race happily in China and Bahrain, or you believe it does and then you should boycott all the races you disagree with, but your calendar might start to grow thin.

            And the only reason F1 goes anywhere is for money. It exists because its still making money.

          3. Lest we forget,
            It was in the US where debries was actually thrown onto the track during a race. Rather unsafe and potentially life threatening. Yet we see no objections to returning, even in the face of a recent and actual threat to actual F1 people. Sooooo, what gives

          4. Indeed, and a man was allowed to run out on the track in Silverstone back in 2003, and there are no objections about returning there either.

        2. Really? Sir you need some reading in case you don’t want to bother vistting Brazil.

          I’ve been to Brazil 7 times, in 2010 I went to São Paulo for the GP and was not different from my previous GPs in Europe. I left my hotel with my photography gear in a back-pack, took a train to Interlagos and no signs of violence or insecurity and there was not an entire battalion to guarantee nothing went wrong.

          Brazil is not as safe Luxembourg but it’s not Wild Wild West either. Get over your prejudice because FIFA (World Cup 2014), International Olympic Committee (Rio 2016) don’t think like you.

          1. And you should do some reading as well. In 2010, Button’s car was approached by gunman, and the driver had to take evasive action to get him back to the hotel. Also, during the same weekend, 3 Sauber engineers were robbed at gunpoint.

            I never claimed it was the Wild Wild West, but there is no denying it has the potential to be a dangerous trip, as reality has shown. So, as far as this discussion goes, going to Bahrain can’t be any more dangerous unless these “peaceful” protesters take it upon themselves to actually kill people.

            Finally, please, get off your high horse. I never said we shouldn’t go to Brazil due to safety concerns, but if safety is a concern (unfounded or not) in one country, than all countries should be examined.

    2. No. That’s why no incidents occurred. If people knew, it might’ve been different.

      1. I don’t know much about golf, but I Googled all the names mentioned in that article. There were some reasonably big names – like Colin Montgomerie – so it doesn’t seem like the kind of tihng that could pass by unnoticed.

        1. Indeed, the names are reasonably big. But there may not have been a lot of attention on it (or even publicity) because it’s an invitational, and thus not an open event you would see on the European Tour.

          1. They had “Bahrain’s first European Tour event, the Volvo Golf Champions, from 27th to 30th January 2011”, you’ll notice it was not repeated this year.

        2. Colin Montgomerie designed the Royal Golf Club which is located in Riffa Views, an exclusive gated community located in the middle of Bahrain. I’m sure they had enough security to keep anyone from getting anywhere near the place.

          http://riffaviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/11261RV-MasterPlan.jpg

          1. I’m sure they had enough security to keep anyone from getting anywhere near the place.

            The golf course covers more space than the circuit precinct. It’s also much closer to the areas where most of the protests have been centered on in recent weeks, and has nearly four times as many access points as the circuit. So if the Bahraini government can people from getting close to the golf course, they can keep them from getting close to the circuit.

            But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here. The Bahrain Invertational was an international sporting event. Perhaps not of the same profile as the Grand Prix, but nevertheless, it was one that would have attracted some attention. So why did no-one criticise the tournament organisers, or golf’s governing body for allowing the event to take place?

          2. If almost no one knew about it, how could they pay attention to it, never mind criticise it? Might’ve been a different story if people did know about it.

          3. and has nearly four times as many access points as the circuit.

            The “access Points” are marked as “Guardhouses” on the Master Plan Map. Riffa Views is isolated from surrounding communities and is 2 miles south of the Bahrain Defence Force Headquarters.

            http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

          4. Riffa Views is isolated from surrounding communities and is 2 miles south of the Bahrain Defence Force Headquarters.

            The Bahrain International Circuit is similarly isolated from the rest of the country, and is a kilometres from an air force base.

          5. @Prisoner-Monkeys Is the safety of team-personnel all you care about, though? Doesn’t it concern you that the police will be doing all they possibly can to keep protesters away from the circuit and unnoticed by the world?

    3. Yes, I had heard about it. As a matter of fact there had been an item in some papers about an invitational pro-celebrity golf tournament at the Royal Golf Club’s Montgomerie Course in Bahrain put on by their Olympic committee and Economic development board. Some pros, some celebrities, a trick-shot specialist, local VIPs and local businessmen; an outreach program, some classes for kids and meet some stars from other sports. This was a promotional event rather than a competitive athletic tournament. Googling with commitment will find that Paul Casey and Joe Montana (yes that one from the NFL!) got the trophy.

      Interestingly the event had been promoted to “tee-off the celebrations across the island for the return of F1” as the Gulf Weekly put it. Testing the waters, I guess.

    4. @prisoner-monkeys my friend, I think the invitational golf tournament is not as appealing as an F1 race for protesters who did not call for “three days of rage” towards the tournament boasting some respectable golf players. The big deal here, is the amount of security needed to stage the race, it’s like we don’t bother having a party in the middle of a war, it’s not even about how happy we are with Bahraini monarchs anymore.

      I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few GPs in loco and I can’t picture a situation like this, it seems so pointless to stage a race without that festive atmosphere in the region holding the race.

  8. Anyone else notice, that GP Of America course goes right past a sewage treatment plant?

    Kind of appropriate for Jersey.. >.>

    1. Well you know, it’s just a Jersey Thing.

      1. @david-a LOL, good one :)

    2. I found a video of the current progress of the circuit and posted it a few days ago. I can’t find it now, but I do recall massive screens being erected in front of the treatment works. They’ll likely be advertising space once the race takes place.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys On Google Earth on the streetview thing from a picture taken a few years ago you can see that for the most part the sewage plant is behind a wall that is sort of painted to look like a building (windows & doors and such) from a quick glance. I figure if anything they’ll have the cameras for that section of the track on the sewer plant side of the track to minimize any sight of it…. Though the smell for the people in attendance on a warm summers day will be an entirely different story haha

    3. it’s the Garden State so I geuss that’s where they keep the fertiliser.

  9. It’s never a good thing when a sporting event becomes so intertwined with political and humanitarian affairs. When is a football match no longer a football match? When does an F1 race stop being about 24 cars going around a track and start being about a sport implicitly supporting the political rulers in a certain country?

    There’s also a bad precedent to be made here, and one that only a globe-trotting attraction such as F1 can create. Say if Bahrain is cancelled and all of a sudden the teams, drivers and powers that be say they cancelled in protest at the current regime in that country and their violation of citizens human rights.
    It’s a bold statement, no? All of the F1 community making a stand for the oppressed! It sounds great. Or it does to me at least.
    Fast forward 12 months and F1 is heading to China again. Hypothetically, some human rights NGO’s may start asking why F1 will make a stand against Bahrain, but not China, a country that still has a terrible human rights record. Others will ask why F1 isn’t highlighting the massive poverty in Brazil, or when F1 goes to Russia in a few years, are they implicitly approving or legitimising everything done under Putin?

    My long rambling point is this: F1 is a sport. It has no place in politics or being used by any side in an argument that it has nothing to do with, however real or important the argument being made is.

    1. And very convenient that argument is.

    2. Fast forward 12 months and F1 is heading to China again. Hypothetically, some human rights NGO’s may start asking why F1 will make a stand against Bahrain, but not China, a country that still has a terrible human rights record. Others will ask why F1 isn’t highlighting the massive poverty in Brazil, or when F1 goes to Russia in a few years, are they implicitly approving or legitimising everything done under Putin?

      That’s pretty much what I’ve been saying since October 2010 when the Arab Spring revolutions began and people started to question whether Bahrain might experience a similar uprising.

    3. In my opinion going to Bahrain is a huge sign of support for their ruling class. Going to Bahrain will be embroiled in the politics of the country and that’s a reason enough to remain neutral and stay out of there.

      Sure, other countries also have human right issues, so why going to Bahrain is not the same as going to, say, China or USA? Because those countries don’t try to mix our sport with their politics. They don’t invent “UniF1ed” slogans to reinforce their propaganda and pretend that everything is fine. Going to USA is not a sign of support for governor Rick Perry, president Obama, or any political party.

      1. @maroonjack Refusing to go wouldn’t be remaining neutral though, it would be a statement of support for the opposition – unless they can find a legal ground to do so such as the teams being in personal danger.

        In my view remaining neutral means seeing out the existing contract, which is exactly what they’re doing.

    4. At which point the FIA would have the water-tight defence of, “China hasn’t broken any of our regulations yet and Bahrain has”…

  10. getting tired of this whinging and complaining about Bahrain. F1 is not a political sport. It runs races world-wide. If it is not safe to run a race because of a protest, the FIA will not race. The FIA/Formula does not care/does not side with politics- it merely governs racing in many countries. We should care – indeed we are the people whose opinion can sway one way or another. It is not, however, the place of the FIA to create for itself a political goal in denying certain countries the right to hold an F1 race.

    Furthermore, the demand for the FIA to not hold a race is in STARK contrast to the decidedly anti-political stance of the FIA. Why must this uproar continue about the Bahrain GP? It’s mind-bottling.

    1. Because, in so denying a race, the FIA takes a political stance – which is something it should not, and was not designed to do. Leave that to the people, and to the governing bodies of COUNTRIES, not SPORTS.

      Such a refusal to participate in the Bahrain GP would be akin The NFL in America refusing to play football in states which vote for Barack Obama, or states which allow gay marriage. Its absolute rubbish. People need to calm down.

      1. Bahrain is not a democracy and the government has violently suppressed initially peaceful protests.

        1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahrain

          Bahrain is a Constitutional monarchy headed by the King, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; the head of government is the Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalīfa bin Salman al Khalifa, who is the uncle of the current king. Bahrain has a bicameral National Assembly (al-Jamiyh al-Watani) consisting of the Shura Council (Majlis Al-Shura) with 40 seats and the Council of Representatives (Majlis Al-Nuwab) with 40 seats. The 40 members of the Shura are appointed by the king. In the Council of Representatives, 40 members are elected by absolute majority vote in single-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms.

          HMM.

    2. @d3v0

      Furthermore, the demand for the FIA to not hold a race is in STARK contrast to the decidedly anti-political stance of the FIA.

      I think that everyone in the paddock is currently treating the race as being apolitical. If somebody starts using the race for political purposes, the FIA will probably enforce sanctions. Assuming the race takes place at all.

      1. In that case, they should have a strong argument with the Bahraini promoters who are making this political with their “unf1ed” slogan.

        Not to mention that by now its just as political to decide to cancel, as it is to support the regime by not cancelling.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys exactly. It is not the FIA’s place to make a political stance to cancel the GP – rather – since it has already decided F1 is going there, it retains the full right to impose a sanction if it turns out Bahrain was misrepresenting the level of civil unrest there. I am going to stay any opinion until after the GP – as will the FIA. That is the most prudent course of action.

        Getting tired of these armchair human rights activists calling for the cancellation of a damned simple race just because they dont like what the news says about the government of that country.

    3. Due to the Bahraini organisers linking F1 and politics despite FIA regs prohibiting it, the apolitical stance is to stay away. Going implies the FIA condones linking F1 with politics (at least, by those who have FIA licenses – those who don’t have always been outside the scope of the regulations, except in limited respects).

      1. Uhh @alianora-la-canta explain to me how is cancelling the GP “apolitical” when it is done for political purposes????????

        1. Simple. Article 1 of the FIA Statutes forbids linking F1 with politics. The organisers, in using the “UniF1ed” ad campaign, linked F1 with politics. Cancelling would be because the organisers broke just about the most important regulation the FIA has – no need to reference any third parties. It would be a contractual issue rather than a political one.

          By continuing, the FIA is implying that it condones the linking of F1 with politics, despite this being against its regulations, and that furthermore it is siding with the regime in terms of its messaging.

    4. Because the organisers broke the “apolitical” rule and the FIA condoned it. Which means the FIA going to Bahrain is political, whether the FIA accepts that fact or not.

  11. This issue about Barhain is really beginning to question if FIA are doing the right thing. It would be utterly silly for FIA to ignore legitimate indication of unrest and possible threat of unrest in the area and continue to host an entertainment event. Would FIA be equally silly to cancel the race? I say no. The race was cancelled last year and it wasn’t silly at all. People keep talking about Brazil and threats from other GPs, but that is simply not true as there is no legit threat of this level from any other GP so the two situations simply do not compare. The question is what can happen in Bahrain given the type of protest taking place and the threats and is it worth taking that risk? What would “you” do as a person protesting against the regime for human rights? (Let’s say your life has hit rock bottom and maybe you don’t have any other choice)?

    I can think of numerous things concerning the Bahrain GP and that is not committing any hefty crimes. It doesn’t take much to delay the start of the race or bring up a red flag or a yellow flag. Off-track, one could easily disrupt the services. So I’d be surprised if we don’t see heavy security in and around the area. But is this really necessary for F1?

    1. Bahrain*

    2. Couldn’t agree more.

  12. For US residents with HBO check out another amazing piece on former CART driver Alex Zanardi from the HBO Real Sports program.

  13. No matter which side of the Bahrain debate you’re on, I think it’s clear that if we get reports of violent ‘pacification’ of protesters during the race weekend this will be a black eye on F1 that may well be difficult to live down. And from a purely practical standpoint, let’s not forget that sponsors care only about one thing and that’s public image. And if F1’s public image suffers significantly here, as it just might, the fallout could turn holding this race into one of the bigger mistakes F1 ever made. As it looks like it will go ahead, we can cross our fingers and hope for the best.

    Part of me tells me not to watch the race at all, but there’s a fair chance morbid curiosity will win out.

    1. Nara (@narazdache)
      18th April 2012, 9:57

      “I think it’s clear that if we get reports of violent ‘pacification’ of protesters during the race weekend this will be a black eye on F1 that may well be difficult to live down”

      This is also will be the best thing that will happen to Bahrain, if that should happen. Or you want Invisible hand to take care of all of your inconvenient issues?

      1. I really don’t understand your question…

  14. “In a bid to ensure that teams are also not disadvantaged by bad weather at Silverstone, they will be able to pull out of the running if it looks like the test will be a washout.”

    Is that really a wise idea, though? The reason why the young driver tests work is because they are held at the end of the year. Holding it in the middle of the year opens the door for teams to test new parts on their cars, which is generally not what the young driver tests are about.

    If the teams do not want to go to Abu Dhabi, it would make more sense to me for the young driver tests to be held at a Euorpean circuit at the end of the year than in the middle of it.

    1. Yeah but the end of the year is the start of Winter here, short days and bad weather.

  15. The bulk of the viewership are TV viewers so it doesn’t matter too much where a race is held.
    As things stand, the FOM just uses a nations race facility for the GP, spectators are optional.
    Safety fo the F1 personnel should be the determining factor if the race goes on or not.

    I don’t see much difference between Syria and Bahrain, apart from the fact that we don’t have foreign countries arming the opposition. that is also less likely to happen, because the movement that is against the Syrian regime, are a part of the same faction in power in Bahrain.

    Unlike in South Africa many years back when the actons of the government was just a step or two away from genocide, Bahrain is essentially a civil war between the same people.
    It is a big mess and I do have sympathies for anyone responsible for making the decision to go ahead or not.

    1. “A civil war is a high-intensity conflict, often involving regular armed forces, that is sustained, organized and large-scale.”

  16. Couldn’t find the old article, but this confirms waht I said yesterday – http://en.espnf1.com/redbull/motorsport/story/76110.html

    1. Who says Marko despises Vettel?

      1. Sorry, that should read Webber. Who says Marko despises Webber? For someone who supposedly goes out of his way to make life difficult for the Australian, Marko is being incredibly accomodating of him in Red Bull’s research and development allocation.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys – posted this link because people yesterday were saying that RedBull would abandon the new exhaust in favor of Vettel.

    2. And what makes you think that was Marko’s decision. The guy is a spin doctor, nothing more. It will surely have been Newey who decides(d) which route to take. Having developed a second evolution of the exhaust, based on the fact the first wasn’t competitive enough, it wouldn’t be very prudent to waste all of that development time to accommodate the (currently) slower of the two drivers.

  17. I do hope the New Jersey GP goes ahead sooner rather than later, I’m tentatively planning on going. I imagine it will.

  18. looking at how Webber struggled against Vettel last year, i thought that it would be difficult for Webber to justify his position if the same continues this year. Vettel was very happy with last years RBR but it did not suit Webber, and now the positions have been reversed, we have Webber more comfy with the car and Vettel is not able to get the most out of it. it seems that RBR will take the approach which will be independent of the drivers liking but whichever gives better performance. This makes me think whether
    Massa is having similar problems at Ferrari… the direction of development is being clearly dictated by Alonso and the car is more or less customized for him and Massa has no option but to drive it and is therefore not able to show similar level of performance.

    1. I’m not so sure it is due to being customized for Alonso @dev, but I do think that Ferrari know they have a car that is tricky and hard to drive. Alonso is coping with it to some extent, it doesn’t suit Massa at all, and that’s one of the reasons they team is quite supportive of Massa at the moment: he’s not their biggest issue, and only if the car can be improved is it useful to look at what their 2nd driver can achieve behind Alonso.

      1. ofcourse i’m assuming that the car development is customized for Alonso’s style, but all past mates of Alonso have mentioned this… at his former team Renault. The only team where he did not get a customized car was McLaren. But it’s unlikely that at Ferrari the car development directions are unbiased, they clearly have a number 1 driver and Alonso gets his way… btw nothing against it. But only trying to figure that would Massa do better by moving out of Ferrari to a team where he could shine again. As long as Alonso is there he will never be able to perform well, if their driving styles are different..

  19. So what’s with the possible delay with New Jersey? It’s a street track, surely it can’t take 2 years to put a a few barriers…

  20. Re the Scarbs RedBull KERS article: I’m pleased to hear that KERS isn’t as easy a system to harvest and dump as I thought. I think that one of the “mission points” for F1 should be to always be relevant to road cars as much as possible. To hear they they’re still working on harvesting balance, heat management and storage efficiency is good news to me. Once they really start properly getting to grips with the current regs, I’d like to see the KERS allowance increased a bit more, then more, then more. A promising line of technological development for years to come I reckon.

  21. if there is a usa grand prix this then how can there be one next year because there is a rule stating that a country can only host one race a season

    1. Jarred Walmsley
      18th April 2012, 21:50

      no there’s not and there never has been. often countries have had multiple grandprixs

  22. Status of Spa on the Calendar – Can someone explain to me why Spa is in danger of losing its place on the calendar. In my view its one of the top-3 tracks in F1 – its history, old-school layout, terrain changes and it not being one of the new, ahem, cookie-cutter track designs of today, make it a permanent mainstay. What gives and thanks in advance!

  23. Oh man! I sure hope NJ doesn’t get delayed to 2014. Not only do i want to hear the V8’s but an extra year of waiting will kill me!

    1. Jarred Walmsley
      18th April 2012, 21:52

      Even if the race isn’t delayed you still won’t hear the V8’s as this is the last year for them I believe with 2013 being the new regulation engines

      1. No, the new engine regulations were originally planned for 2013, but then put back to 2014:

        FIA rubber-stamps 2014 engine rules

  24. Explaining the Red Bull dilemma

    Fascinating article!

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