F1 Fanatic round-up
In the round-up: Williams say tyres have become the single most important determining factor in a car’s performance.
Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:
Chief operations engineer Mark Gillan: “Tyre management is fundamental. The tyres are the number one item on the car, followed by aero and then engine. But understanding the tyres and managing the tyres is the key to unlocking race performance. Qualifying as well, but of particular performance in race.”
Mr Corbyn’s motion said: “This House is astonished that the Bahrain Formula One race is going ahead despite huge concerns over abuse of human rights expressed by Amnesty International and others. It notes that a trial is continuing of 52 medical professionals who tried to help victims of the suppression of protests. It believes that the Formula One race will be used by the Bahrain government as an endorsement of its policies of suppression of dissent. And it accordingly calls for its cancellation.”
“The All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain has also written to key Formula One sponsors, including Sony, Vodafone, Shell, Red Bull and Mercedes-Benz, demanding that they withdraw their support.”
“There will be protests over the weekend. But we want to make this a sporting event not a security event. The man who is heading the security said he wanted security to be felt but not seen. And I applaud that.”
Nabeel Rajab of Bahrain’s Centre for Human Rights: “We’re protesting to show anger at Formula 1 for conducting the race here. People see Formula 1 as representing these dictators, and it is not good, not even for Formula 1. The ruling regime should be punished and not rewarded with Formula 1.”
“Last weekend in Shanghai an ex-F1 driver I respect a great deal told me to ‘be careful’ and ‘back off’ on my Bahrain tweeting. Although like many F1 VIPs he is on good terms with the Bahraini royal family, there was nothing sinister in his message – he was trying to do me a favour, and I guess protect me from any potential backlash from whoever might be monitoring what the media has been saying about the Bahrain GP.”
“I believe in the FIA’s decision. If everything is straightforward and nothing happens, it’s not even going to be in the back of my mind at all.”
“I am not angry with the government… it’s their future at stake. What makes me angry is people like Ecclestone who decides to come to Bahrain because he thinks everyone is happy.”
“A team from the supporting Porsche Supercup has withdrawn from the opening rounds of the new season in Bahrain, citing concerns over safety for its decision.”
“Ecclestone said Mercedes was ‘very important’ for F1 but noted that the German carmaker is only in its third season racing under its own name. ‘And they have not won the world championship yet’ he said. [...] ‘I don’t see much history in this team,’ Ecclestone told the magazine.”
“At the threaded outer part of the hub, the wheel retention system is removed. This is a sprung clip that flicks in\out as the wheel nut passes over it during wheel changes. The clip will retain the nut as required by the regulation, should the wheel nut not be tightened sufficiently.”
“I’ve heard from an insider that Renaultsports KERS on the Red Bull does use some Super Capacitors, mounted on the floor.”
“The F1 event could draw up to 120,000 fans for the Sunday race and 300,000 over the three-day weekend.”
“I’m still not 100 per cent behind the steering wheel. I was just in a meeting saying I wanted to change the grip on my steering wheel. I’m still racing Tony [Kanaan]‘s wheel, which is a bit too big for me. I want it smaller. And I’m still racing with my ear plugs from Williams because mine are not ready. It’s a process and when it all comes together I hope that I’m better.”
“With the MP4-27 the class act of the field this season, and Hamilton seemingly back to his best, surely it’s time for the 2008 world champion to repay McLaren’s faith and sign on the dotted line to end any lingering speculation?”
“Irish Formula One fans will be able to see the Caterham team in action on the streets of their capital later this year after Tony Fernandes’ squad were confirmed for June’s Bavaria City Racing event in Dublin.”
My latest column for Unibet.
Comment of the day
Yesterday’s comment piece on the Bahrain Grand Prix drew some passionately-held and well-argued opinions. Here’s a sample of two from opposing sides of the debate:
The safety issue is an important one, but I believe the bigger issue in the long run is the issue of F1′s reputation because of the decision made by the FIA.
Article 1 of the FIA Statutes states: “The FIA shall refrain from manifesting racial, political or religious discrimination in the course of its activities and from taking any action in this respect.”
The Bahraini royal family is both the circuit owner and the race promoter. There is clearly an internal division in the country, with some of its citizens in the majority feeling their lives under the leadership of a minority king are no longer acceptable. This is not the FIA’s business.
But the FIA’s decision to continue with this race, in full knowledge of this internal political conflict is in direct violation of Article 1 because the Bahraini ruling regime is blatantly using this race to bolster the legitimacy of its leadership. “UniF1ed” and “One Country” are overt propaganda.
I cannot believe this is the same organisation that fined the Turkish ASN millions for politicising F1 by using a Turkish-Cypriot official during a podium ceremony. How subtle was that act when compared to the PR assault led by “UniF1ed”?
F1 has no place on either side of this issue. And by not acting decisively to steer clear of this mess, Jean Todt has demonstrated extremely poor leadership. One got a strong sense that he was trying to find reasons to let the race occur, instead of focusing on what was right for F1.
I fully respect and understand the opinions against the race.
I have a different view because of several reasons. First, yes it is right that F1 does make a political statement by going to Bahrain even if it doesn’t want to do so. It more or less helps the current regime.
However, not racing in Bahrain because of the ongoing human rights violations would be a political statement, too. It would help the opposition. While at the moment it seems the right thing to do, it is impossible to predict the possible consequences. What if, as a result, a revolution happened and radical Islamists came to power? I don’t think this is a totally unreal scenario. Fight for democracy and human rights often isn’t just that, particularly in Arab countries.
The problem is that governments and probably also people in countries like Bahrain, China, UAE, India etc. have different values and different understanding of what is right and what is wrong. For example, China still execute a lot of people each year – maybe only dangerous criminals are executed but, in totalitarian regimes, you cannot be sure about that.
Tortures in Bahrain have been widely reported already before 2011. Terrible as it may sound, the governments of these states often torture and kill their people because these things in these countries aren’t considered as unacceptable as they are in Western democracies.
FIA and FOM knew all this when they decided to go to Malaysia, UAE, Singapore, China and Bahrain (because of money) a few years ago and they have never cared about people being tortured, imprisoned and sentenced because of their political views, sexuality or whatever.
If they had decided to call Bahrain off just because of pressure from fans, media and human rights activists, then that would be just showing off, without a true intention to change their attitudes.
Thanks to Damon Smedley who posted the 400,000th comment on the blog yesterday!
And thanks also to those who contributed the preceding 399,999. More here:
From the forum
- Need a place to watch the race? Head over to F1 in Pubs
- Ex-F1 driver Kazuki Nakajima wins Formula Nippon season-opener at Suzuka
- In GP2, Addax replace Kral with Clos for Bahrain
Happy birthday to Jiten, Lenny, The Comedian 39 and The_Pope!
On this day in F1
March scored their first F1 win today in 1970 at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Jackie Stewart was at the wheel of the 701 and led every lap. But he and his Tyrrell team had greater things in mind and by the end of the season they were racing a car of their own construction.
At Jarama, Bruce McLaren finished second – his last podium appearance before his death in June that year – and Mario Andretti was third in a nother March.
Graham Hill and Johnny Servoz-Gavin were the only other classified finishers, so the point for sixth place went unclaimed.
The first lap of the race was marred by a terrible, fiery crash involving Jackie Oliver and Jacky Ickx. Both emerged unscathed:
Image © Williams/LAT