F1 Fanatic round-up
Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:
“The Bahrain authorities have refused entry to a number of journalists in recent days from organisations as diverse as Sky News, CNN, Reuters and the Financial Times.”
Deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists Robert Mahoney: “Bahrain wants the international attention brought by hosting a Grand Prix but doesn’t want foreign journalists to wander from the race track where they might see political protests. Bahrain tells the outside world it has nothing to hide. If that’s the case then it must allow journalists entry visas and let them report freely.”
“An estimated 10,000 people swarmed the highway north of the circuit on Friday to protest against the ruling Sunni regime, with rioting expected to break out across the city as it has most nights this week. Every day the protesters become more encouraged by the international attention they are garnering, with news reporters being denied visas as they scrabble to get in on the action.”
“On a 32-kilometre stretch there were a total of 79, including cars, bikes and one armoured patrol vehicle. On arrival at the entrance to the track everybody involved in F1 had their bags searched, walked through a metal detector and was subjected to a body scanner, all exceptionally rare for the sport.”
Bernie Ecclestone: “I think you guys want a story and it is a good story. And if there isn’t a story you make it up as usual. So nothing changes.”
“[Ecclestone] stood by the Crown Prince as he annotated a series of reasons — all political — why Bahrain should host a race. The Bahrain Grand Prix stopped being about sport a long time ago.”
“Martin Whitmarsh: I don’t think we’re going to comment on that. We are here to take part in a race. I think we’ve made our position clear. So unless anyone else wants to add anything, I think we are here to race.
Christian Horner: I echo Martin’s comments.”
“But the business model of F1 has meant that politicised events are increasingly inevitable. Almost every race in the F1 calendar (the British Grand Prix is a notable exception) receives some form of government backing. Even the new Grands Prix in the USA are receiving state help.”
“The track surface on the approach to the chicane has been levelled out, after a laser study of the road revealed changes as big as 20cm in the height of the track in the braking area. In addition, the wall that [Sergio] Perez hit has been pushed back a further 14.6 metres.”
“It was very important for me that any Formula One opportunity was a proper one; it couldn’t be a media stunt.”
My latest article for Unibet.
Comment of the day
Steph praises the few in the paddock who’ve had the courage to say something other than the “we’re here to race” PR line:
Hats off to [Nico Hulkenberg] for saying something especially when he’s really still a newbie to the paddock and the politics.
Webber was the first to say something all the way back last year too so kudos to him too. I can’t hold one team more responsible than another as they’re all in the same boat but I so wish Ferrari with all their clout would say something.
From the forum
- What was the best F1 season ever?
Many thanks to Will Wood who did a superb job writing up the practice session reports yesterday in unusual and trying circumstances.
Happy birthday to Vincent and The Kef!
On this day in F1
Two years ago today I wrote this piece arguing stewarding standards had improved. Following some of the controversial decisions that had passed in recent seasons – particularly 2008 – I still think is a fair assessment.
Even so I expect stewards’ decisions will continue to be a hotly-debated area. There is still room for improvement and rare are sports where referees’ decisions don’t cause considerable debate among fans.
Image © Caterham/LAT