Paul di Resta, Force India, Bahrain, 2012

Questions over invisible Force Indias in qualifying coverage

2012 Bahrain Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

The Force India team were conspicuous by their absence to anyone watching TV coverage of today’s qualifying session.

The world television feed produced by Formula One Management featured no substantial footage of either driver during the session.

This was despite Paul di Resta advancing as far as the final stage of qualifying.

Force India did not run in the second practice session yesterday as the team made arrangements to ensure they left the circuit before nightfall.

This came after members of their team were caught up in a petrol bomb attack earlier in the week. Two members of the team chose to return home afterwards.

This prompted speculation that the lack of coverage of their cars in qualifying was retribution by FOM – something which is understood to have happened with other teams in the past.

Tensions continue to rise in Bahrain following further violent clashes between protesters and security forces. The Bahraini opposition blamed the government for the death of a man yesterday.

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

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145 comments on “Questions over invisible Force Indias in qualifying coverage”

  1. It’d be hilarious if a Force India won tomorrow. Bernie will probably force the Bahrain directors to erase the entire race off tape and create a graphical race of a Mac/RB/Merc winning. :P

      1. To be honest maybe the timing when the force indias chose to run made them invisible, no one really wants to watch the FI in Q3 but the FI fans anyway we also saw little of the HRT and still little of the Sauber and very little also from Alonso, i only saw an oversteering moment and its replay.

  2. I’m going to reserve judgment until tomorrow, see how it goes then. We always complain about FOM’s coverage so I want to see if this is an honest oversight or something more sinister. If it’s the latter, that really is a poor do. They clearly don’t understand the power of social media.

    1. Either way, this post currently has as many comments as the Vettel pole article does. If the intention was to punish Force India with zero coverage, it has spectacularly backfired. Ask people about Bahrain quali in a months time and I bet half of them couldn’t tell you who made Q3, but almost all of them would be able to tell you what happened to Force India.

      Bernie really doesn’t “get” the internet.

      1. Force India sponsors are basically Force India footage cover usually grants new and better sponsorships if you dont get to tv you will lost hipotetically millions on sponsorship, especially when the products advertised arent really tweeting matter.

    2. I agree. I did notice the miss but really didnt think of it too much until i started seeing the tweets. We ll see how it goes tomorrow but if indeed this is intentional then it is a very cheap.

    1. I noticed this while watching and put it to my friends that it might have had something to do with their abscence in FP2. Although I kind of dissmissed it as a genuine reason and put it down to a cooincidence, but hearing that this type of thing has allegedley happend before makes me think that maybe it was deliberate. If it is true, it’s a pathetic and pety way to dish out some ‘revenge’. As Andrew says above, we’ll see how tomorrow goes for them.

  3. I don’t get the hoohah about this, they’ve been invisible all season. By all means take up issue with that, not just because they’ve got on their bad side and there’s suddenly a reason for it…

      1. Damn right there’s an agenda. People appear to be sick and tired of the manipulation of F1 by certain individuals.

        We have an FIA who sanctioned the use of slogans “uniF1ed = one nation in celebration”, a slogan that was propose and run from February. This is clearly in breach of article 1
        of the FIA statute.

        Ecclestone is under criminal investigation around the aquisition of the rights for F1 and sale to CVC. $1m a year to buy them from his mate head of the FIA. He is a present trying to sell these rights for $10billion.

        The bullying tactics ove the concorde agreements are a matter of historical fact, and are happening again this year.

        The decision by the FIA to go to Bahrain has been proven ridculous, the world’s media has had a field day in criticising F1 this weekend.

        Ross Brawn has gone on record today saying, “it is important for the sport to ask whether they did the right thing coming here racing”. If it was clear there was no problem with the decision, why suggest this?

        These people (Ecclestone and Todt) have to be removed from positions of authority in our fantastic sport. The sooner the better.

        And the social media is taken vary seriously in these times – capable of applying pressure from the otherwise silent majority. Cf. the arab spring, Iran the year before.

        It is our right to comment. It is our right to expect fairness and justice within our sport. It is our duty to speak out.

    1. Writers on this site believe anything and feel free to use it to push their own agendas.

      Some one died in Bahrain… bias OPPOSITION claim it was due to the government. How on earth can we take anything like that seriously when the source is as bias as can be?

      1. @infy The article makes the nature of the claim quite clear so I don’t know what you’re objecting to there. In this situation it could take time before the exact details of the death are confirmed and verified – particularly as the government will not want to admit to killing a protester on a race weekend.

      2. What are the chances that a protester who is suspiciously dead wasn’t killed by the notoriously harsh security forces, who have past form of killing civilians? Maybe it was sufficiently provoked, maybe it wasn’t. But my mind is mostly made up on who killed him.

          1. Perhaps, and I sort of hope that this is the same thing, as it would be worse for the country if I’m right. But given the past year, I’m inclined to jump to what for me is the most obvious conclusion, and will gladly look a fool if it’s proved to have nothing to do with the security forces in the end.

      3. I take it you are a Bahrain official then? The death of a protestor in a country that has already killed so many of its own people and has openly used tear gas and stun grenades on protestors suggests that it is entirely possible that the brutal police were invloved.

        1. I have spent just 30 minutes a day following for the past week following #Bahrain. Much of the contribution is in arabic but a fair bit is in English.

          Times and dates and places are even listed

          I have seen scores and scores of different pictures and videos showing everything from dead children/adults, to bodies shredded by shotgun pellets, videos that have shocked me with the clear brutality of the violence committed by security forces on civilians.

          Try it. NOT for the fainthearted.

      4. The irony of some UK #F1 fans complaining about lack of support for protesters in Bahrain is rich. Brits living under a constitutional monarchy suggesting that disgruntled Bahrainis be supported in a subversive quest to overthrow *their* constitutional monarchy is priceless.

        1. Mate, Queen Liz SERVES THE PEOPLE, she has no dictatorial powers!

          You could argue that it is rich for Westerners to complain because Western governments are not helping the people, same in Syria, all us 1st worlders should feel some shame.

    1. What about Force India’s contractual obligations to THEIR sponsors? …something it would seem they failed to meet by running away and hiding rather than participating in a scheduled, televised practice session. Serves them right and it’s great to see the powers-that-be squishing an uppity team as an example to others.

  4. Hope they really complain about it. It wasn’t normal… I remember seeing all the teams today, except Force India, a team which, surprise surprise, chose to leave the track early during friday.

    1. If these suspicions are proved right we will have to accept that FOM and the FIA are consciously lending political support to the regime. There is no other way of interpreting such behaviour.

      1. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are backing the regime. I think it is far simpler than that; FOM and Bernie made the decision to race so they could claim the “fee”. Force India are being punished for daring to go against Bernie’s decision to pretend everything is OK and therefore to race. But whatever you think of Bernie he did not get so rich by being naiive.

        If Force India want to get even their car(s) have to do something that means Bernie and FOM cannot omit them – winning the race, breaking the rules, or taking one of the front runners out.

        As someone already said, Sponsors of Force India might have a claim to make against Bernie and the race organisers.

  5. something which is understood to have happened with other teams in the past

    Any more info on that other than a vague rumour? I’m not saying it hasn’t happened and isn’t happening now, but unless that tweeter is actually qualified to comment- I hardly know as I have never heard of him before- that seems like a funny inclusion in the article compared to the normal quality of sources.

    Of course if it is true then it is absolutely shocking, and further evidence that this race is actually more political in being run than if it had been cancelled. The temerity of a team to encounter a dangerous situation and then try and do right by its employees, having been put in such a position by Ecclestone and the FIA! Shame!

    The funniest thing was in practice yesterday when Ecclestone was interviewed- he said he’d personally offered to run with Force India back from the circuit after FP2, without a police escort. Because that’s all the defence you need- a frail old man who seems to think he’s immortal and that people should feel safe merely being in his presence as he can extend his Godly protection over those in his company.

      1. Thanks for that, Keith. It still sounds like hearsay without any other source/s, although it certainly adds credit to the rumour. I’d love to know what information he’s holding back!

          1. @keithcollantine Very cryptic! It’d be entertaining if the connotations weren’t of utter corruption. Thanks for all this Keith, great reporting as always.

            Speculation: trying to think who caused an obvious upset in the time I’ve been watching- maybe Renault as some kind of crash-gate fallout. Although I wonder if it means there’s a deeper political story buried, being concorde related or some other factor of the internal working of F1.

          2. @matt90 I doubt it’s Renault because they clearly showed Grosjean spinning at Singapore FP1 at the exact same spot Piquet did.

            Jordan and Minardi are perfect because they are both outspoken teams, but are generally backmarkers (especially from late 2003-2005) and are unmissed when the midfield show up.

            One good reason it could be Minardi is that they fought against teams rejecting the fighting fund bid – Stoddy even had that presscon blowup in Canada 2003.

        1. @matt90 exactly. The “journalist” in question has done the twitter equivalent of the “OMG I can’t believe what happened, but I don’t wanna talk about it” posts my 15 year old cousin makes on facebook.

          If you don’t wanna open a can of worms, don’t tweet about it in the first place.

        1. Probably Minardi when there was that argument about using previous years cars’ bits in Australia (2004-2005?). They didn’t take part in some practice sessions that weekend, similar to Force India this weekend.

          Being a Minardi fan, it was hard to get coverage of them at the best of times, but I can’t remember if it was any worse that year or not.

          1. It wasn’t minardi as they were already gone by the time we took over the coverage of most races.

            I was at FOM from 97-07 & can honestly not recall any team been left off our broadcast’s in that time.
            There was talk of leaving Arrows off the F1 Digital+ broadcast in 2002 after they played there games in qualifying for the French Gp, However that never actually happened.

          2. @keithcollantine I’d love to see GT_Racer’s comment put to Adam Hay-Nicholls to see if he had a reply (I don’t have twitter myself, although I have been keeping tabs on several F1 journalists open, including Adam Cooper who just said that he saw a fire roadblock).

  6. Wonder when Vijay Mallya will stick his oar in about all this? (or the Sahara guy, whichever one is team principal now)

    Presumably he is away at the Indian Premier League or something, which is of course a pure sporting contest and nothing to do with money.

      1. Yeah, I’ve seen a few of them, and watching it now. I love the way Kevin Pietersen’s wearing a mic while he’s fielding, chatting away with the commentator! Never seen that before.

        They should try that in F1, during the safety cars or whatever. I know Ben Edwards talked to them in BTCC. Would be great to hear the drivers nearer the heat of battle, away from their PR minders, they might even say what they really think…

  7. This was despite Paul di Resta advancing as far as the final stage of qualifying.

    Di Resta didn’t do a lap. And if he did, he went out and set some sector times before returning to the pits. Who wants to see that?

    Of all the teams this year, I think Force India have received the least coverage. We see very little of them, the HRTs, and the Toro Rosso, unless Vergne or Ricciardo puts in a good lap at the end of Q2. We haven’t seen much of Kobayashi this year, either.

    1. It’s not so much the Q3 stage.

      In Q1 and Q2 they were both the first two cars to set times and were running around in the opening minutes with noone else on track. FOM chose to look through all the garages for several minutes, watch Narain and Pedro walking down the pitlane, and finally once one other car was on track go to them to watch their outlap, regardless of the fact that FI were doing hotlaps.

      There is no doubt in my mind at all that FOM deliberately avoided focusing on a Force India today.

      1. FOM chose to look through all the garages for several minutes, watch Narain and Pedro walking down the pitlane, and finally once one other car was on track go to them to watch their outlap, regardless of the fact that FI were doing hotlaps.

        The opening laps of Q1 are generally just drivers doing banker laps. Nothing really exciting happens until about five minutes from the end.

    2. while like you said “unless Vergne or Ricciardo puts in a good lap at the end of Q2″, well in this case Di Resta got 5th in q2, but nothing was shown when it should have.

      1. Paul di Resta was not the only driver to make it through to Q3 with his final lap. Ricciardo, Perez, Alonso, Grosjean and Raikkonen (even though he was then knocked out) all managed it. FOM didn’t show Grosjean’s lap until he emerged on the front straight; does Bernie have a grudge against Lotus?

        I think it is far more likely that with so many drivers on fast laps, the TV director had to decide which drivers to show. And with Ricciardo, Perez, Alonso and Grosjean all setting laps in quick succession, the obvious choice was to show them. With di Resta out of sequence, it was more exciting to watch everyone else.

    1. Dude, seriously? If anyone set a “bad precedent” it was Force India, by refusing to run in practice, whining about overblown concerns for their quote-unquote safety, and then not even having the guts to stick by that and instead backtracking and claiming that they didn’t participate b/c they’d already achieved all of their sporting goals in the previous session. Yeah right! Good on FOM for giving a beat-down to those jokers – if in fact that’s what happened. Everybody in F1 better row in the same direction if they want to keep lining their pockets, b/c there’s no room for dissent.

  8. The behaviour of Ecclestone in banning Force Indias cars from TV coverage is a further sign of the mess this race has become.
    The team chose safety and who can blame them, I have had a petrol bomb thrown at me and I know from personal experience, it is very very scary .
    The sooner this ridiculous pantomime is over the better.
    I really really hope Ecclestone goes sooner rather than later.
    As for Todt, I never wanted him to be elected, he has no integrity and that was fully demonstrated by his televised cheating when at Ferrari,
    So we now have a sport run by a cheat and an 80 something who has no grasp of reality. …wonderful

          1. @david-a – how was what smudger wrote lashing out at ferrari? the dig was at todt, qualified by the issuing of team orders during his tenure at ferrari.
            that said, what JT would have to do with this, i don’t know. the tv coverage, if i’m not mistaken, is provided by FOM, not the FIA

          2. @@spankythewondermonkey – Smudger may have been concentrating on Todt, but he still effectively accusing the organisation, considering that JT was at the helm.

            Regardless, smudger definitely didn’t “qualify” or justify his accusation by bringing up team orders in 2002 because they were not cheating. When you consider that Todt has very little to do with the current situation, smudger’s post comes across as just an unfair and unnecessary attack.

          3. This is a lift from the last time Ferrari were caught cheating.
            “Ferrari have escaped further punishment for using banned team orders.
            The FIA, world motorsport’s governing body, upheld Ferrari’s $100,000 (£65,100) fine, but will review the rule banning team orders.”
            Todt wasn’t caught at the time he cheated, therefore he went unpunished. I have no beef with Ferrari, its Mr Todt whose integrity i have no faith in, the fact he has sanctioned this race staggers me and |I wonder what motivation he has for going ahead, he has brought the sport into a total shambles this weekend. What will be the reaction if someone throws themselves in front of a car??
            A human being died last night solely because this race went ahead, without the race no demo of this size and he would still be alive. Mr Todt runs the FIA and they decided to go ahead…what planet are you on to say its nothing to do with him ????

          4. @smudgersmith1 Get your facts straight before you attack people. Team orders were perfectly legal when Todt used them, and as such, they could not have been punished. Therefore Todt wasn’t caught because there was nothing to incriminate.
            I will give you the right quote instead of 2010 one you used:
            “The WMSC deplored the manner in which team orders were given and executed at the Austrian Grand Prix. Nevertheless the Council finds it impossible to sanction the two drivers, because they were both contractually bound to execute orders given by the team.
            The Council also recognised the long-standing and traditional right of a team to decree the finishing order of its drivers in what it believes to be the best interest of its attempt to win both world championships.
            In the circumstances, the Council decided; with some reluctance; that it could take no action over the team orders given by Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Austrian Grand Prix.” 26.06.2002
            Since then, however, they were made illegal, so, by 2010, to which your quote refers, such actions were punishable. But by that time a certain Mr Domenicali was at the helm of Ferrari, while Todt has been long gone. The events of 2010 lead to the reinstatement of team orders (allegedly because almost everyone was using them anyway, very thinly disguised as the requests to save fuel and such) but that’s a different story.

  9. I’ve had a great idea for Force India for more coverage: encourage their drivers to drift the entire race.
    OR, they could fir some crazy addition to their car that won’t affect performnce, but will look plain odd

  10. Martin Brundle and Damon Hill were right, they are living over there in a bubble….people are actually being killed in the clashes now. Imagine the breast beating and gnashing of teeth and wailing if a member of the F1 fraternity was to be injured or killed. But a protestors death does not worry Bernie, his F1 empire is not that disimilar it seems to that of Bahrain.

      1. I’ve just watched the BBC Qualy highlight show and from the little you could see of the grandstands they were almost empty. Jake and DC spent a long time broadcasting from an almost deserted paddock. When they interviewed Vettel, the pole winner, there was only one couple taking pictures in the background. The paddock was almost all officials and team personnel and a large number of cleaners with seemingly nothing to do.

  11. If this is a deliberate act (and I’m not saying it is, some teams do get left out occasionally) it’d be interesting to see who was behind it.

    The obvious person is Bernie but I remember hearing at some races that they use a local TV director to decide which shots to show. I think the Japanese GP was one where the commentators mentioned that the local director was showing a lot of Kobayashi.

    If that is the case then it could have been a Bahraini director who was calling the shots. Since the whole GP is paid for and organised by the government it’s possible that Bernie or FOM had nothing to do with it. The again it could just be an unfortunate coincidence.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the teams kept track of how much time they get on camera for marketing and selling sponsorship. If that is the case then it would be pretty easy for Force India to show whether this kind of thing can happen on occasion or that it is way out of the ordinary.

    1. I think Japan is not a rule but an exception, due to the fact that the whole production is outsourced for that particular race. The same reason why Japanese GP was shown in HD in Japan years ahead of the rest of the season.

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