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.

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

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  1. i hope it doesn’t happen tomorrow but what will they do if people in the grandstands make a protest during the race?
    As for Force India, i think Brundle was having the same thoughts during qually does seem rather odd.
    Hopefully it will hit the value of F1 and Bernie’s pocket; as in this debacle cant really help when they might be thinking of selling it?

  2. and maybe force india asked fia to not show them during this weekend ;
    but for me-for now- this is only one tweet rumour and is funny and scary to see how rumours can quickly spread

  3. Well at least we in Britain will be able to check this out at 17:20 when the BBC finally air their pointless qualifying rerun. Let’s all play ‘SPOT THE FORCE INDIA’ If the gnome or the gargoyle are behind this they should be kicked out of F1. Bring back Flavio!

  4. Bernie should be fired. Unfortunately there is nobody who can fire him. He thinks of F1 as his own toy. Thanks for Keith for this blog.
    (I hope his F1 pass is not in danger.)

  5. Relating to this article – Why is there always someone trying to create something from nothing ?

  6. Didn’t see much of Sauber.
    Maybe they are in FOM’s bad books, or maybe the FOM coverage director is biased to showing drivers who are likely to be on pole, which is why it was a Rosberg, Vettel, Webber, Hamilton show.

    1. Robert McKay
      21st April 2012, 17:55

      But we did see them, and indeed even ran onboard with a Sauber. And we saw every other car as the main focus of a shot – apart from Force India.

      1. I agree Robert. They even showed a Hrt for a full lap at the beginning of Q1 even though Di Resta was ahead of him on track posting a lap

  7. Bernie + retribution, no-ones surprised are they? ITV got frozen out when Bernie didn’t like what they were saying/broadcasting, BBC will suffer and already is i find from there coverage. Bernie is a vindictive man, always has been and it’s the main reason 99% of the paddock is scared stiff of him (how he likes it)

  8. I understand that whatever happened with Force India today was not down to them not taking part in FP2 yesterday but down to what they were saying they would do in a meeting this morning.

    In a meeting with Bernie just prior to FP3 Force India allegedly said they intented to do qualifying & start the race but then retire both cars early on & leave the track before the end of the race.

    Also having worked with FOM & knowing the guys/girls who are still there like I do, They would not have intentionally left any team off the TV feed of there own will. The guys there have all been in Motorsport/MotorSport TV for years & are all very professional & all aim to produce the best broadcast they can.
    If they did do this intentionally then they must have had orders from the top & been put under a lot of pressure to do it.

    The FOM TV team are already under a lot of pressure as do not forget they have to stay in Bahrain another week to cover next weekends GP2 races.

    1. Very interesting post, thanks for sharing.

  9. In the whole mess of Bahrain GP situation let us not forget that FIA hasn’t objected to the race, but is also supporting it (although not in high-profile fashion). Here is what Jean Todt said on the matter today:

    I have a scenario in my mind that is clearly anti-Ecclestone for the benefit of other parties, but as a person far distant from politics I’ll let others judge for themselves without saying anything further.

  10. No matter your stance on the race – a quick glance at worldwide headlines since yesterday is plenty enough to see that this is very quickly turning into a black eye for F1 in terms of worldwide PR. Bernie may well have overplayed his hand this time. This whole thing’s got bad vibe on it, big time.

  11. Bernie Ecclestone, whose FOM company is responsible for producing the live coverage, scotched the suggestions that Force India was deliberately ignored.

    He insisted that fans are interested only in frontrunners, hence the lack of Force India screen time.

    “Nobody cares if someone is ninth or 11th,” Ecclestone told Reuters. “Only the people that are watching a particular team.

    “I spoke to our people and they were more or less concentrating on who was going to be on pole, rather than somebody going to be 10th.”

    makes you wonder why FOM director showed Charles Pic instead of Force India in Q1… according to Bernie, nobody wants to see Charles Pic. we shoulda had a garage shot of Vettel instead!

    1. Having just watched the BBC coverage, with a stopwatch in hand I only managed to spot Force India twice, for a total of 3 tenths of a second in total. Charles Pic was featured for an entire lap and a prolonged exposure of him parked in his garage. So FOM must have thought that he had a good chance on being on pole. Every time that little man opens his mouth this weekend he puts his foot in it with blatant lies. Presumably, if Force India become the victims of a Bernie vendetta then the other teams will continue to bite their tongues and hope to keep in with Bernie. What a bunch of spineless ********.

    2. As usual Ecclestone is talking demonstrable ********.

      They were not concentrating on “who was going to be on pole”. They showed most of Ricciardo’s out lap while Di Resta was setting his quick time – and while no one else was out on track.

      And since when was Ecclestone appointed spokesman for the fans ?

    3. if nobody wants to see whos going to be 9th backwards whats the point in 3 part qually? Or even turning up for the race, the midfeild battles have been excellent this year. Bernie really hasnt got a clue! If nobody wants to see them then why did he make such a fuss about them not going out in P2?

  12. bernie, u silly little man!!

  13. If im to be honest I didn’t notice the absence of Force India in qualifying, Be nice to hear from anyone who spotted that their was no footage of Force India straight away and get their take on the event. Also is it likely to be the same in the race?

  14. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher)
    21st April 2012, 20:05

    Id actually like to see what each team got coverage-wise. I mean everybody bar the top five ie. Red Bull, Ferrari, Mclaren, Mercedes and ‘The team formally known as Renault’ get most the coverage anyway. The others never get much. tbh can’t really recall how much i saw or didn’t see the Force Indias or anyone else for that matter. I know they didn’t show Di Resta flying, but i cant remember them showing when Ricciardo was either. Maybe i just didnt notice but i’d like to see the actual coverage time for each team before jumping to conclusions.

    1. dont remember seeing karthikeyan, glock, petrov, senna or maldonardo either & i think grosjean only got a very short time on tv.
      we also didnt see anything but the final corner of heikki kovalainens lap.

      i dont really see what the fuss is about, yes di restas good lap was not shown on tv but thats not uncommon, many of the laps from q1/2 from the lower teams are often not covered as the focus is nearly always on the bigger teams. there has also been plenty of q3 sessions where the drivers from the lower end positions have not been seen at all.

      there are 24 cars out there & not all can be shown when there are more than 1 on track.

    2. “I know they didn’t show Di Resta flying, but i cant remember them showing when Ricciardo was either.”

      In Q2 they showed almost the whole of Ricciardo’s flying lap – and also his warmup lap while Di Resta was setting his time, unseen. At the time, the leaders were all in the pits.

  15. Spoke to someone at FOM & the official line seems to be that they were asked not to show Force India because there is a whisky sponsor (Whyte & Mackay) on the car & Bahrain law prohibits alcohol branding been displayed. I was told that they were asked to remove the branding from the car Friday afternoon but for whatever reason left it on.

    I actually seem to recall Force India removed that branding from there cars at Abu-Dhabi last year for similar reasons.

    1. @keithcollantine in case you didn’t see this yet ^

      1. However, McLaren have removed the little alcohol sponsorship they did have (on the wing mirrors) just for this race apparently. If it is a Bahrain regulation, haven’t they had better things to be doing over the last 2 years than reforming their alcohol-advertising policy?


      bernie quote below

      Instead, he said their TV no-show could be due to legal reasons that prohibit advertising hard liquor in Bahrain – a dry country – as their cars contain a whiskey brand on their car.

      He said: “I was busy and didn’t notice Force India were not on. I will look into it.

      “It could be technical but I suspect it was more to do with the Bahrain laws on no alcohol advertising.

      “They have a whisky company prominently on the car. They should have taken it off. The TV could not show that.”

      He later added: “I spoke to our people and they were more or less concentrating on who was going to be on pole, rather than somebody going to be 10th.

      1. However, SunSport understands that Force India were given the green light to run with the logos of whiskey brand Whyte & Mackay.

        If true, alcohol maybe used as a cover? Although I’ll wait until tomorrow for any conspiracy theories.

    3. Interesting – I’ve dropped Force India a line to ask.

      On one hand I’d be surprised if this is the explanation as teams are used to having to alter their liveries to suit different territories, and Force India have (to the best of my knowledge) had alcohol sponsors since they first competed in F1.

      And if it is the case, presumably the law has changed since 2010, as Force India had both Kingfisher Premium and Whyte & MacKay logos (and possibly other alcohol brands) on their cars the last time F1 raced in Bahrain:

      Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, Bahrain, 2010

      On the other hand, if ever there was a weekend to be preoccupied by more pressing matters and forget to take unsuitable advertising off the car, it’s this one.

      1. If anyone has a recording of FP1, that could solve this little mystery. If the cameras were broadcasting images of the Force India cars in FP1, before they decided not to run in FP2… then obviously alcoholic branding was/is fine and it’s just a lie.

        If they weren’t televising the FI cars even in FP1, then perhaps this isn’t some sort of retaliation over not participating in FP2 and really is about alcohol.

    4. Almost convincing – but how long does it take to peel a sticker off a car, and I thought Whyte & Mackay made “Music CDs” for occasions like this?! Different stickers for different local laws though, same as it’s been for donkey’s years.

      I’ve read that the new Sauber sponsor (currently “True Blue”) is of an alcoholic nature – think Mansell – so maybe the local laws are a reason why they haven’t identified themselves yet.

      It’s sad, and says everything about F1, that so many people are on about this when people are dying.

  16. For those who think remaining neutral is laudable, this guy knows a bit about persecution and torture personally – for nearly 3 decades – and yet when in a posiition of power to “right the wrongs” promoted forgiveness of his persecuters. This is what he has to say…

    “If you are a neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” – Desmund Tutu

  17. F1 has by and large been a great motor sport to watch over the decades – but why anyone would want to perch their money together with their corporate and personal reputations on the head of this mindless, flailing and uncontrollably schizophrenic sport is beyond me. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if competition applications require teams to be sworn in blood over a picture of The Madonna…

    The silverstone based team has accrued many fans over the years, Paul Di Resta has many fans, Nico Hulkenberg has many fans as does Jules Bianchi. Fans that watch F1 to SEE the team and it’s drivers competing. Fans that also value and respect the decisions of the team. Fans that support the team via merchandise. Fans that ultimately support the championships via tickets and TV subscriptions.

    The FIA should take note, sponsors should take note, TV companies should take note, potential investors should take note and most importantly FOM should take note.

    This weekend is yet another dirty smear on the already opaque public image of F1.

  18. Watching qualy back, just noticed Di Resta shown in the background at the end of Q1 – he’s diving into the pits while Kobayashi crosses the finish line. I guess that’s most TV time they’ve got!

    1. Di Resta was also passed by Webber on the second to last straight on Webber’s last flying lap in Q3. They did cut to in car footage at the time though, which showed less of the Force India car than an aerial shot would have.

  19. just seen a twitter campaign for people to Boycott Gillette. If social media can bring down the Egyptian premier, I guess the corporate sponsors of F1 should be worried.

    I’ve been saying this for 2 days, speaking out and acting can make a difference. Social media connects us little people and gives us power as a collective

    1. Wow. Shell, dell,virgin, hugo boss, vodaphone, casio, pirelli, santander, hilton, jonnie walker, siemens, reebok, proton, intel all being cited.

      Here’s one guy with over 3,000 followers recommending this @peterclifford1

      and I’ve seen others

  20. It does seem a bit strange that they’d rather show Alonso warming his tyres, moving the camera away from the Force India that was just behind him and on a hot lap…

    Guess we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

    1. Well tomorrow (or today I should say) will be a different story, as they now realize that the public can see.

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