Questions over invisible Force Indias in qualifying coverage

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

Paul di Resta, Force India, Bahrain, 2012The 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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144 comments on Questions over invisible Force Indias in qualifying coverage

  1. smudgersmith1 (@smudgersmith1) said on 21st April 2012, 14:24

    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

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 21st April 2012, 14:48

      @smudgersmith1 – Televised cheating?

      • PJ (@pjtierney) said on 21st April 2012, 15:35

        He could be referring to team orders in 2002.

        • smudgersmith1 (@smudgersmith1) said on 21st April 2012, 15:57

          Absolutely, find it on YouTube

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 21st April 2012, 16:00

            @smudgersmith1 , @pjtierney – Team orders aren’t nice, but they are not cheating. You’re upset about Ecclestone’s handling of Bahrain, I understand that, but it’s no reason to lash out at Ferrari.

          • spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 21st April 2012, 17:11

            @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

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 21st April 2012, 19:36

            @@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.

          • smudgersmith1 (@smudgersmith1) said on 21st April 2012, 19:48

            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 ????

          • AlexNK said on 21st April 2012, 20:08

            @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.

  2. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 21st April 2012, 14:29

    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

  3. Steve said on 21st April 2012, 14:46

    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.

  4. mixwell (@mixwell) said on 21st April 2012, 15:01

    Did they show the grandstands as well? I don’t remember seeing those at all. Were there any spectators today?

    • mixwell (@mixwell) said on 21st April 2012, 15:03

      I meant did they decide not to show not to show the grandstands too ?

      Sorry for the triple post. Internet issues.

      • foleyger (@foleyger) said on 21st April 2012, 16:31

        the main stand looked sparse to me and very few in the stands at turn 1,2 and 3. Don’t think there is any other granstands

      • MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 21st April 2012, 17:49

        @mixwell Actually they haven’t shown the Grandstands up close the entire weekend, only what you can observe as the car enters and leaves the frame. This is as opposed to how Grandstands are shown sometimes at Singapore or Malaysia.

      • Diogenes said on 21st April 2012, 19:02

        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.

  5. Dave (@davea86) said on 21st April 2012, 15:15

    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.

    • Gucha said on 21st April 2012, 16:24

      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.

  6. fatbloke said on 21st April 2012, 15:18

    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?

  7. evolutionut (@evolutionut) said on 21st April 2012, 15:29

    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

  8. Lotus49 (@lotus49) said on 21st April 2012, 15:35

    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!

  9. Alex (@alexde) said on 21st April 2012, 15:57

    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.)

  10. Ean (@ean) said on 21st April 2012, 15:59

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

  11. DavidS (@davids) said on 21st April 2012, 16:12

    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.

    • Robert McKay said on 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.

  12. maxthecat said on 21st April 2012, 16:13

    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)

  13. GT_Racer said on 21st April 2012, 16:39

    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.

  14. Gucha said on 21st April 2012, 16:44

    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.

  15. Maciek (@maciek) said on 21st April 2012, 17:29

    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.

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