Ecclestone vows Bahrain return as journalists arrested

F1 Fanatic round-up

Bernie Ecclestone, Kimi Raikkonen, Bahrain, 2012In the F1 Fanatic round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says the Bahrain Grand Prix will remain on the calendar.

Meanwhile journalists attempting to report on the situation in the country are arrested following the Grand Prix.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Bahrain has a secure F1 future, says Ecclestone (Reuters)

“Asked whether the race would stay on the calendar, the 81-year-old Briton told Reuters: ‘Absolutely. Forever. No problem.'”

Ben de Pear (Channel 4 News foreign editor) via Twitter

“Bahraini authorities and Ecclestone say journalists free to report in Bahrain, but we along with many media organisations were refused entry. Team arrested, surrounded by masked men and the driver assaulted taken away separately, last seen bleeding from his arms and we [are very] concerned.”

Channel 4 News team arrested in Bahrain (Channel 4 News)

“Channel 4 News has been in contact with him and his team, and are concerned about the welfare of the team’s local driver who was arrested and assaulted in front of the team, and then separated from them. When last seen he appeared to be bleeding from slashes to his arms.”

William Hague (British foreign secretary) via Twitter

“Very concerned about detention of Channel 4 journalists in Bahrain. Our Embassy is seeking urgent consular access.”

Bahrain Grand Prix passes amid surreal atmosphere with little disruption (The Guardian)

“[Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed al Zayani gave] some seriously implausible figures. He claimed that 28,000 spectators attended the race, even though the empty stands suggested that Bahrain had voted with it’s weary feet. It was claimed that 70,000 had come to the three days of racing, surely another gross exaggeration.”

Martin Rowson on the Bahrain Grand Prix controversy ?ǣ cartoon (The Guardian)

More criticism of yesterday’s race.

Truth survives the teargas and tantrums (The Times, subscription required)

“But [Jean Todt] got lucky: the circuit was safe, mainly because it was locked up tighter than Fort Knox, and the only price to pay was the life of the young protester ? ??Freedom, not Formula One??, they shout ? allegedly shot by security forces on Friday.”

Bahrain F1 race completed amid tight security (FT – registration required)

“Tight security at checkpoints on the way to the track caused tailbacks as the authorities tried to curtail attempts by protesters to bring their pro-democracy demands into the heart of the event.”

Fuming Schumi slams Pirelli (Sky)

“The main thing I feel unhappy about is everyone has to drive well below a driver’s, and in particular, the car’s limits to maintain the tyres.”

Pirelli responds to Schumacher criticism (Autosport)

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery: “I’m disappointed to hear those comments from someone of Michael’s experience. Others were getting on with the job and getting their tyres to work. His comments during winter testing were that he was very happy with the tyres, and now he seems to have changed his tune.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner surprised by good start to 2012 (BBC)

“That puts us in the lead of the drivers’ and constructors’ championships after the flyaways [long-haul races], which is certainly not we were expecting after the first couple of races.”

Comment of the day

Was Nico Rosberg’s defensive driving really so bad? Slr says not:

At the time I saw it as Rosberg defending one side, and Hamilton and Alonso deciding to pass down the same side anyway. If it was like Schumacher and Barrichello at Hungary, then a penalty might have been just.
Slr

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the crash which brought Stirling Moss’s Grand Prix career to an end.

Moss crashed while racing a Lotus in the Glover Trophy race at Goodwood today in 1962. He had lost time earlier in the race with mechnical problems, and was chasing the fastest lap record when he came off the track, crashed into a banking and had to be cut from his car.

Moss suffered head injuries and later announced his retirement from racing. However he continued to compete until historic events until last year.

Image ?? Lotus F1 Team/LAT

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128 comments on Ecclestone vows Bahrain return as journalists arrested

  1. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 23rd April 2012, 9:38

    @mpw1985 Firstly we used to have tyres that were made of granite covered with rubber, they were called the Bridgestones. Pirelli have actually tried to reduce the performance gap between the tyre compounds and they said so at the beginning of the year.

    Secondly, why is it that some drivers could extract so much out of their tyres? Di Resta successfully executed a 2 stop strategy, although the tyres were gone at the end as he said. Perez and Kobayashi do it with success on many occaisions. Even last year Vettel could manage his tyres. You say that such a characteristic does not suit Hamilton, Webber and Schumi, but isn’t that part of the skill required. A race lasts 55 laps on average. What made yesterday interesting was that tyre degradation differs from car to car. Its one of the few mechanical variables left in this sport.

    Lastly, many people thought about bringing back the tyre war era. I haven’t seen races from that period so I wouldn’t know but from a perspective of the sport I think doing so would only make this sport costlier. When tyres were made for Ferrari and Schumi, they dominated the sport for 5 years, without giving anyone a chance. There is no telling such a situation wont occur again. You’ve had 4 winners from 4 teams from 4 races this year. If anything tyre wear helped majorly in that. Also, tyre wear probably allowed Perez to gain 2nd, something I doubt would happen if the top teams paid top bucks to design their own spec tyres.

  2. Wow, 28000 people attended the race. Just think, the British GP has been under threat so often, but yet always has a big crowd of FANS. I think this just says it all about F1 really and what it now stands for.

  3. below a driver’s, and in particular, the car’s limits to maintain the tyres.”

    I just see it as there is a new limit that everyone has to adjust to. I never had a problem with the Bridgestone tyres really as I loved seeing the drivers go flat out but Pirelli so far have been great for entertainment.

    Congrats on COTD Slr

  4. paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 23rd April 2012, 10:57

    I think drivers having to go deliberately slowly to now ruin their tyres is, frankly, an insult to racing fans. I accept it is the same for everyone etc. etc, but when the very fastest drivers are effectively penalized for their talent it seems to me something has gone very wrong.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:18

      @paulguitar – I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill here. If we look back at Bahrain, there were extenuating circumstances that might explain why the Pirellis were hyper-sensitive to change:

      1) The teams had no data on how the Pirelli tyres would behave. Whatever data they did have was at least three years out of date (as the race used the extended circuit in 2010).

      2) The temperatures were consistently high all weekend. The track surface was at least forty degrees Celsius on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Moreover, it was dry; Singapore and Sepang might be hot, but they’re also in the tropics, which makes them humid. As far as I know, the Pirelli tyres have never been used in such extreme conditions.

      3) The circuit has not been used in two years. The surface has since been exposed to the elements; just look at how much sand was coating the circuit when the teams first arrived.

      So in the end, I don’t think this is a case of drivers being forced to run at 90% of what they are truly capable of for fear of damaging their tyres. I think that there are certain anomalous incidents that come together to form a very challenging set of circumstances for drivers to manage their tyres in. Utimately, the degradation experienced in Bahrain will prove to be the exception, and not the rule.

      • paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:23

        Interesting stuff. I certainly hope you’re right, and that Bahrain was something of a ‘one-off’ situation.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:50

          Well, I’m not totally downplaying the sensitivity of the Pirellis. They are sensitive, but I don’t think they should be changed because of that. Tyre management has always been an essential skill for drivers, since the tyres are (ideally) the only part of the car in contact with the circuit. So the idea that a driver needs to figure out how to get the most out of them is nothing new – just look at the 1980s, where we saw the super-sticky qualifying tyres that were good for two laps: the out-lap and the flying lap. A single error would cost a driver dearly. I think that’s an element of racing that shouldn’t be overlooked, because if you take that away, then you’ll start taking away other elements of racing. Pit stops? They slow drivers down, so they can’t be good. The grid? The drivers at the back are at a disadvantage, so everyone should start alongside one another. Corners? A driver might make a mistake, so let’s get rid of them, too. Eventually, it’s jsut glorified drag racing.

          Formula 1 drivers are supposed to be the best drivers in the world. When they’re getting paid millions of dollars, you kind of expect them to be able to earn their keep. So I think life on the track should be as difficult as possible for them.

          • paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 23rd April 2012, 12:10

            Well, I understand what you are saying, and I also enjoyed the witty way you make your point. As a purist though, what I really want to see is drivers being able to attack without compromise. What worries me is that qualifying will be the only real chance these days to see what a driver can do totally on ability alone, without worrying about wrecking his tyres.

  5. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:03

    In the wake of all the Bahrain fallout, this story slipped under the radar – Bernie says a deal has been done with the French to hold a race at Paul Ricard in 2013. All that remains now is the signing of the contract.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:17

      Meanwhile Sarkozy’s behind in the first round of voting so perhaps it’s not such a done deal.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:23

        I sense a repeat of Valencia is on the cards – Bernie will wait until the new government comes in before finalising anything. The difference is that the incumbent party probably won’t stay in power, but Bernie will have thought of that. When he’s dealing with the French government, it would be hard to ignore the upcoming elections and public opinion of the people he is dealing with when he is trying to secure a race. For all his criticisms, he hasn’t gotten to where he is by making a glaring oversight like ignoring the possibility that the people signing the contract might not be around for much longer and their successors may not be open to the idea of a race using public money. At the very least, he will have approached the strongest candidates running for the presidency and gotten their assurances that if they win, they will be open to the idea of supporting a race.

    • Thejudge13 said on 23rd April 2012, 13:32

      another Bernie owned track huh?

  6. Karthikeyan (@ridiculous) said on 23rd April 2012, 11:28

    Schumacher’s comment about Pirelli exposes the fragile nature of an old man who is unable to capitalize on a race-win worthy car. If Pirelli is the sole reason preventing drivers from pushing others (no reference to Nico), then why is his 2010 record so abysmal? Three 4th places in which at least one of the leading cars crashed out and finishing 9th, 64 points adrift of Kubica(not comparing to Nico) and finishing in the middle of nowhere. Having watched races in the refueling era, no tyre change era and the Bridgestone era, Pirelli is the best thing to have happened to Formula one in a very long time for one single reason – quality of action, something Bridgestone failed to deliver. Either you get quality racing or rock hard tyres, never both.
    As for Nico’s action involving Hamilton and Alonso, what he did was within the rule book, but that doesn’t necessarily mean what he did was right.
    On a completely different story, the usual hatred for Vettel seems to have dissipated and it comes as a surprise that McLaren fans are taking sides and fighting among themselves. This championship (both WCC and WDC) is McLaren’s to lose. They have the car, they have the drivers, and they just don’t have the results. At least their inability to extract the best from the car so far has created a very good championship battle. Too early, but McLaren are still the favorites because in the development race McLaren are the frontrunners. Red Bull has fluffed 3 straight chances at the Chinese GP starting 2010, but that didn’t create that much of a furor compared to the Bahrain pit-stop debacle. Hamilton trailing Vettel just shows that race wins matter more than consistency, hopefully the old (pre-2009) Lewis will be back.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 23rd April 2012, 13:42

      Pirelli is the best thing to have happened to Formula one in a very long time for one single reason – quality of action

      I think you’re confusing quality with quantity. The quality of the passing has been pretty average these last 2 years from what I remember because people are worried about damaging their tyres. You can forget your gutsy wobbly back end management by throwing one up the inside, now just wait until your opponents tyres go off, get better traction out of turn N and sail past – thus creating another ‘overtake’ to enter into your excel spreadsheet of F1 entertainment.

      I appreciate that most people seem to love these Pirelli tyres and the random action it has created, but there is a minority out there that need to speak up and make themselves heard – thankfully Schumacher has opened up the debate.

      • Karthikeyan (@ridiculous) said on 23rd April 2012, 16:39

        The minority hero Schumacher has opened up because he has the same points as Ferrari’s poor driver Massa. Other than that nothing.

        • John H (@john-h) said on 23rd April 2012, 17:18

          I’m sure you’re right actually @ridiculous about that, he’s also probably frustrated after Nico won last week of course. The reasons why he spoke out doesn’t make his point any less valid however.

          I understand your point of view, hopefully you understand mine too?

          • Matty No 2 (@mattynotwo) said on 23rd April 2012, 18:20

            Yeah, for sure, Shumi is having a bit of a cry over the Pirelli tyres. To me, it’s not so much the tyres that are the problem, its the refuelling ban. It obviously, makes no sense, to have tyres that last, say 10 laps, yet put 60 laps of fuel in. Just have 10 laps of fuel & tyres that only last 10 laps and blast around like that.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th April 2012, 5:48

      Nobody using the name Karthikeyan should be calling Michael Schumacher slow.

  7. JUGNU (@jugnu) said on 23rd April 2012, 12:42

    FIA should ask Pirelli to improve the durability of their tyres. Now F1 is all about tyres and its getting frustrating. Schumacher is spot on. We no more see drivers pushing 100% and always in tyre-saving mode. This is not real F1, this is not the pinnacle of motorsport. I think Bridgestone like tyres + DRS is a better choice, better balance of racing and show. Currently the balance between racing and show or racing and saving tyres is not right. Also this tyre-saving thing is hurting the hard racers like Hamilton, Schumacher, Kobyashi…etc because they are always in tyre saving mode and their on the limit driving superiority gets evened out.

  8. Akin Aslan said on 23rd April 2012, 14:56

    Well i do not think that we can not have a good season without pirelli’s tyres. C’mon when you look in the past the cars weren’t that concentrated on aerodynamics the tyres weren’t falling off after 10 laps but we did have good racing. A real formula 1 fan doesn’t mind when a driver can not overtake one because the other is defending so well thats racing, racers do not lover tyres falling off, drs and etc. which makes it too easy to overtake.

  9. Had a few texts today from friends in 2 different teams. General consensus is whatever Bernie says they’re not going to Bahrain next year. One of them has had pressure from sponsors re: Brand damagement.

  10. Fishingelbow (@fishingelbow) said on 24th April 2012, 0:14

    Congratulations on a principled stand, Keith!

  11. The Limit said on 24th April 2012, 13:35

    I found Michael Schumacher’s comments interesting but at the same time I think he is trying to make excuses for not achieving the level of success he did in years gone by. Before I get torn apart by all the Schumacher fans out there, lets get on thing straight! Michael Schumacher is still, statistically, the most successfull F1 driver of all time with 91 wins and seven drivers titles. No one can take that away from him.
    However, the fact remains that since his return to F1 at the beginning of 2010 he has yet to achieve a podium finish nevermind a grands prix win. If anything, Nico Rosberg’s maiden victory in China recently only increases the pressure on a man who less than a decade ago was the high water mark in motorsports. When Schumacher was at Ferrari, he was the driver everybody wanted to beat year after year, and the man who won Ferrari’s first championship since 1979. It all seems along time ago now.
    Since Michael left the sport back in 2006, other drivers have come into the sport in the form of Hamilton and Vettel and have gone onto win titles. One can not help but look at Schumacher now, the only driver left in the sport who has raced against the likes of Senna and Prost, and think that he is yesterday’s news. Past his prime, and that maybe, just maybe, he should have stayed retired and allowed some young buck to partner Rosberg at Mercedes. Some will scoff at this!
    Kimi Raikkonen has returned after a two year layoff and almost won the Bahrain Grands Prix on Sunday. If he can do it, surely Michael can? In that, the big difference I can see is that Raikkonen is a decade younger than Schumacher. That is a huge gap in terms of fitness and what one can expect a person’s body to be able to do. Schumacher has always been super fit, but he is forty three years old, and is racing against some drivers who are young enough to be his children.
    I can understand the nostalgia of having Schumacher back in F1. Two years ago I thought it was great to see him back behind the wheel, and he still has that star appeal. However, when you read comments like these, I fear that this ship has finally sailed. How sad it would be if, like in Rubens Barrichello case, Schumacher’s F1 career ended in a wimper instead of something more befitting his talents.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th April 2012, 14:48

      Further to what you have said…I’m not convinced it is an age thing, although your point is well made that KR is 10 years younger in his return to F1. And MS is old enough to have fathered some of the drivers on the track. But I think last year and this year he has shown pace. Enough pace to be competitive. I think it might only be a matter of him having the car hooked up like NR had in China.

      But there lies the rub. The tires, and getting hooked up.

      I too think MS is under pressure, having been outpointed by NR two years in a row, and now so far this season we all know what has transpired. This is unprecedented turf for MS. Virtually never in his F1 career has he not had the upper hand on his team. Even before contracts at Ferrari saw to it, he was strongarming his team to favour him and shutting out his teammates from getting his data, while insisting he have full access to theirs. ie. it has always been very one-sided in MS’s favour…the extreme example, unprecedented before and I predict never to be repeated again, was MS/Ferrari, and the numbers are reflected in it.

      So I think more significant than his age, which at worst might only be costing him a few tenths, is that as you point out it was a different time. MS had the best of the best treatment a driver can ever expect, including designer tires, but especially he had the equation of a competing teammate taken away from him by contract. Never did he have to have one sleepless night worrying about a teammate in the same car beating him…didn’t even matter if on occasion said driver outqualified him, defeat in the race was not an option by team design. That had a huge effect of removing a huge psychological burden from him, from race one of each season, season after season. Even if you agree with that team philosophy and are fine that we were robbed of true racing at MS/Ferrari (the opposite of Senna/Prost at Mac), the fact remains MS had it easy in a lot of ways. The most lavished, the most resourced, the most designer built car and tires a driver ever had, the contracted teammate, and still the bully. Even if you say he earned it and deserved it, they are still the facts.

      Now it is night and day different. MS’s presence alone at Mercedes has proved not to be enough to thwart NR. And without the designer car and tires on a team that is not the most resourced, with a teammate that not only is not under any contract to not compete, is in fact doing extremely well and has put MS in an uncomfortable and unprecedented spot.

      MS can lament the tires, and perhaps he is not wrong that they should be able to push their cars more and not be limited by said tires, but they are the same for everyone, and when he had designer tires everyone else had to adapt to his tires and try to make them work as well as he could in the car for which they were really built.

      I think MS lamenting the tires now, after having said he was happy with them in testing, is a sign of frustration all right…he needs to push now more than ever at a time when that can cost you the race…so it’s difficult…and it feels like a crapshoot…nail the setup/optimum tire performance window, or miss it completely and be handcuffed…and no more passing through pit strategies for the win like days of yore. Not even any more starting from the back and working yourself up in short order like last year. That now requires much more work and is a much more formidable task in a tighter field than last year.

      Sooooo night and day from how he had it. Life in F1 is so much more difficult now than how he had it. I think it is the stark difference, something KR as one example never had so doesn’t now have it in his past to lament over, that is showing itself in MS’s frustrated comments.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th April 2012, 16:05

        Taking it a little further, and going with your comment about MS’s career potentially ending in a wimper, I think that may be what is on MS’s mind too. Imho, if MS has a pretty good year and he and NR end up pretty much equal with both of them sorting out the tire thing and getting some podiums, I can see MS doing a contract extension.

        But if it continues to go as it has been so far, NR outpointing him, while he spends the season not being able to push the car, having to baby the tires instead, making it only more frustrating as the season goes along, I think he will call it a career. He will have to see improvement in the current situation, and a reason for hope for next year, if he is going to consider continuing on. If eventually all he can envision for next year is more of being limited by the tires, as he sees it today, then I think he will not want to fight that fight.

        I believe it will get better for MS this year…he has had some bad luck and unreliability at a time when NR has had the weekend of his career…I think MS’s bad luck will improve, I think the team will start to get a better handle on the tires, but I also observe that for now NR is 6th in the WDC, MS is 15th…and the team is 5th in the WCC…worse than last year at a time when they have shown to have an effective F-duct front wing tied to the DRS that has shown great straightline speed. As I say, they have shown to have a race-winning car, so I think their standings in the WDC and WCC will improve this year from where they are, but I’m not convinced it will improve enough for MS to keep him in F1. Not given his competition on the other side of the garage.

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