Christian Horner, Red Bull, 2011

Bahrain row has damaged F1, say team bosses

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: F1 team principals criticise the handling of the Bahrain affair.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Bahrain affair ‘damaging’, say teams (Autosport)

Christian Horner “It’s an unfortunate situation. Obviously with the way things have been handled, with the uncertainty, maybe it could have been handled better, but we are where we are”.

Stuart Codling on Twitter

“At the ACO press conference I asked Jean Todt if he thought F1’s image had been damaged by the Bahrain fiasco. He refused to answer”.

Richard Rae: Arrogant, ignorant and incompetent: Todt should resign (The Independent)

“It is simply not possible to believe the organisation to be quite so self-absorbed and detached from reality that it did not anticipate the opprobrium that it has caused to rain down on Formula One. The decision can only have been based on more than wilful stupidity, and that is a hugely depressing thought”.

F1 uncertainty ‘a shame…’ (Gulf Daily News)

Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry board member and tourism committee head Nabeel Kanoo: “It is a shameful decision and smacks of hypocrisy. There was no reason to consider cancelling it”.

Stirling Moss on Twitter

“It is official the white patey helmet has been hung up for good. Stirling Moss has retired from competitive racing”.

Canadian GP – Conference 1 (FIA)

Lewis Hamilton: “Since I?ve been in Formula One, it?s been improving, the consistency of the rules, the approach of the stewards with the new racing driver, I think it makes it much better so while I would prefer not to be up at the stewards? office so often ?ǣ and trust me, I?m trying my hardest to stay out of there ?ǣ my whole life I was always in the headmaster?s office so I?m used to it. I would just try to improve and learn from the situations that I get myself into”.

Pirelli gains traction with return to F1 (FT, registration required)

“[Bernie] Ecclestone has been heaping praise on [Marco] Tronchetti Provera for deliberately producing fast-degrading tyres which, according to Pirelli, are even more difficult to build than conventional ones. ‘Only Pirelli would do it and we must thank them,’ the veteran F1 supremo recently said. ‘It was brave and the show has improved,’ he added. Pirelli?s bigger rivals, Michelin and Bridgestone, had refused to develop such tyres because, he explained, they were worried about their image”.

Force India F1 Aero Test (YouTube)

Kamui Kobayashi Q&A: Sauber extracting the maximum (F1)

“We all know that we take some risks when racing. Indeed it was a very unfortunate part of the track where [Sergio Perez] crashed and went into the barrier. To be successful means that you accept risks – may it be in racing, or may it be in strategy. So far this has served us well”.

Eagle Delta Wing for 2012 Le Mans (Motor Sport)

“Ben Bowlby?s revolutionary Delta Wing will race in next year?s Le Mans 24 Hours. The car will be built in California by Dan Gurney?s legendary All American Racers and raced by American Le Mans Series champion Duncan Dayton?s Highcroft team”.

Feisty ?ǣ just like his dad (Williams)

“With active [suspension] banned by 1996, the cars were quite conventional in set-up, but Jacques [Villeneuve] often had a very different approach to Damon [Hill] who would drive a soft, compliant car, as he knew this would look after the tyres. Jacques would often go for a much stiffer set-up. He had some refreshing new ideas on asymmetric set-ups, with suspension and wings, tricks he had learned from Indy. The ??new kid on the block? loved racing”.

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Comment of the day

Debaser91 is one of many who don’t want to see the Bahrain Grand Prix keep its place on the calendar:

As much as I would love a Grand Prix on my birthday this is getting beyond a joke now. No one wants Bahrain apart from Todt and the Bahrain GP organisers so why should the Indian Grand Prix be moved.

From the forum

Everyone help cheer up newnhamlea1!

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On this day in F1

Michael Schumacher led most of the Canadian Grand Prix ten years ago today but had to give best to his brother Ralf.

The Williams driver was passed by the elder Schumacher’s Ferrari at the start, but was able to delay a refuelling stop and come out ahead of the Ferrari.

Mika Hakkinen finished third for McLaren.

The race may have been somewhat forgettable but the morning warm-up saw drama as Jacques Villeneuve crashed heavily following contact with Juan Pablo Montoya:

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 63 comments on “Bahrain row has damaged F1, say team bosses”

    1. Lewis’ answer to the last question is the answer of a champion. Hopefully we’ll get more well thought through answers and interviews like that in the future!!

      And Sirling Moss is a legend!! Retiring at 81.
      I salute you Sir

      1. Hamilotn’s answer is all scripted of course. Or at least I hope it is.

        If not then they have finally beaten the “overtaking spirit” out of Hamilton.

        1. There was a lot of buzz on Twitter from journalists during the press conference about ‘how well Hamilton was doing’ but the transcript just reads like the usual PR stuff.

          1. The transcript as a whole looks like a PR one. But I think there’s something different about the last answer. Maybe it’s just me :(

          2. Sergio Perez
            10th June 2011, 10:14

            Agreed. Quite disappointing, in my view. Nowadays there’s such a need to create the perfect image for the media, that we genuinely end up losing that passionate, human aspect of the sportsman’s character. In today’s PR friendly world there could never be a film like “Senna”, for example.

            There’s too much money on the line, sponsors, video game deals, so the product- the driver- has to be as “vanilla” as possible.

            In my view, the more you try to please everyone the less connection, on a deeper level, you can have with fans. Everyone likes ” vanilla” but who loves it? People Loved and hated Senna, Schumacher, more currently, Alonso. In todays ever more PR friendly and compliant F1 world, is there any space to have that type of passionate connection to a F1 driver for its personality? F1 is a sport and it only exists because of the people involved. It is a Human sport. If it was only the cars driving themselves, no one would be watching!

            1. On the other hand, I do think people’s perception of Hamilton does damage his career. He does get penalties (or investigations) where other drivers don’t.

              It even goes so far that they blame him for Webber running into him in Singapore while at the same time they blame him for the collisions with Massa and Maldonado.

              Granted these people are probably mostly “haters”, but still, there is this claim of recklesness that makes him stick out as the culprit in any incident.

          3. The guy can do no right huh?

            He speaks his mind, everyone calls him an arrogant, spoilt brat.

            He apologises, everyone says he’s got no balls.

            He tows the coporate line and says what he’s been told to say, he’s just a robot.

      2. And Sirling Moss is a legend!! Retiring at 81.

        I admit I didn’t knwo he was still racing, and I admire him a lot for doing so until 81 years of age.

        1. He was going to compete in the LeMans classics race before the actual 24hr race, I think.
          Agree on him being an absolute legend.

    2. Unfortunately most people in the world are so ignorant to what is going on in the world, that the significance and stupifity of F1 trying to race in the stricken nation of Bahrain would pass right under their radar.

      1. Indeed. Just like no one realizes the human rights problems in Malaysia, China, Turkey, Singapore, Abu dhabi and Brazil.

        At least Bahrain’s protesters were put on the map by virtue of this farce. The people who die from government brutalities in all these other countries, no one cares about them.

        1. Apolitical F1 has become very political – with such selective approach to countries with human rights problems.

          Besides – which country doesn’t have problems?

          1. what human right problem in Malaysia and Singapore? I live in both countries a few years ago and it fine. Much better than other “modern” and “civilized” western country.

        2. That’s going a bit far patrickl, some of us are deeply involved in human rights issues all around this planet of ours.

          But I do admit there is a clear conflict of interest between very powerful oil and banking interests which provide a very high proportion of F1’s huge annual budget, and the appalling lengths some governments will go to hide their brutal treatment of vocal minorities.

          But this is not the place for a lengthy rant. It’s just important to be aware that some of us spend a great deal of our lives fighting evil with very little money and influence. F1 still has many people working within it’s ranks who show their support and respect for proper human rights. But they tend not shout about it for obvious reasons.

    3. Who would have though it, the big tyre companies were to proud to introduce “weak” tyres in F1 because it would be negative publicity, yet when Pirelli introduce and race less durable tyres they get the ultimate praise: they have been the main factor in making the racing better, no mean feat when the previous year was suggested by many as the best F1 season ever!!

    4. Prisoner Monkeys
      10th June 2011, 1:40

      “Ben Bowlby’s revolutionary Delta Wing will race in next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. The car will be built in California by Dan Gurney’s legendary All American Racers and raced by American Le Mans Series champion Duncan Dayton’s Highcroft team”.

      With such a narrow front end and wide rear, I don’t understand how the Delta Wing will be able to steer.

      Still, it should be fun to watch. This could be the most comically-inept attempt at motorsports since Andrea Moda …

      1. The worst looking car EVER!

        Only in America ah. :)

        1. The worst looking car EVER!


      2. It does kind of look like it might suffer from the same problems as a Reliant Robin doesn’t it?

        1. And hilarity ensues.

        2. Well, normally I only schedule in Monaco a few years ahead on my imaginary calender…. But to see a racing spec reliant robin?

          I’m in! :D

          1. Maybe they’ll recruit Jeremy Clarkson to be one of their drivers…

        3. Sir…how dare you cast aspersions on that wonderful plastic product, Tamworths finest contribution to human mobility ….huuummmfff !

      3. Steering it like a convention car would be a recipe for disaster, but using a trick differential to steer the car could work.

        It would be like pushing one of those three wheel all-terrain prams that you see new mums pushing their baby around while jogging. They don’t have the problem of the pram understeering wildly off the path like a shopping trolley or even a four wheel pram might.

        It’s because the steering is done by pushing and pulling the back corners so they turn. A diff which can brake and send power to a specific wheel is certainly doable, as four wheel steering has been around on cars for ages, the technology used in Electronic Stability Program will be applicable to this car, although this system will need to be beefed up quite a lot to function as the main steering system.

        One big problem with this approach is tyre wear. Applying power, decelerating the car and applying the brakes mid corner is a high workload that conventional RWD race cars share between all four wheels. The corner braking will be especially hard because inside tyre will scrub a lot on particularly tight corners. The right rear will be the one to go first as the circuit is clockwise with a fair few tight right handers.

        The upside is that the front will have a light workload and won’t need changing as much, meaning most pitstops will only change the rear pair.

        1. I really hope you get COTD for that, great stuff!

        2. Very interesting DavidS!

      4. It would be good as a dragster, however Le Mans is’t really a drag strip. Didn’t Deltawing design a 2012 Indycar that looked somewhat like this thing, with a very narrow front and wide rear? This car will be a) a revolution or b) a disaster. Since it is nothing like I have seen before, I’m going for option b.

        1. It’s the same people, trying to take the concept somewhere else after losing the Indycar contract, in an attempt to show the worth of the idea. The steering seems to me to be a bit of an issue (unlike on ovals), for the rest it might be a rather good fit.

        2. Or both a and b at once! I put it somewher in the range of Wubbo Ockels high speed hybrid bus!

          Would be amazing if they did get it on track and do impressively though.

          Not what I would have chosen for Indy as a single make, but having that car race in sports cars just highlights the diversity of it.

      5. Bigbadderboom
        10th June 2011, 13:41

        A car designed for a racing formula that doesn’t exist! It’s stability works through ground effect, and if you watch the full you tube video it’s all pretty interesting, but one hell of a commercial gamble. They obviously have faith in the design when you look at the time, money and the people involved.

    5. Now the team principles decide to speak out. Not ONE of them stood up and said going to Bahrain was the wrong thing to do when it might have mattered. They moaned about the timing but never the actual place.

      You all did nothing apart from try not to offend and now WE have spoken you lose the right to take the moral high ground. Mark Webber was the only one out of all the drivers and principles to actually speak up and that makes me very sad but it gets him one more fan.

      Aussie gtit indeed

      1. Not ONE of them stood up and said going to Bahrain was the wrong thing to do when it might have mattered.

        Did you even read the article? Or just the Greatest Hits? Because this is the real meat of it:

        “Formula 1 is a sport. It’s not there to be used as a political tool. Our position as a racing team is that we’re here to race in F1.”

        And also this:

        “F1 is a non-political sport. We cannot do whatever we want, because there are issues like this. We need to be a little bit more cautious.”

        The teams didn’t “stand up and say going to Bahrain was the wrong thing to do” because they don’t want the sport to become political. Part of that is not letting Bahrain use the Grand Prix as a propaganda tool – and the other part of that is not making political statements of their own.

        You point to Mark Webber as being the only driver with the balls to speak up. Well, consider this: what do you think would happen if all the team principals decided to make a political statement about Bahrain, but all of the drivers (except Webber) felt that the sport should not get involved in poltiics? All it would do is threatened to fragment the sport as the drivers would be forced to endorse a political standpoint that they may not necessarily agree with. And in some cases – like Sebastien Buemi, who lives in Bahrain – it would go compeltely against their political sensibilities. So why should they be forced into that situation? And what about other consequences, like a situation arising where it’s okay for Formula 1 to say “We’re not going to this country because of its human rights abuses, but we’re going to this country in spite of them”? I am still yet to hear an argument that reasonably explains this to me – and this has been going on for months.

        This is why sport and politics should remain separate. If nothing else, the past week has proven that Formula 1 has enough problems with its own internal politics as it is, and shouldn’t be going about making statements against governments.

        1. Well those are interesting questions. But I think you answer yourself. You seem to say, sport should not be political, ever, because it’s sport; but also that we can applaud the teams for not letting the race become a poltical tool. You are actually pointing out why sport cannot always be separate from politics—and in this instance a reason for why it should be.

      2. To be honest, they did make their objections clear to most who are involved in deciding things.

        And Williams has been voicing their concerns a few months back already. Renault as well.

        But in the official communication the FIA would not allow for political considerations, so it would be just like pooring oil on the fire to speak up in public. And it would bring all sorts of conflicst of interest forward.

      3. Hewis Lamilton
        10th June 2011, 16:45

        Bahrain serves as a reminder to us all that politics and sport, when attempted on the world stage, cannot be separated completely.

    6. That’s a nice reminder from Williams of how much positive potential Jacques Villeneuve had before sombering into obscurity with BAR. I always admired him for arguing that electronic aids should be eliminated. It seems like these days most people feel that he was an undeserving champion, etc, but I can’t help but think that it’s just his later years that have remained in people’s minds – bearing in mind that he certainly didn’t help his case by becoming perpetually sulky. Had he not followed Pollock into the BAR project… a reminder that gutsy decisions don’t always pan out.

      1. *sombering into obscurity*

        oops, inter-language confusion o_O; I’m drawing blanks… fading/slumping into obscurity?

        1. It “sounded” really fitting though, sombering into obscurity!

      2. Well said. I’ve never really had a problem with Jacques. He seems like a decent person too.

    7. Time for another vote on how Todt’s doing so far? :D

    8. What I wonder is if Ecclestone set the FIA up or is he just so incredibly susceptible to popular opinion?

      He was doing his best to get the Bahrain GP back on the calendar. FIA sends someone to check if it’s possible. They decide it is. Fans start crying out, teams complain and suddenly Ecclestone comes out and says putting the race back on the calendar is a joke.

      So is he a flip-flopper or was there malicious intent?

      I can’t decide.

      He obviously can’t hold an opinion of his own. Look how often he changes opinion based on the public opinion. Last (or previous) example was the new engine. He approves it and when fans complain, suddenly he is all against.

      On the other hand, it’s obvious he has it in for Todt. He’s been trying to discredit the guy for the last year or so. Mostly because Todt (unlike Mosley) doesn’t slavishly follow in Ecclestone’s flip-flopping.

      1. For what it’s worth, I don’t think, the F1 big wigs expected it to be an issue in the first place. Or not such a big one.

      2. I doubt it’s malicious, more just Bernie jumping ship to go with the majority. He has to keep sponsors happy so the moment they think it’s a bad idea, he thinks it’s a bad idea.

      3. Bernie is a flip-flopper on his own schedule. He is against Todt at the moment, but that’s only because Concorde is up for negotiation. The moment a firm decision is made on that, Bernie and Jean will go back to being “friends who sometimes disagree because of the contradictions of their respective roles”.

    9. Could have told them all on day one as soon as the reports came in. F1 sport is a sacrifice people make, but the new countries from the Asian continent have their priorities upside down except in Malaysia. They should think many times before they venture into doctatorial regimes in the future.

    10. Thanks for sharing the YouTube clip, Keith. I’d actually never seen that footage!

      1. Same here Damon, thanks Keith.

    11. Webber to sign on for another year? Haven’t read this anywhere else yet…..

      1. It was also on Autosport yesterday evening.

      2. Webber to sign on for another year? Haven’t read this anywhere else yet…..

        Well if you look about 4 posts up the page you will.

    12. I do think Todt is out of his depths in that job. He can hardly speak English in a job where nuances and in-depth knowledge of legal matters seem crucial…

      1. The FIA has three official languages – English, French and Italian. The organisation is based in Paris, and in its original incarnation, all documents were produced in French first. French is arguably the first language of the organisation.

        1. Absolutely, I agree. I actually used to walk past the FIA Place de la Concorde on my way to work, but I just feel that the sport is so English/British in its operation, I just don’t know how he can communicate efficiently and without ambiguities with the English speaking protagonists, which are a majority and do not necessarily speak French themselves.

          1. It’s not his grasp of foreign languages that’s the problem. A bigger concern would be his decision making

        2. French is the first language of the FIA, no doubt about it. English has become the standard for most FIA documents apart from the International Sporting Code because that’s a lingua franca (not much point having a governance in one language and most competitors in another),

    13. HounslowBusGarage
      10th June 2011, 12:50

      The Bahrain business has left F1 looking even more stupid than it did before. Any event that causes headlines such as “F1 shoots itself in both feet” is pathetic mismanagement – and that headline was written before the “let’s say for the moment it’s official” utterance.
      F1 and the FIA has been seriously damaged again. BUT at leas it’s not as bad as FIFA.

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        10th June 2011, 12:51

        ‘leas’ should be least.

      2. It’s exactly the same as FIFA.

        Taking the event to countries who offer money despite serious human rights issues and despite there being better tracks/facilities in other parts of the world.

        Even in sport, money is all.

        1. Sad but true.

    14. Hamilton contradicts himself in that statement. Stating that he’s learning and trying to stay out of the stewards box, yet he’s been in the same sort of trouble since his school days… Not learning much I say. Speaking of school, when is the knowledgable Prisoner Monkeys going to start running the FIA ?? Or are you to busy running F1 wikipedia? :P

    15. Watch this, today the sport has gone soft, too much moaning about a bit of contact or half chances with people going for it;

    16. The climate of Bahrain is HOT – you know this, all of you. Do the Friggin’ MATH – jeeeeez

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