Bahrain race boss criticises F1 teams

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Bahrain’s Grand Prix organisers criticises F1 teams over the race cancellation.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Our Grand Prix is far bigger than all Britain has to offer, says Bahrain chief (London Evening Standard)

Bahrain Grand Prix chairman Zayed Alzayan: “[The F1 teams] have been very temperamental. I feel disappointed because it cannot go within three months from one end of the spectrum, ‘Oh, you are my favourite destination. We love it here. We feel like we are at home in Bahrain.’ To the other, ‘We don’t want to go to Bahrain.’ Yes, events have happened in between but you can’t be so temperamental.”

Is Formula One for Sale? No, but Maybe (New York Times)

Bernie Ecclestone on where he’d buy back Formula 1 from CVC: “Yes, absolutely. I wouldn?t buy at the price that I think CVC would sell it. But I would certainly buy at the price that they [News Corp. and Exor] want to pay. And the Ferrari people, the multiples that they thought they would like to pay for the company ? I told them that I would buy Ferrari at those multiples.”

Ferrari and Fernando Alonso set to keep new-found pace (BBC)

“The exhaust has been re-positioned, the upper bodywork at the rear extensively re-profiled, there is a new rear wing and floor. In effect, it is a B-spec evolution of the original car. At Silverstone, suddenly the Ferrari could get the hard Pirelli working for the first time and it no longer struggled to get the intermediate tyres quickly up to temperature.”

Trulli pins hopes on steering update (Autosport)

“I said straight away that I cannot really set up the car or judge the car. So if someone asked me what’s going on in the car I always say I don’t know – I’m just trying to drive what I have but I cannot give any feedback to the team. It’s a bit frustrating but that’s the way it is at the moment.”

Webber Awarded Hawthorn Trophy For 2010 Success (Red Bull)

“The honour is presented to the most successful British or Commonwealth F1 driver, and Mark received it in recognition of his stunning performance in the 2010 season.”

Red Bull right to impose team orders on Webber

David Coulthard: “The other issue here is Mark [Webber’s] reaction. He said he ignored the orders and raced to the end but I think he backed off.”

Montezemolo: “Well done, but we keep our feet on the ground” (Ferrari)

“Winning in England, at the home race for the great majority of our opponents is something special, all the more so as it happened on the day of such a significant anniversary. I think that even Pat Fry, for for whom this is the first win since he took on the role of chassis director, managed to feel the difference there is between winning with another team and doing it with Ferrari.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Process of elimination leads Hallard to a Driver of the Weekend choice:

I want to say Webber, for out-qualifying Vettel; and for ignoring Red Bull’s unnecessary team orders and having a go at his team mate towards the end. But he fumbled the start and made it easy for Vettel to start disappearing into the horizon, and Vettel ultimately did get the best of him.

I want to say Vettel, for driving an impressive race that he surely would have won if it had not been for the slow pit stop. But he did very little to prove his wheel-to-wheel skills in failing to pass the much slower Hamilton on-track. Also, having confirmation that he gets preferential treatment from the team takes some of the shine away from his performance.

I want to say Hamilton, for really out-driving his car in the race, making some great overtakes, defending firmly but fairly from Massa (even Massa agreed), and bringing a decent haul of points in spite of a poor showing from the McLaren team (Really? You thought Hamilton would get stuck in traffic in mixed conditions, so you short-fuelled him? Really?). But he really shouldn?t have qualified tenth to begin with, even if it was more of a team error than driver error; and he had too many off-track excursions this time out.

I guess that leaves me with Alonso. Yes, Red Bull gave him this win on a platter with their pit stop error. And yes, Hamilton really did him a big favour by neutralising the threat from Vettel (although I?m not convinced Vettel could have been a threat at that point even if he had caught Alonso). But Alonso really did the maximum this weekend, both in qualiying and the race, to put himself in a position to benefit from Red Vull?s error, and he didn?t really make any mistakes. Credit where credit?s due.

From the forum

Tell me what you want to know about Codemasters’ F1 2011 in time for the build-up to the game’s release.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Pawelf1, Robert, Voaridase and HoolyF1!

On this day in F1

Nigel Mansell won the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch – but only after a considerable slice of fortune at the expense of another driver.

Mansell’s race looked to be ruined as his driveshaft failed when he pulled away at the start. But behind him a huge crash triggered a red flag and gave him an opportunity to start again in team mate Nelson Piquet’s spare car.

Jacques Laffite was injured in the crash, breaking both his legs. Sadly, he never raced again in Formula 1.

Mansell went on to win the restarted race, passing Piquet on the way. It was the last F1 race at Brands Hatch before the race moved permanently to Silverstone.

Here’s a video of the start of the race:

Image ?? Tilke Gmbh

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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137 comments on “Bahrain race boss criticises F1 teams”

  1. Are…are the Bahrainis actually serious? Because WOW.

    1. Sour grapes. That’s all.

      1. Its sour grapes indeed, and he seems to have eaten all of them.

    2. Exactly. Perhaps if the bahrain government was not so temperamental towards its own people they would not be in this position in the first place….

      1. Bigbadderboom
        13th July 2011, 17:26

        They still don’t get it! The arrogance and dismissive nature that comes across in that interview is simply shocking. To compare their (Bahranian) situation to others in the world in that manner is not only like saying 2 wrongs make a right, but it’s the mud slinging element to it as well, trying to draw attention to other issues to mask your own is a schoolboy politicians tactic. Just pull Bahrain forever, no loss to me now. They can’t even accept the position F1 was put in and humbly accept the outcome and help the sport move on, nope, they just bleat and moan that human rights issues exist elsewhere, well done for pointing out the obvious and missing the entire point.

        1. ‘One small thing happens and three months later, everybody changes their tune about wanting a race here in Bahrain!’ he seems to say.

          How surprising that a country enters a state of emergency, murdering and abusing its own citizens, and that causes people to want to disassociate themselves with that country. How hypocritical of those people!

          That anybody in F1 considered relocating the race- after all, you can hardly blame the original cancellation on the ‘temperamental teams’- is ridiculous, but he should be thankful the idea was even considered.

          And to say about the teams, ‘you can’t be temperamental’- bit hypocritical coming from a country recently having undergone such turmoil. I’d call the state of Bahrain a few months ago as ‘temperamental’ to say the least.

    3. After this article I just wish F1 never comes back there. Seriously.

  2. The chairman sounds like a 5 year old kid

    The article has more quotes that suggests his stupidity.

    1. They have been very temperamental,” he says. “I feel disappointed because it cannot go within three months from one end of the spectrum, ‘Oh, you are my favourite destination. We love it here. We feel like we are at home in Bahrain.’ To the other, ‘We don’t want to go to Bahrain.’ Yes, events have happened in between but you can’t be so temperamental.

      According to the teams they didn’t want to go because it was a logistical and scheduling nightmare, so the accusation makes no sense – unless as a tacit admission that maybe the teams were turned off because of what was going on in Bahrain. Oops.

      There are just so many things wrong with what he says, I don’t want to go into detail for fear of slagging off Bahrain as a country, rather than its governance.

      1. Actually, from what he says, it beautifully shows what is wrong with the current ruling elite in Bahrain.

        They do not like to hear critisizm and slag it off (or oppress it, as happened this year on the streets).

        Its all nice to say they are having discussions, but when real opposition parties have some 30-35 voices in a 300 people talk, it shows how much they can influence the results.

    2. Hamilton would say “He should keep his opinions for himself” :)

      Actually I think the “world” would be a better place without Bahrain in the F1 calendar. Portimão/Algarve in Portugal would be better for racing…

      1. I think Bahrain has earned its place fair and square in terms of making an event, but it’s the leadership that made a collection of wrong and ultimately fatal mistakes and now they are pretending that nothing wrong happened, Kinda reminds me of Alonso with every single Gate he’s been involved in…

    3. The sad thing is that he doesn’t deny the fact that there were human rights violations! He justifies them on the grounds that other countries are doing them as well and still get their grand prix… So, in his eyes, it is probably OK to kill some civilians and then throw a party like nothing’s happened!
      I doubt that Australia would get to keep their GP if they murdered a dozen aborigines on the eve of the race. Likewise, the US grand prix would be in serious trouble if there were question-marks raised over the well being of the local Indian population. And like the chairman says, none of these events is as important for their host countries as the Bahrain GP is…
      But that is only the tip of the iceberg. I find his comments disrespectful towards the dead and injured Bahrain citizens. The whole regime has blood on its hands and acts like nothing has happened.
      Not to mention that F1 has done them a favour by canceling the GP, as the race could reignite the riots, involve European citizens in them and leave the Bahrain government with many more problems on their (not that competent) hands…

  3. If trulli is gonna keep moaning about how he can’t effectively drive the car, why don’t they just stick chandhok in until then? What have they got to lose?

    1. Nothing. I hope he’s in for the Indian GP at least!

      1. He’s getting his new steering system in Hungary. They have designed a completely new system for him which shows you that they hold Jarno in high regard. Let’s wait ’till after that with the conclusions. And as much as I like Chandok as he seems to be anice person ultimately Trulli is much faster.

        1. so has kovalainen had the same problems? or is he just not making as much noise about it?

          And if he doesn’t have the same problem, why would it take this long to fix it?

          1. I think I saw him confirming it is not perfect but he is OK with it.

        2. Jarno was in a similar position during the 2004 season. when Flavio wanted him out, Jarno’s car was terribly slow. Even he was miffed though he won that years Monaco GP. He expressed that openly during the Monza race. Coincidence, may be !!

    2. I have to agree. He’s becoming too much of a broken record. Yes. We get it. The power steering isn’t to your liking. You don’t have to say it to the press nearly a dozen times over the course of half a season.

      1. The last time i checked, the best way to improve the streering is to cahnge the driver.

    3. He said the power steering will be fixed for the German/Hungarian GP, so from then on we shall see him to his actual form.

    4. Kov has exactly the same system. I’m tired of Trulli in F1 ever since his ridiculous tirade against Sutil which made him look like a little boy. Time to go back to the vineyard Jarno.

      1. Yeah, Kovi does have the same system… But he is able to handle it better.

        Both drivers have said the system isn’t perfect, it’s just Jarno is having more trouble with it than Kovi.

  4. The largest F1 crowd this season (?), The 2012 Olympic Games, The Open Golf, Wimbledon Open Tennis, The World Snooker Championship, and a Moto GP round; off the top of my head world class major sporting events that the UK has.

    Compare with Bahrain;
    Bahrain GP

    1. Britain also had the 2011 Champions League Final.

      1. Plus you get the major American sports having showcase games over here now too. Thats big news.

        1. Yes, NFL and the first ever NBA regular season game in Europe, even though Britain is no basketball powerhouse in Europe…

        2. dyslexicbunny
          13th July 2011, 15:46

          I actually think it’s just gimmicky, especially for the NFL. They’ve been dying to tap into the European market for years even after NFL Europe folded.

          Ultimately, NFL Europe only really caught on in Germany and I think that’s mainly due to American bases in Germany. I just don’t think Europe has room for two footballs.

    2. Well, it perfectly figueres how the Bahrain GP (60.000 visitors from abroad?) is really big on a population of about 600.000 but Silverstone (same amount of visitors from abroad?) is just a big even on a 62 Million population in the UK.

      I do honestly not understand how the guy can think slagging off others is going to help them.

      1. graham228221
        13th July 2011, 8:27

        In his defence (not that I want to, as he makes worse comments later in the article about human rights), the comment that he made that “Bahrain is bigger” seems to be almost totally taken out of context in the headline.

        Seems pretty clear that he means that the Bahrain Grand Prix is much bigger for Bahrain, than the British Grand Prix is for Britain. Which is probably fair enough.

        1. “It is bigger [the grand prix] than your Silverstone, the FA Cup, the Derby, the Grand National all rolled into one.”

          Doesn’t seem so far out of context to me.

          1. Ah, my bad. Having read it again you probably have a good point there. On closer inspection it does seem to be stated in a relative context.

            That really is cheeky, even F1Fanatic fell for that one. Daily Mail owned free paper, should have expected it.

        2. Quite right, give the guy a break, to them it is huge to show their prosperity and be a part of “Western civilisation” and no doubt Bernie and the F1 sales team smarmed all over them, ” magnificent Palace your Highness, soooo much better than Buck House, oh! more caviar, thank you.” and remember in all these revolutions/civil wars there are 2 groups of people who can’t understand why the other side cannot be reasonable.

  5. look at Sochi’s proposed f1 track design-

    at first it looks quite nice from plan view. no horrible hairpins or endless straights. but after following the racing line and imagining a flying lap it’s actually rather dull. rather like tilke you might say…

    1. Entirely engineered around fancy buildings on what will be public streets the rest of the year.

      Getting bored of these tracks now. Endlessly piling the calendar high with brand new, soul-less tracks. Hopefully they’ll all collapse in on themselves one day.

      1. Actually quite a few of those corners were designed to mimic the principle that made Eau Rouge and Bridge such legendary corners. Before the advent of aerodynamics, drivers could not take those corners flat out. They had to balance the thorttle because if they went too fast, they’d wipe out, but if they went too slow, they’d suffer through the next sequence. The emphasis on aerodynamics means that the drivers could take these corner flat out.

        The difference in Sochi is that some of these corners were designed to pose the same challenge as the original Eau Rouge. Take note of the thirt and fourth corners in particular, that long parabolic left around the central medals podium followed by a right-hand flick. That corner in particular is going to be incredibly difficult. Look opposite the parabolic bend – turns nine and ten are directly opposite them. There’s going to be minimal run-off for both corners, so the corner becomes even mroe difficult.

        1. But ‘challenging’ doesn’t produce overtaking.

          My favourite part of any GP circuit is probably Maggotts/Becketts… or actually, maybe the Lesmo part of Monza. Challenging corners where the right speed is crucial for the next straight. Overtaking: none.

          1. dyslexicbunny
            13th July 2011, 15:59

            But ‘challenging’ can set it up. Say you don’t get the right speed, you might run wide and either get passed or have the competition gain good ground. Or you’re slow going into the following straight and the competition is barreling down after you.

            Between simulators and improved reliability, I’m surprised people expect overtaking to happen. Guys spend hours in the simulators running lap after lap to learn circuits before even arriving. And when you throw in improved health management of engines and other sensors, teams almost have so much information available regarding where they need to be.

            Don’t get me wrong, I think the contributions to simulation and health monitoring is great. But it might be interesting to ban simulators and maybe add an extra practice. Or open up in-season testing again so drivers know their cars better.

            Having to learn a circuit on limited practice time should make for more exciting races as drivers would be more prone to making mistakes. You might even find more overtaking occurring as well.

    2. Shape reminds me of Monte Carlo.

      1. Except that it’ll be wide flat and not really a street track.

        1. There’s a few things that stand out about the site that you don’t really get from the top-down two-dimensional planograph.

          First of all, the entire site of the Olympic Park is being built from scratch. The land it is to be built on is currently all minor elevations, but the Russians are actually levelling the site off and raising it above the surrounding land. This will result in a circuit that is flat, but elevations are not the be-all and end-all of good circuit design – Silverstone is very flat since it was once an RAF airfield. In Sochi, the results are two fold: firstly, a lot of the corners will be blind, particularly with the large Olympic facilities (like the ice rinks) occupying the site. They’ll block lines of sight around parts of the circuit.

          Secondly, with the way the Russians are building the Olympic Park – raised above the surrounding land – there will be no run-off. The back part of the circuit, particularly that long section across the top of the image actually skirts the edge of the Olympic Park. On the other side of it will be a drop, so there’s no room for run-off. And because the circuit weaves its way around the Olympic venues – two ice hockey rinks, the speed skating, figure skating, and curling venues, the Olypmic stadium (which will be regonfigured for the 2018 World Cup) and the central medals plaza – there is minimal room for run-off. Just look at that parabolic corner around said medals plaza: directly opposite it are two more corners. Each corner will need its own run-off, as well as a buffer space to prevent the barriers from becoming compromised in the event of an accident – which means there will only be a small amount of run-off.

          1. Looks like you are really exited about this. I hope it will be a thrill between tight barriers.
            But won’t the lack of runoff rather mean they will put in useless chicanes. And the straights ar mostly bends, just like they are in Valencia, making it hard to get past even with DRS.

          2. Nope, no chicanes are planned.

          3. @PM, by flat I didn’t mean the land was flat, I meant there won’t be any bumps.

            It will be yet another “perfect” modern circuit. Spa wouldn’t be half the track it is if it was made nowadays.

            In my opinion, everything you said about the whole landscape being purpose built only goes to increase my distaste.

          4. Exactly. The road should be built around the landscape, not the other way round. For a motorway, fine, chop through whatever hills you want, level off anything you want. For a race track, go with the flow, baby.

          5. In my opinion, everything you said about the whole landscape being purpose built only goes to increase my distaste.

            What’s wrong with a narrow, high-speed circuit with limited run-off and plenty of blind corners just because it’s flat? Like I said, elevation is not the be-all and end-all of circuit design – Silverstone is almost completely flat because it was an airfield. And yet, it’s one of the greatest circuits in the world.

            Besides, we don’t even know how the circuit is going to be built. We do know that it’s around the Olympic Park, but there’s no work on how the physical roads will be built. The plans and concept art for the site show no tarmac – spectators at the 2014 Games will walk everywhere. By extension of this, Sochi could have a very unique surface. Even moreso than Montreal. Several of the venues will be purpose-built for the Games, and because of the ice surfaces required, will need constant refrigeration to maintain the appropriate temperature. Such a system would likely be underground and centralised. This means that there will be a network of refrigeration systems running under the site of the Park, and by extension of that, under the circuit. This means the surface will be cooler than normal and will not heat up over the course of a normal day. Similarly, the city of Sochi sits squarely between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains. It’s cool and dry year-round, so the ambient temperature will not be very high to begin with.

            So, we’ve got a fast circuit with narrow roads and limited run-off, a multitude of blind corners, with a very unique (and possibly non-tarmac) surface and low temperatures that may even by lower than the ambient air temperature (which rarely happens). But because there is no elevation on the circuit, you’re already prepared to write it off.

          6. What’s wrong with a narrow, high-speed circuit with limited run-off and plenty of blind corners just because it’s flat?

            Simple, look at how often race changin mistakes are made on Spa and Suzuka compared the Tilkedromes… That difficulty is what makes some races more exciting.

            By extension of this, Sochi could have a very unique surface.

            Haha… Ahh you’re funny. I’m quite willing to bet $20 that it’s dead flat.

            “Non-tarmac” wha?

            What we have PM. Is another Tilkedrome, and seeing as how it’s a street track. Probably another Valencia.

          7. I was going to give PM the benefit of the doubt until I read ” What’s wrong with a narrow, high-speed circuit with limited run-off”
            That’s when my eyes glazed over and I went back to my original impression- another Valencia.

          8. Simple, look at how often race changin mistakes are made on Spa and Suzuka compared the Tilkedromes… That difficulty is what makes some races more exciting.

            You’re just assuming that because it’s a Tilkedrome, it cannot be difficult. But if you look back through some of the circuits Tilke has deisgned, there are plenty of places where he has made difficult corners. Like turn 9 in Bahrain, which requires drivers to brake and steer at the same time to get the ideal line for turn 10; getting it wrong is the difference between a good lap and a bad one. Or turns 12, 13 and 14 at Sepang, where a driver can only hit two of the three apexes on the way through (unless his speed is pedestrian). There’s also the high-speed final sector of Valencia, which is popular with drivers and fans. And, of course, Istanbul’s Turn 8. Even Abu Dhabi has it: turns 15, 16 and 17 form a triple-apex corner where the radius of each corner gets tighter as it goes with a slight camber on the outside of turn 16.

            “Non-tarmac” wha?

            There is no tarmac being laid at Sochi. It’s basically one big concourse of cement and other materials. As we’ve seen with other circuits around the world – like the old Cleveland airport circuit that Indycar used to race on – it’s possible to race on surfaces other than tarmac. It’s entirely possible that tarmac will be laid for the race, but the current design for the Olympic Park has no conventional roads. It’s all foot traffic, so there is no need to lay tarmac.

            That’s when my eyes glazed over and I went back to my original impression- another Valencia.

            I’ve already demonstrated my point. Look at turns three and four: a long parabolic left-hander followed by a right-hand kink. This will be a fast section of the circuit. Now, look directly adjacent to it at turns nine and ten – you have a medium-length straight feeding into a left-hander, then a shorter straight and an easier left. Both turns three and nine will require run-off; the FIA demands it. However, both will need run-off, a wall and a space between the two walls because the last thing anyone wants is for a car to crash at high speed and hit the barrier in a way that deforms it, compromising another run-off area in the process. Such a scenario would likely require the race to be red-flagged.

            Like I said in response to Mike: you’re pre-judging the circuit. You see the name Tilke attached to it, and you automatically assume it will be bad. However, Sochi was the first circuit he designed after Austin, and when he designed Austin, Bernie Ecclestone promised him more leeway with the circuit design regulations. Tilke’s approach these days appears to be designing a circuit and then adjusting it to fit the regulations rather than designing the circuit with the regulations in mind.

          9. We are pre judging it because we have already seen what Tilke has to offer.

            Pm, you are completely misunderstanding what I mean by “difficult”. For sure, Tilke’s tracks can be “difficult” but not in the right way. how often do we see Lewis spear off into the gravel traps because the car stepped out? Nada! None! Never!

            I want tracks where the driver is fighting along the thin line between driving as fast as possible and keeping it on the black stuff and out of the walls. Like we see at Spa, Monaco, Suzuka and even Melbourne. Tilke has not, and will not provide that.

            Also, yes the turns are different, but that won’t separate it from any other Tilke track, he has been basically modernizing and rehashing the same style since he started.

            It will be wide, flat, soulless, have 56 turns and be very, very beige.

            And Vettel will win because of it.

    3. Difficult to say really, at least it looks different to anything else I can think of.

    4. NetBurst (@)
      13th July 2011, 5:50

      It looks like Turkey.

    5. Another street circuit? NO, NO, NO!

      1. another Tilke ‘street circuit’! EVEN WORSE!

      2. You’re judging it before you’ve even seen it. Look up a little bit and see my post as to why Sochi has potential.

        1. Look at all the other Tilkedromes. And then at his street tracks to see why you should probably be cringing at this point.

          I could be dead wrong about this, and
          I hope I am. But I think this is far from something to be looking forward to.

          1. Look at all the other Tilkedromes.

            I am. And I’m seeing Istanbul, Sepang and the Circuit of the Americas. Sure, he has the occasional misfire, but look at Shanghai: despite the general consensus among fans, both the 2010 and 2011 Chinese Grands Prix were teriffic.

            And then at his street tracks to see why you should probably be cringing at this point.

            The problem with street circuits is that the design is limited by the geography. Tilke had to find a way to thread a circuit around existing buildings. And despite Valencia’s poor reputation, I direct your attention to sector three: before the circuit was built, it was empty land. Tilke could do whatever he wanted with it. It also happens to be the best section of the circuit. Likewise in Singapore – most of the first sector is purpose-built, and it’s the best section of circuit. If they could just get rid of the novelty chicanes along the waterfront in the final sector, making the final double-apex bend faster, it would be teriffic.

            Now, while I just said that street circuits are defined by the tight placement of buildings, Sochi has an ace up its sleeve: there are no roads at the Olympic Park. Instead, it’s intended to be foot traffic only for the Olympics. The open plan and the palcement of the buildings means that Tilke has the freedom to send the circuit wherever he wants, and use the existing space. So it’s not really a street circuit. It’s a road course in an unrban environment.

          2. It will be flat, it will be bland, it will be Tilke.

          3. It will be flat, it will be bland, it will be Tilke.

            And you can tell that based on a top-down two-dimmensional planograph?

            Here’s a suggestion: forget everything you know about Spa. Just look at a simple drawing of the circuit. Pay particular attention to Eau Rouge. You know it as one of the most legendary corners in the world. But if that design were put forward tomorrow, you’d be criticising Eau Rouge as being a pointless chicane.

          4. Tilke has the freedom to send the circuit wherever he wants, and use the existing space. So it’s not really a street circuit. It’s a road course in an unrban environment.

            Seems like another Korea to me then. Great, I can’t wait.

            And I really don’t get these two statements:

            “The difference in Sochi is that some of these corners were designed to pose the same challenge as the original Eau Rouge”

            “This will result in a circuit that is flat, but elevations are not the be-all and end-all of good circuit design”

            Seems like you’re pre-judging the circuit just as much as some of the negative comments here. Let’s give this circuit the benefit of the doubt for the time being, but anything remotely like Spa PM it won’t be. I’m willing to bet my life on it.

    6. The Sochi layout isn’t really news. It was revealed almost a year ago.

      1. i never said it was new news.

  6. “At Silverstone you feel the race only on the track,” he tells me. “You don’t see anything at the airport, maybe a small banner, nothing in London. You come to Oxford Street, nobody knows the grand prix is on. If this was the race weekend in Bahrain, you would see posters and fliers and advertisements in every shopping mall, in every corner of the town. To us, the grand prix is definitely the biggest event of the year.

    Why would people in Oxford Street want to know the race was on? They’re busy shopping. If they wanted to watch the race, they’d be at home in front of the TV, or they’d be at Silverstone.

    Everyone in Britain knows when the British Grand Prix is on, it’s all over the news and the TV, and then when it all comes down to it, the stands at Silverstone are rammed full for all 3 days. Far better than I’ve ever seen any of the Middle Eastern grands prix, including Turkey.

    The reason that Bahrain’s airport and shopping malls are full of banners and whatnot is because the country is only the size of a city anyway, so filling all that space with advertising isn’t that hard to do. Try covering every square inch of Britain with a British Grand Prix banner… very hard to do, and not exactly neccessary.

    Either way, at least there was a British Grand Prix this year, and always has been and I should think always will be. Unlike Bahrain which will be nothing more than a flash in the pan for a few years, until the oil, interest, or both, dry up.

    It is bigger than your Silverstone, the FA Cup, the Derby, the Grand National all rolled into one.

    Now thats just a bare-faced lie.

    1. He means the Bahrain GP is bigger in Bahrain relative to Slverstone in the UK I think, but he makes himself sound completely delusional. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that Britain has a passion for motorsport that’s deeply ingrained, and even with zero advertising the grandstands will be packed to the gills, unlike his lame GP that can be advertised year round and will still have plenty of empty seats.

      1. +1

        They will never get close to Silverstone, Spa, Any race in Germany, Monza or Interlagos! They can buy Bernie’s “love” but they don’t significant motorsport history, I’m happy they’re trying to get there but I would suggest an humble pie fisrt…

    2. Spinmastermic
      13th July 2011, 5:25

      Plus its all propaganda

  7. Zayed Alzayan, I have 2 words for you

    Shut up!

  8. Zayed Alzayani, is a joker.

    The subtlety in having your population actually enjoy the GP for what it is rather than having it forced onto them is apparently too elusive for him too grasp.

    But once again, we have the rich and powerful of Bahrain being unable to grasp or come to terms with the reality.

    (Or at least, that’s what I would say if I knew it weren’t the shameless propaganda that it is.)

    I think when you read that article. Don’t even consider the merits of the Bahrain track. Because to do that would be to miss the point.

    For all his nice words about nice people called judges from overseas and national dialogues. It is very obvious that people are still being repressed, and the fact that foreign media still aren’t able to get back in the country is a black mark over anything he has said.

  9. “Yes, events have happened in between but you can’t be so temperamental.”

    Did he stamp his feet and beat the air while he said it?

  10. Michael Griffin
    13th July 2011, 1:17

    That Bahrain fella sounds like the kind of person who would work for Rupert Murdoch..

    1. And speaking of Murdoch, the phone-hacking scandal that brought down Screws of the World (wordplay, oh yeah!) has potentially spread to The Sun and at least one other paper owned by Murdoch. This has forced him to put his plans for the acquisition of BSkyB on hold, and it’s not something he’s going to be able to walk away from easily. Bottom line: nobody is goign to want to deal with Murdoch any time soon. Bernie and CVC claim Formula 1 is not for sale, but even if they were considering Murdoch’s bid for the sport, they’d be reconsidering now.

      1. Dear me, PM, that’s a bit naive don’t you think? Bernie doesn’t give a damn about what Murdoch’s been up to. Remember Briatore is one of his best friends, and Bernie’s not above political influence himself (famously giving £1m to Tony Blair’s government around the time the tobacco advertising ban was postponed).

        1. Bernie doesn’t give a damn about what Murdoch’s been up to.

          But Bernie doesn’t control Formula 1. Not directly. He’s really CVC’s representative. He might pull all the strings, but CVC can pull his. And if they’re considering selling the sport, they may have second thoughts if Murdoch is the only potential buyer.

          Even then, the phone-hacking scandal has the potential to destroy Murdoch entirely. Even if CVC and Bernie decide they want to sell, they may not be able to sell to him at all.

          1. I agree that Bernie is CVC’s representative. But you’re digging a deeper hole: I doubt very much that Bernie cares who CVC sell to, and I know that CVC won’t care who they sell to: just as long as the price is right.

            News International will suffer the fallout of the scandal in the UK. But frankly, News Corp (the parent company) is a bit bigger and a bit too diverse to completely collapse and they have a lot of money to play with.

      2. In the UK the usual pun title for the NOTW was News Of The Screws – but I like them both!

        As for buying F1 – I think it depends on whether anyone has any hard evidence on anything illegal The Sun has done, and if so how jittery advertisers get. If they start deserting and seeing all of Murdoch’s business as tainted even Bernie might think twice.

  11. Well, the F1 teams stood up against whoever was in charged. DEMOCRACY.

  12. Yes, events have happened

    What an unimaginative euphmeism… he could at least have said “unpleasantness has occurred”, or, my favourite, “mistakes have been made”. Though such an expression of guilt is unneccessary given what a great job they’ve done persuading us Iran was to blame…

    1. … and Al Qaeda has been passing out drugs in Libya to try and hurt Gaddafi.

      1. Because an oppressive and dictatorial Muslim state is precisely what al’Qadea don’t want despite the fact that they were created to eventually form an oppressive and dictatorial Muslim state.

  13. This boner, from a country that has cubic millions of dollars of oil revenue, has the audacity to criticise a “normal” country as being stingy and inferior?
    Perhaps F1 management should base their fees for accepting an F1 date on the Gross National Product of the country wanting to host the race. Then Mr. Alzayani might sing a different tune without the arrogance and add a small degree of humility.
    On the other hand, if F1 management had any conscience or principles at all, they’d tell Bahrain to take their attitude and money and shove it.
    BUT, F1 isn’t about ethics or ideals or honesty, it also is only about money. Right Bernie?

    1. F1 is business. And business is always about money.

    2. actually for Bahrain the trick is, the country does not have all that much oil riches.
      Therefore it used the money from that to build an international friendly image to lure in finance to prosper long term.

      How inconvenient these protesters ruined that nice image and hurt the economy. Boo to them for spoiling the party :-(

  14. I don’t think Mark backoff until the last corner but until that point he was on a charge.
    What’s wrong with Bahrain? If they start this then FOTA may think twice to go in 2012.

    1. FOTA have no control over the calendar. They can only influence it if the FIA give them the power to influence it. That’s what the controversial WMSC vote was all about – the FIA decided that they wanted to return to Bahrain. FOTA needed to vote on the issue, but they couldn’t actually vote before the FIA had made their decision. The problem was that certain people (read: Max Mosley) claimed that the FIA had ignored FOTA before FOTA even had a chance to convene and present their position to the FIA.

      If this had happened fifteen or twenty years ago – before the internet was as pervasive as it was – then it’s likely the WMSC would have voted to reinstate the Grand Prix, then approach FOTA and act on FOTA’s decision without pundits interfering with the process.

  15. I perticularly love this line:

    “He [Webber] talked about human rights and all that. Doesn’t Australia have issues with the Aborigines? I don’t see Mark Webber talking about that. Why Mark Webber went against Bahrain I don’t know.”

    I’d love for Mr. Alzayani to demonstrate when the Australian government has ordered their armed forces to shoot at Aboriginies in the streets.

    1. I’d love for Mr. Alzayani to demonstrate when the Australian government has ordered their armed forces to shoot at Aboriginies in the streets.</blockquote?
      Governor Brisbane ordered it shortly after he took over from Governor Macquarie. It's true that this happened shortly after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney, but it's a fundamental moment in early Australian history. Macquarie had been trying to encourage settlers and the indigenous population to co-exist. He even went so far as to offer free education for indigenous children as a sign of good faith, and treated settlers and the indigenous population the same way in the courts – particularly if one killed the other. Macquarie even put in place rules of engagement: European settlers were only able to attack indigenous people if they themselves were attacked first.

      But then Macquarie's time as governor was finished, and he was replaced by Brisbane. Brisbane undid most of the policies Macquarie had put in place, and treated the indigenous population as one would an invading army. Where settlers had to demonstrate that an aboriginal person posed a genuine threat to his or her family before attacking under Macquarie, under Brisbane settlers were able to shoot on sight. Brisbane also oversaw the early educational policies for indigenous children, policies that eventually influenced the stolen generation.

      1. Yeah, but reality would tell you all countries A) have done bad things in the past.
        B) This is the year 2011, the world has grown up (somewhat).

        1. Google Ai Weiwei. See what you get.

          1. So? you can hardly blame Australians for that, anymore then the rest of the world.

          2. My point is that every country has something they could be criticised for, something that could be used as an excuse not to have a Grand Prix on “moral grounds”.

    2. What he failed to say:

      1.Brazil has favelas (Ban Brazilian GP!)
      2.Prince Albert is a cheater (Ban Monaco GP!)
      3.Berlusconi’s way of life is unacceptable (Monza no more!)


      He’s a joke.

      1. We want Stefan GP!

      2. The Athens GP is looking more likely by the day.

        1. If we’re going by things that happened many a century ago (and in Australias case, before the country called Australia was even a glimmer in the land’s eye) then we should get rid of all GP’s and even the upcoming should be removed before they start

          Russia – Red Army, Communisticalness, blah blah, there is heaps here thanks to having a long history
          USA – Slavery, segregation, there is heaps thanks to having a long history
          India – Slums

          Germany – Nazis, WWI, WWII, Holocaust etc…
          Britain – Wars including against America, percecution of religion at times leading to fleets to America. Taking over the world, destruction of native inhabitants
          China – Any ideas? ;)

          Really there should only be 1 GP’s then.

          Monaco – Really too small to do anything

          And maybe Poland….?

          1. Polish “troops” raped my greatgrandmother as she was on her way to escape the town she lived in ever since she was born (cause it was Germany for a long long time).
            And Monaco was founded by pirates, so thats not ok either…

          2. Maybe Switzerland. They’ve kept their noses out of mischief for almost 200 years now. But motor racing is illegal there.

            Back to square one.

      3. Bernie is obviously unaware of Belgiums history in the Congo, but that is not surprising.

  16. How can anyone claim that Red Bull handed Ferrari victory on a platter considering the outright pace of the Ferrari? Alonso would have won even if Vettel’s pit stop had been perfect.

    1. Yeah, and from the latest interviews with Vettel, looks like RedBull are a bit scared of Ferrari’s new pace and are expecting a strong charge from Alonso. Seb himself claimed that they were beaten fair and square because Alonso’s Ferrari as simply faster.

    2. Well, let’s hope we get an all the way fight then, maybe helped by a little bad luck for Vettel.

    3. I would argue that Alonso would not have won. He might have caught Vettel, yes, he might have. But to state that “Alonso would have won even if Vettel’s pit stop had been perfect” as a fact is preposterous. It would have been nigh on impossible for him to overtake Vettel on the track. Look at Hamilton chasing Vettel at the end of the Barcelona GP…it stands to reason that this wouldn’t have been any different.

      Im aware that Christian Horner said so himself, but of course he would say that to save face, because it makes his team look like they performed the absolute best that they could at silverstone, even though that isnt the truth.

  17. Hahaha Alzayani on Webber; “Doesn’t Australia have issues with the Aboriginies?”
    Why yes, we do Alzayani. Because when our Aboriginies rightfully complain about the state of their own welfare, we just round them up and shoot them in the streets! Problem solved. Seemed to work for you…
    (Heavy dose of sarcasm intended)

    1. You clearly don’t know very much about either Australian aboriginal history or what happened in Bahrain then.

      For one, protestors were not “rounded up and shot in the streets”. They were already in large groups (because that’s what protestors do), and security forces fired into the crowd. It was not, as you are implying, a summary execution en masse.

      Secondly, as I detailed in my post on the matter on the first page of this thread, the actions of Governor Brisbane in pre-Federation Australia gave settlers the power to shoot the indigenous population on sight (when Brisbane’s predecessor, Macquarie had set out rules of engagement that meant settlers could not attack unless attacked first – and for the most part, indigenous people largely ignored the settlers and actually liked Macquarie; it was not until Brisbane’s edict that aboriginal resistance groups formed). Governor Macquarie’s policies were instrumental in forming the early stages of govermental policies for aboriginal education, which gave birth to protectionism and assimilation – the forced relocation of indigenous people and the forced placement of aboriginal children into European settlements. This was also known as the Stolen Generation, and was one of the biggest perpetual violations of human rights in the twentieth century, one that went on for nearly four decades. And while I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, anyone who understands key elements of aboriginal culture can appreciate just how traumatic these actions were.

      And if you still dispute indigenous people being shot in the street, allow me to educate you. The Myall Creek Massacre might have happened over 150 years ago, but that doesn’t change the fact that it happened in the first place. And this wasn’t a group of security forces blind-firing into a crowded square – the Myall Creek Massacre was the premeditated systematic execution of thirty aboriginal men, women and children who were well-known both locally and by their attackers and with no record of violent crimes.

      1. Yeah, i suppose we wouldn’t like to have been racing in Australia a hundred years ago, but by now its tough to hold that agains you lot!

        1. Haha our infastructure surely hasn’t improved a great deal..

      2. Okay, let’s put it this way: recently in China, Beijing incarcerated a man named Ai Weiwei. He was a peace activist and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was locked up and the Chinese government threatened to stop trading with anyone who supported him for the award. Yet nobody complains about China having a Grand Prix.

        Likewise, Russian oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been forced into exile, his company divided up, and he was convicted in absentia of various financial crimes and sentenced to sixteen years in prison. Observers note that Khodorkovsky, who was campaigning for transparency in Russian politics, was one of the few people in Russia who could legitimately challenge Vladimir Putin, who is running for re-election as president once Dmitri Medvedev’s tenure is up. Russia is hosting a Grand Prix in 2014 (or 2015, depending on the IOC), yet nobody is complaining.

        The point I’m trying to make is that there are human rights abuses all over the world. Sometimes they are against groups, while other times, they are against individuals. During the riots and later during the WMSC vote, people demanded that the sport make a moral stand by refusing to go to Bahrain – but they never once mentioned China’s treatment of Ai Weiwei, Russia’s actions against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, or even everyday things like India’s caste system. It seems that people only care about human rights violations and how they reflect upon the sport when those violations are making headlines around the world.

        Alzayan might have a Ceausescu-like grip on reality, but he does make a point: practically every country in the world has abused human rights in some way. Sometimes they are over a century ago, like the Myall Creek Massacre. And other times they are more recent, like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. This is the one thing that never sat well with me, the one thing that meant all the arguments about making a moral stand against Bahrain never resonated with me: how can Formula 1 refuse to race in some countries because of their human rights violations whilst continuing to race in other countries in spite of other violations? None of the anti-Bahrain posters ever explained that one away, much less explained it away plausibly.

        It just goes to show that the sport should not get mixed up in politics. It’s wracked by its own internal arguments often enough. The only reason why Formula 1 should have avoided Bahrain was on the grounds of safety, not some foolhardy moral stand that forced everyone involved to align themselves witha position they may not necessarily agree with (Sebastien Buemi, for instance, lives in Bahrain). To do so would put Formula 1 in a position where each and every race on the calendar would become political – for example, if Formula 1 cannot accept money from the Bahraini government because they do not agree with their actions, then they would be forced to consider the actions of the Victorian state government and the federal opposition in Australia (since both are liberal), which is currently holding the entire nation hostage with the carbon tax. And then when the sport gets to Malaysia, they have to consider the actions of the government in Kuala Lumpur before racing. And so on, and so forth. To take a political position on one nation but to ignore it in another would just make the Powers That Be into hypocrites.

        1. I agree with you that sport & politics should never mix. Unfortunately in such a globally prominent business that is Formula One, it’s impossible to avoid.
          And I’m not trying to get into an argument here, and the cases you refer to are human rights violations, but one man being exiled or one man being wrongly imprisoned as opposed to 30 innocent protesters slain in the streets while the entire world watches…?
          I do understand what you are saying, but do you see the point I’m making?
          Where is the line that dictates when it’s ok to race or not race in a country due to political corruptness or human rights violations?

        2. If you were comparing apples with apples, I’d agree with you.

          Ai Weiwei is certainly not the only political prisoner in China. But the we’re not having the race with the Tiananmen Square protest going on at the same time.

          No offence but it seems you’re more interested in winning an argument than actually trying to understand why people think the way they do.

        3. Ai Weiwei is certainly not the only political prisoner in China. But the we’re not having the race with the Tiananmen Square protest going on at the same time.

          A better point not made before. Perfectly summarises the issue.

          PM, seriously, I see what you’re trying to get at, but what’s current matters most, rightly or wrongly.

        4. As Icthyes writes, what is going on in Bahrain since Februari, is on a different scale.

          Any evidence china actually indicts, beats and imprisons doctors for nothing more than being doctors and shiia at the same time?
          And holding up the notion of

          There is a national dialogue going on

          at the same time (rather don’t even ask the Bahrain opposition about progress being made in the discussion).

      3. “For one, protestors were not “rounded up and shot in the streets”. They were already in large groups (because that’s what protestors do), and security forces fired into the crowd. It was not, as you are implying, a summary execution en masse.”

        Oh that’s alright then, they weren’t target anyone in particular, they indiscrimnatly blowing people’s brains. Much better that!!

        Sometimes Devil’s advocate is foolish!!

        1. “Time heals all wounds”,( but it takes more than a couple of months ). For instance everyone here seems to have forgotten, or perhaps never knew about the “Kent State massacre” that happened less than 40 years ago.

  18. I wonder if these rules would have been reverted if Mclaren hadn’t lost so much time. They were the ones pushing so very hard for those new regulations, and then when they saw they had been effected the most, the quickly backtracked.

    Unfortunately Alonso’s win has some how convinced people that Ferrari were behind it all. Mean while it simply did not matter to them because either way they had a fast car.

    1. Unfortunately Alonso’s win has some how convinced people that Ferrari were behind it all. Mean while it simply did not matter to them because either way they had a fast car.

      Not strictly true, some were saying Ferrari was behind the changes prior to last weekend, they originally lobbed the FIA according to some. They lit the touch paper and retired into the shadows and watched Mclaren and RBR argue amongst themselves while they got on with the job in hand, if true clever influencing by Ferrari.
      Anyway to me that post infers Mclaren were behind it, they weren’t, it can be argued they had the quickest race car prior to the changes, you right though they thought they would gain and decided the changes were bad went they lost out.

  19. happy birthday to all of you, Pawelf1, Robert, Voaridase and HoolyF1. Hope you have a nice day.

    1. happy birthday!

  20. Regarding the article with Zayed Alzayani I can’t help but think he’s missing the point. He’s criticising drivers and teams about the wrong topic. They never criticised the circuit or the Grand Prix itself, they can still love the circuit and the facilities even if they don’t agree with the current situation.

    1. Agreed. He’s completely ignoring the point. The teams I believe were also looking out for the integrity of the sport. And relating the human rights situation to the U.S? Ok, so Guantanamo isn’t the most pleasant place to be and I’m not denying a lot of awful things happen there, but over 30 protestors weren’t killed in cold-blooded violence while peacefully fighting for their welfare on the mainland of USA recently…

      1. not for nearly 40 years.

  21. Funny that it’s Trulli’s birthday today and it wasn’t mentioned in the particular section above!

  22. Never thought i’d say it, but Bernie’s kinda taking the Good Guy role in this.. He’s going in to bat for F1!

    For once i feel confident in his leadership..

  23. “Yes, events have happened in between but you can’t be so temperamental.”

    To say that is an understatement would be an understatement. Talk about sweeping the mess under the carpet when you want guest to come to your house.

  24. Guess he lost some money due to the cancelation of Bahrain GP, which he unfortunately didn’t hedge?
    Man, people should do take care of their own people…

  25. Quote from the article….

    “At Silverstone you feel the race only on the track,” he tells me. “You don’t see anything at the airport, maybe a small banner, nothing in London. You come to Oxford Street, nobody knows the grand prix is on. If this was the race weekend in Bahrain, you would see posters and fliers and advertisements in every shopping mall, in every corner of the town. To us, the grand prix is definitely the biggest event of the year.

    Thats probably because you don’t need to waste money on endless promotion within the UK to sell out a race.

  26. If the Sochi circuit is finalised then who did Bernie tell to use Populous for their circuit?

    1. Populous was never commissioned to design the Sochi circuit. Their only work to date has been at Silverstone, though I believe they were consulted for the proposed changes to abu Dhabi. Sochi was designed by Hermann Tilke.

      1. Do you think Silverstone went non-Tilke so Bernie would not profit from forcing Silverstone to spend millions on upgrades?

    2. HounslowBusGarage
      13th July 2011, 16:52

      Populous are designing the actual Olympic venues and village, not the track.

  27. did anyone else realise Hamilton did a doughnut at the end of the British GP?!

    1. I was waiting for a donut from Lewis, but I didnt see it on the broadcast (had to watch the crappy 2 hour edited version played on tape-delay here in the US). That’s awesome though!

      1. How did Hamilton escape a penalty for his doughnuts? Hamilton even went so far as to publicly back-talk Mansell before the event, and he didn’t even get a suspended race ban for driving the wrong direction on the track.

        But, sarcasm aside, how did he have fuel for that? As soon as the race ended my first thought was that he would be DQ’d for not having enough fuel for a sample. Because after every race you have to work out how Hamilton will avoid a penalty for something or the other.

  28. For the most part I’d like to concentrate on the subject of F1 racing so I won’t be commenting on the murder of innocent Bahrainis, as abhoerent as it is there is more than one way to skin a cat.

    It’s an interesting if naïve perspective that Zayed Alzayani has offered here and smacks a little of sour grapes.

    The British Public are the most knowledgeable F1 enthusiasts there are so we don’t need to be reminded to watch the Grand Prix. It’s innate, it’s passed down from father to son like an old pocket watch. That’s why Silverstone regularly holds the most impressive crowds of the year.

    Also, as Silverstone held the first official round of the F1 Championship 60 years ago it has become woven into the fabric of our sporting culture. The fact that it is so well attended by comparison to any other F1 event despite the lack of “posters and fliers and advertisements in every shopping mall, in every corner of the town” is testament to this.

    Silverstone is also widely regarded amongst fans and drivers alike as one of the GREAT tracks on the calendar. Names such as “Copse”, Maggots”, “Beckets” and “Hangar Straight” evoke memory, mystique and passion in the same way as the other Great tracks such as Monza. Indeed, Silverstone is part of the bedrock of Formula 1, part of its DNA. Its history is only comparable to that of the other legendary tracks such as Monza and Imola which is sadly no longer on the calendar. Heaven forbid Monza should ever be swept aside in the same manner.

    By contrast, the Bahrain GP has never offered anything particularly exciting on any level. The races there have generally been processional with the 2010 GP a particularly dull spectacle. This, coupled with the fact that the sport is new to Bahrain and there isn’t much indigenous enthusiasm for the event would explain the huge lengths the organisers have to go to in order to publicise the event.

    For Bahrain to compare itself to an event of such Majesty as the British Grand Prix just shows what little understanding they have for the underlying passion that is the lifeblood of the sport. You can’t pour concrete and hope to emulate that, it just isn’t possible.

    In summary, the Bahrain track is uninspiring in layout and is particularly dull to watch on television. There is relatively little enthusiasm for the event because of this. The event has the air of a play thing, a whimsy for the Crown Prince’s benefit which is palpable and off putting to me.

    Unwise comments such as those made about a classic, established and loved the world over event such as the British GP will only serve to distance Bahrain from the heartland of Formula 1.

    I personally only watched the Bahrain GPs because I wanted to watch F1 cars in action, the venue was inconsequential. I’d rather have a double header at one of the classic tracks than a Bahraini GP.

    I’d probably prefer to revamp and revive Estoril or Argentina in preference to Bahrain being reinstated.

    In an age where the emphasis is on fan experience and promoting axciting racing this is a typically out of touch testimony from the super rich that really has no relevance to modern Formula 1, much like his Bahrain GP.

    1. In Bahrains defence, anyone listening to Bernie last year would believe that a Grand Prix was all about “high society” luxury, yachts, Royalty and celebrities using a car race as an excuse for a party.

  29. My 3rd COTD?

    Huzzah! Certainly brightens an otherwise bleak day…

    1. Congratulations!

      And happy birthday everyone!

  30. Try and guess which country is being referred to in today’s Independent:

    …a vociferous minority is demanding change, only to be met with a clandestine crackdown on dissent. While other countries in the Gulf have expedited reforms to appease citizens demanding more freedom, [this country] – despite having long-attempted to present itself as a model of progress – has taken a different tack, silencing any individuals or organisations questioning the status quo.

    If you thought it was another article on Bahrain, you’d be wrong.

    Unfortunately, it appears that not only do the powers that be in Bahrain still not get why they lost their GP, but it also seems neither do their neighbours just over the water in the United Arab Emirates (which includes Abu Dhabi in the confederation of seven states that make up the UAE).

    Check out The quiet crackdown in a tourist playground.

    This does not look a healthy development. The parallels between Bahrain and Abu Dhabi are significant, including their investment/bank rolling of F1 teams and the use of F1 as a stamp of approval in a country where reform has stalled. Add in the boring, anti-climatic nature of the Yas Marina circuit and I think we might be in for a bit of deja vu…

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