Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, Bahrain, 2012

Todt dodges questions and journalists as protester dies in Bahrain

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Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, Bahrain, 2012In the round-up: FIA president Jean Todt dodges questions and journalists in Bahrain. Meanwhile the opposition blame security forces for protester’s death.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Todt speaks out at last on Bahrain (James Allen)

“One obvious own goal has been the decision to allow the F1 brand to be used on the ‘UniF1ed’ poster campaign for the race, a clear political use of the brand, which the FIA rules would appear not to allow and which contradicts all statements about sport and politics not mixing. As does the messaging of Bahrain being ‘back on track’. Asked about this by the BBC?s Jake Humphrey, Todt swerved the question.”

Kevin Eason via Twitter

“Pleased to see Jean Todt, FIA president, made it into the F1 paddock in Bahrain today. Gave interviews to selected media and press. Not The Times, though. Perhaps he is still upset at our coverage of Bahrain Grand Prix…”

Tom Cary’s diary of a fraught week in the Gulf kingdom (The Telegraph)

“FIA president Jean Todt, lambasted for keeping such a low profile during the crisis, finally shows up in the paddock. But it seems that I, along with my Fleet St colleagues, have now been blacklisted as he speaks only to other agencies and TV outlets.”

Bahrain: Activist found dead ahead of Grand Prix (BBC)

“A man has been killed in Bahrain during overnight clashes with the security forces, activists say, a day before Sunday’s F1 Grand Prix.”

Bahrain protester’s family: ‘we were not allowed to see the body’ – video (The Guardian)

“The brother-in-law of Salah Abbas Habib, the anti-government protester found dead on the eve of the Bahrain Grand Prix, says the family were told a body had been found inside a compound but they were not allowed to identify it.”

Chief of Public Security Announces An Investigation Into the Death of Salah Abbas Habib Musa (Bahrain Ministry of Interior)

“The chief said more details would be released as they become known. He reminded everyone, both journalists and the public, to wait for the facts to be established and not to believe unconfirmed reports on social media channels.”

Protester found dead on eve of Bahrain Grand Prix (FT, registration required)

“Other protesters who survived the same incident said they were beaten by police, according to activists.”

Bahrain Grand Prix: Protesters block roads as teargas fired (The Telegraph)

“Anti-government protesters in Bahrain flooded a main highway in a march stretching for miles and security forces fired tear gas in breakaway clashes as the country’s leaders struggle to contain opposition anger ahead of the Grand Prix.”

Force India boss defends decision to pull-out of second practice (BBC)

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley: “If we hadn’t taken the steps we did, we were close to unravelling. It was just very, very important.”

Formula One lives in a Bahrain bubble (Reuters)

“FIA President Jean Todt broke a 10-day media silence on Saturday to say that he was sorry ‘about what has been reported’ rather than expressing any doubts about giving the green light to the race at a time when the Gulf kingdom was still undergoing so much turmoil.”

Foreign Secretary expresses concern at violence in Bahrain (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

“I spoke to the Foreign Minister of Bahrain today to express our concern about the violence in Bahrain, to call for restraint in dealing with protests including during the Formula One race and to urge further progress in implementing political reforms.”

Brawn urges F1 to reflect on Bahrain call (Autosport)

“I think we are here now, and after this event we need to sit down and discuss it. We are committed to this race, we are having a race, and after the race with proper judgement of what happened and what we saw, we need to come to a conclusion.”

Kate Walker via Twitter

“Been reprimanded for the positive [Bahrain question] I asked in press [conference yesterday]. Apparently they felt it was an attack.”

Bernie: India not Forced off TV (The Sun)

“F1 supremo Ecclestone… rebuffed the accusations they were being punished for leaving the circuit early… “They have a whisky company prominently on the car. They should have taken it off. The TV could not show that.” […] However, SunSport understands that Force India were given the green light to run with the logos of whisky brand Whyte & Mackay.”

Lewis Hamilton vs Ed Miliband (The Spectator)

“What baffles me is that the racing drivers should be seen as so controversial, whereas (so far as I can tell) neither [Yvette] Cooper nor [Ed] Miliband has had anything to say about the British government approving the sale of arms to Bahrain long after its uprising started in February 2011.”

Bahrain analysis: how Formula One plan may have backfired for Gulf kingdom’s ruling family (The Telegraph)

“Officials came up with the slogan “UniF1ed” had hoped that Bahrain’s showcase event would deflate the Shia street protests that had campaigned so vocally for its cancellation. Yet the opposite seems to have happened, with the questionable nature of the regime’s triumph exposed by the thousands of demonstrators who gathered on Friday and Saturday, the first two of three ‘days of rage’, to denounce the ruling family.”

Inside Story – Bahrain’s ‘days of rage’ (Al Jazeera via YouTube)

Breivik F1 is go! (Sniff Petrol – satire)

“The decision to allow Breivik to enter Formula 1 is ‘not about the money’, according to F1 boss Bernard Ecclestone. ‘Anders Breivik is entered into Formula 1. It?s all scheduled,’ Mr Ecclestone said. ‘And although I essentially own, run and completely control the sport, I can’t do anything about that. It’s up to the teams.'”

Vergne reprimanded, but escapes penalty (Crash.net)

“Vergne will now keep his starting position of 19th place on the grid, after failing to progress from Q1 during the qualifying session.”

Q&A with Sauber?s Sergio Perez (Sauber)

“After we did the data analysis we found out that we had a problem with the front wing which caused us to lose a lot of downforce [in China]. So it had nothing to do with strategy. Very likely, under normal circumstances, the two-stop strategy would have worked.”

F1 video game creator Codemasters in debt for equity deal (The Telegraph)

“The company recently renewed the Formula 1 licence through to 2015. Formula 1 2011 has sold around 2m units and Dirt 3, another leading racing title, has sold more than 1.5m units globally.”

Formula 1 betting: Bahrain Grand Prix

My thoughts on the race ahead.

Comment of the day

AJ sets out a case against those in charge of Formula 1:

People appear to be sick and tired of the manipulation of F1 by certain individuals.

We have an FIA who sanctioned the use of slogans “UniF1ed = one nation in celebration”, a slogan that was propose and run from February. This is clearly in breach of article 1 of the FIA statute.

Ecclestone is under criminal investigation around the acquisition of the rights for F1 and sale to CVC. $1m a year to buy them from his mate head of the FIA. He is a present trying to sell these rights for $10billion.

The bullying tactics over the Concorde Agreements are a matter of historical fact, and are happening again this year.

The decision by the FIA to go to Bahrain has been proven ridiculous, the world?s media has had a field day in criticising F1 this weekend.

Ross Brawn has gone on record today saying, “it is important for the sport to ask whether they did the right thing coming here racing”. If it was clear there was no problem with the decision, why suggest this? […]

It is our right to comment. It is our right to expect fairness and justice within our sport. It is our duty to speak out.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Fixy and Kaylee911!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Jean Behra won a non-championship race around the Pau street circuit at the wheel of a Maserati 250F today in 1957.

Image ?? Caterham/LAT

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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  • 109 comments on “Todt dodges questions and journalists as protester dies in Bahrain”

    1. I oppose the Grand Prix of Bahrain since 2004.

      Not even a political reason.

      It’s just the track that is terrible.

      1. +1, Bahrain can be paradise, and still I would want it out.

    2. Bernie, lying only works to a certain point. Once you pass that point, you end up looking like a fool.

    3. Like I mentioned in a comment on another article , had the F1 not gone into Bahrain this weekend, much less media would report the protester’s death. Actually before the all F1-debate Bahrain was off the world news for a long time and as far as I know they continue to have the same kind of problems they had last year and continue to have to this day!

      1. That´s a good point. I was dead set against this GP, but maybe it will work for the greater good by focusing the worlds attention on the neglected Arab revolution.

        Of course, this applies only to the country itself. For F1 itself there is no silver lining- unless, of course, all publicity is good publicity…

        1. @ned-flanders It does seem to be working both ways though I doubt it will hit some sort of equilibrium phase unfortunately.

        2. @bakano @ned-flanders The world will only focus Bahrain for this weekend, and then they will likely forget about it next week. When the problems in Bahrain initially began, the media only covered it for a week.

      2. I’ve come to a similar conclusion. Formula 1 shouldn’t have gone, for oh so many reasons, but in a way it appears to perhaps be good for the country. It is getting the country and the cause true media attention that had been lacking. If that continues to put more pressure on the country then perhaps it is a good thing, although whether the current escalated tension and violence (if it is escalated compared to normal of course, which isn’t necessarily the case as the security forces are supposedly being much less abusive than normal in the eye of the press) is worth it in the long run I have no idea.

        1. I’d also argue that it is perhaps safer for the physical well-being of the protesters that the race goes ahead. If Formula 1 withdrew from Bahrain for political and/or moral reasons, or if the protesters had forced the cancellation of the race by, say, setting fire to pit buildings, then I very much doubt that it would have ended well for the demonstrators. The government would not say “Oh, well, you were right, so here’s those speedy democratic reforms that you were asking for”. No, if they felt that the protesters had cost them the race, then would likely crack down harder and more ruthlessly than they ever have before.

          The situation in Bahrain was never going to be resolved with the cancellation of the Grand Prix, despite what some people around here might think. Because the Grand Prix is not the issue here; the demonstrators aren’t protesting against the phsyical race, but against what the race represents. And so far, they’ve been pretty successful. The government wants to push the “UNIF1ED – One Nation In Celebration” line, but all they’ve managed to do is say one thing and do another. It’s failed.

          At least this way, everyone gets what they want. The government gets a Grand Prix. The protesters get massive media exposure (even with the embargo on foreign journalists in place), and the government doesn’t decide to pulverise them out of retailiation. And Formula gets another round of the championship, with full points on offer to all.

          1. I don’t believe SFI got what thy wanted! As much as I hate to fuel this argument, you are forgetting the event is yet to be over and the whole reason I and many others are against this event is that peoples lives are being put in unnecessary danger. I agree with Bakano and all above but only to a degree, this situation is not ours to defend or endorse and will be forgotten about by most once this media debacle is over. The holding of this event has still put someone’s life at risk (The entire F1 Paddock) to promote a problem that is not within our capability to fix. People will still stuffer in Bahrain, the GP will not change that, but the people involved in the incident who shouldn’t have been exposed to that risk (SFI crew), their lives will never be the same…….

            1. you are forgetting the event is yet to be over

              No, I haven’t forgotten that at all. But based on what we’ve seen so far, the protesters probably aren’t going to target the race or anyone involved in it. They had a prime opportunity to do so with qualifying yesterday, and nothing came of it (one could argue that they would save it for the race itself, but security will be at its highest for the race, so it would probably be easier to target qualifying). Nabeel Rajab, one of the most outspoken activists, has said that none of the protests are aimed at Formula 1 and that they have no intention of hurting anybody involved in the sport.

              I still think that everyone has largely gotten what they wanted. The government gets their race. The protesters have received more media attention in the past week than they have for the past year. The sport gets anotehr round of the championship. That’s not going to suddenly change in the next eight hours.

    4. From the U.S., where Formula 1 never gets a mention in mainstream media, there’s this headline prominently featured in the NY Times: Bahrain’s Formula One Gala Not Going as Planned.

      I always thought it was a bad idea to go, but I never thought it would lead to such terrible PR for F1. And now someone has been killed.

      1. Also from the US (and first post for me), and I’ve seen stories on US television (CNN and CBS) as well. To put it into perspective, even the USGP @ Indy from 2000-2007 never got this much coverage here; even the ’05 Michelin tire debacle. Like Dusty says, it’s really bad PR for F1, and this in a country that may well be hosting 2 F1 races next year.

        I just hope nothing terrible happens tomorrow.

      2. This has already been a disaster for F1 image in the Us. When I heard on NPR about the tie in between F1 and protests, on friday, I knew this was not good. We haven’t even had a race yet.

    5. Brilliant CotD.

      The whole weekend has been a disaster. Not just the fact that the race is going ahead- every quote from the Todt or Ecclestone, the Force India snub, the way F1 has made the headlines aworldwide for all the wrong reasons, the continued determination of the regime to tell the world how F1 is uniting their country when all evidence suggests the opposite. It´s just embarrassing.

      Here´s hoping things will change soon, and I won´t have to feel ashamed to tell people I´m an F1 fan anymore.

      1. @ned-flanders – I think the real problem for Formula 1’s image has been the wall of silence that has met journalists when they ask about Bahrain. As one of them reported, Ross Brawn said he was happy to go to Bahrain, but refused to answer any more questions when pushed. If the Powers That Be had been a little bit more transparent, then I think the image would remain largely intact. All the refusals to comment have done is create some far-flung conspiracy theory where the FIA and FMO are forcing the teams to race because the Bahraini government is forcing them to force the teams into it or some such, most of which is completely intangible – I think most people are simply assuming the FIA and FOM are corrupt because they made decisions people don’t agree with – but is nevertheless devastating to the sport’s public relations.

        1. this is, i think, the most disappointing thing about the whole affair (well, maybe not, someone has died after all) – the fact that the sport’s leading figures, drivers included, have been unable or unwilling to express an opinion. hulkenberg was a notable exception but he hardly denounced the event.

          surely they have opinions?

          would the ‘conspiracy’ punish those for speaking against the race? i think it would lend credence to the event and improve its perception. i’ll be sorely annoyed if, come monday, drivers and teams start saying, openly, “actually, i was dead against the race…” – that will be very turdy indeed.

      2. @ned-flanders, I agree with you about feeling ashamed to be an F1 fan right now. The sport has disgraced itself. I’m sick to death of reading all the Bahrain articles in these round-ups – and that’s not a criticism of Keith or anyone else working at this website, it’s just that I wish those articles didn’t exist because I wish F1 was not in Bahrain right now. Whether it’s for safety reasons, political reasons, moral reasons or whatever other reasons, they simply should not be there. It actually makes me angry that they are.

    6. dysthanasiac (@)
      22nd April 2012, 0:19

      Great comments, AJ.

      If only F1 “journalists” would ask the appropriate questions or dig for facts on their own rather than serving as de facto extensions of the F1 circus’ collected PR departments, maybe, just maybe, someone might be held accountable for all that is wrong in F1’s world.

      But, it will never, ever, ever happen, because F1 scribes traded integrity for access a long, long time ago.

      1. On that note, fantastic article by Paul Weaver from the Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/apr/21/formula-one-bahrain-grand-prix

        Am currently in India, it’s not getting enourmous coverage here but the media here is super insular, also I probably am not hooked in enough. That there is what there is remarkable.

      2. If you want to feel more connected, you and your friends could

        contact on twitter @lenovo_uk @lucozadeuk @monsterenergy @reebok @hiltonworldwide @shell @redbull @intel @microsoft @gilletteuk @pepejeans @alpinestars

        tell them there is a social media campaign under way to boycott f1 sponsors products

    7. The Breivik link is very insensitive.. I don’t think it’s right to be joking about a guy that killed nearly 80 people – many of them teenagers.

      I understand it’s satire, but it’s in extremely poor taste.

      1. I find it incredibly fitting, but then I’m not easily shocked.

      2. Mark Hitchcock
        22nd April 2012, 0:47

        That’s kind of the point though isn’t it.
        It’s insensitive to joke about a mass murderer, but it’s also insensitive to stage a multi-million dollar circus for the entertainment of comfortable and privileged people a few miles from where others are dying for basic rights.

      3. The Breivik link is quite fitting I though actually.

        It makes it clear how inappropriate it was/is to be holding an event as big as an F1 race,in a country where such atrocities are being perpetrated. The way Bernie E. is being portrayed as someone who is powerless to stop the event, and how some leading F1 folks, drivers and managers alike, are seemingly happy to “tow the party line”, give generic answers to the press and ignore what’s happening around them, is actually quite accurate from what I’ve seen during the past while. Not good at all.

      4. I was shocked by the article, but only because it took them so long to come up with some original content. Sniff Petrol have bee recycling the same old jokes for years.

        I understand it’s satire, but it’s in extremely poor taste.

        Yeah, you’ve never heard of Sniff Petrol before, have you?

      5. I don’t think it’s right to be joking about a guy that killed nearly 80 people – many of them teenagers.

        Is it right for people to ignore the crown prince of Bahrain who has done effectively the very same thing? I think that’s the joke. Not that funny, but it’s no worse than supporting someone that kills anyone that doesn’t agree with his rule.

        1. agreed, it’s not that it’s necessarily funny, it’s intended to make a statement through irony.

        2. Is it right for people to ignore the crown prince of Bahrain who has done effectively the very same thing

          Two wrongs never make a right. Just because one organisation (the FIA) has lost it’s collective morality, it doesn’t mean we should all suspend what we previously believed to be ethically correct.

          I just don’t think it’s right to be joking about these things full stop. Only my opinion though.

      6. Sniff Petrol has finally made a good joke! The Breivik line is absolutely spot on, because it’s not about Breivik at all. Could have been anything, from ‘Al-Qaida a title sponsor of the British Grand Prix’ to ‘Inaugural Cuban Grand Prix will be held at Guantanamo Bay’. The whole point is it would have changed nothing for the rest of the article. People who control everything claim they have no means to change anything, teams & drivers playing ostriches, fans are being screwed – all this has become the default M.O. for the F1, be it the axing of Spa, killing free-to-air broadcasts or lending its name to support the dictatorship. All business as usual.

      7. @cduk_mugello I think it’s meant to make you feel a little uncomfortable and it makes a valid point. However, I don’t know whether or not you would find me writing it!

    8. Keith in my opinion the inclusion of the ‘Breivik Satire’ link is questionable at best. Sorry, but I don’t really think it should have been included.

      1. Yeah I thought that was a bit weird to add. I get the irony of it and how people think it’s a fitting comparison but it doesn’t really fit in with the vibe of this website lately. Especially when the predictions championship round was cancelled because people thought it wasn’t appropriate.

      2. The article itself is borderline, no question. If I was in any way close to any of the victims I wouldn’t find very funny. But I don’t see how including it in the roundup is questionable.

    9. 2 million copies.of F1 2011 is mighty impressive. Well done Codies!

    10. I’d prefer to see better reporting on F1 than the journalists on F1 Fanatic suddenly trying to become Political reporters. If we want political reporting then look at a Daily Newspaper. You are fuelling this by Politicising this F1 Blog site.

      1. This is certainly a unique situation isn’t i? Typically I agree that sports reporters should stick to sports and political pundits stick to politics. However, over the past year, the regime in Bahrain has banned journalists from entering the country. Bahrain has gotten virtually no coverage in the media prior to Formula One deciding to go ahead with the race. It would be naive to think that F1 journalists and bloggers would not be reporting on the political situation under such circumstances. The race itself is a political statement, whether it should be or not. There is nothing normal about this weekend’s race.

      2. You are fuelling this by Politicising this F1 Blog site.

        Yes Keith you really should stop fuelling this. It’s not the FIA’s fault for sanctioning the race, it’s not Bernie’s fault for pushing it through, it’s not the teams’ fault for being corporate automatons, it’s not the Bahraini rulers’ fault for clinging to autocratic power, it’s not even the protesters’ fault for wanting a better life and more honest government. It’s not reality’s fault for being what it is. No see, it’s the media’s fault for saying anything about anything except what people want to hear about so they don’t have to think further than their front door. For shame, Keith.

        1. t’s not reality’s fault for being what it is. No see, it’s the media’s fault for saying anything about anything except what people want to hear about so they don’t have to think further than their front door

          Just one change – except what RICH & Powerful people want to hear

    11. I’ve been watching F1 for 35 years, been to over 100 GP’s, testing every year and know people in the teams as friends. This is a horrible and unique moment in time for F1 – partially because certain key figures do not understand the power of the media and social media 2012.

      Ask the Egyptian premier of a number of decades

      There are people out there starting a campaign to tell the f1 sponsors we are not happy with the running of F1. If they get the message, they will put pressure on the teams about brand damaging publicity, who in turn will place the blame for this weekends fiasco approriately.

      I and others have already started sending simple twitter messages out saying

      “There is a social media campaign under way to boycott the products of F1 sponsors”.

      So far we have:-

      (hugo boss) @houseoffraser
      sales@whyteandmackay (email)

      more to follow.

      i know some people are not interested in this, and that’s fine. But for those who are – house of fraser get 5 tweets a day. 20 tweets from f1 fans will hit their radar. This is true of other sponsors.

      If you interested I will post more twitter accounts as soon as i get them.

      If you don’t believe this works ask the Liverpool FC fans (spirit of shankley website) who contacted merryl lynch and other equity institutions to prevent the texan cowboys from raising finance to hold on to the club

      1. add Mclaren. Mclaren success is bought with blood money from the baharin royals.
        You guys can be happy and protest every race weekend. Boo McLaren blood money racing.

        1. I imagine that’s sarcasm – except it’s sadly true.

    12. now we also have


      Just to add to the LFC story. There is a book called 44 months with a pair of cowboys that is a great read for any sports fan (I think brian read wrote it). Merryl Lynch (wall street) received initially a few hundred emails from LFC fans and took notice as these numbers are generally unprecidented.

      1. Thank you.
        B.E. and J.T. underestimated the power of the new media. In the past two days whatever they have pulled out from their old PR collection to machinate the ‘dumb masses’ was discovered within a few seconds and backfired.

    13. May God rest his soul in peace and take him to Him as a martyr.

      I have been watching formula1 snce 1994 full time. Maybe I missed 2-3 races while moving to different countries.

      Now I just had it and will NEVER WATCH a formula1 race for the rest of my live, even if schumacher is winning which is what glued me to the sport inthe first place.

      Shame on you formula1, FORMULA-KILL-4-MONEY.

      May God judge BE and Co justly. That is whithout mercy.

      Bye bye

      Ali Adams
      God > infinity

    14. Vettel is an idiot for these comments: “I don’t think it’s that bad. There is a lot of hype. It is not a big problem and I am happy once we start because then we can start worrying about the stuff that really matters like tyre temperatures, cars”.


      Perhaps it was taken out of context, but it doesn’t sit well when there are true human rights issues at large. Sebastian is a wonderful driver, but he needs to keep his mouth shut.

    15. correction on Hugo Boss

      @hugoboss not @houseoffraser
      gillette is @gilletteuk

    16. Keith Collantine, I have been rather disappointed by coverage and articles leading up to this grand prix, how it is focussing more so on the political element of Bahrain and not the Formula 1. This is a Formula 1 blog is it not? If I wanted to know more about the political unrest in Bahrain I would watch SBS World News, not visit my favourite Formula 1 blog. I agree it needs to be acknowledged as a factor for this weekend, but not dominating head lines and articles and all sorts.

      1. It’s a big issue and is race-related. I am sure there are more people interested in the Bahrain stories than not. You can always read around it, as it doesn’t seem to take up any space from regular articles. Also, Force India pulled out of a session because they encountered some of these stories for real- if that isn’t proof that they are relevant to F1 then I don’t know what is.

        1. @Prof Kirk while I hear what you’re saying and have said the same myself, this subject cannot be avoided. Being F1 followers, we follow F1, whether there is political, geographical, emotional or physical issue, we all have our opinions on it. That’s what a blogs about.

      2. Not interested? Don’t read it. It’s not as if this happens very often at all, thankfully.

      3. I guess what your saying is you only care for Formula 1 which is fair enough…but the Bahrain grand prix is in Bahrain and it was given the green light despite the current situation over there. I assume you supported the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix ?> then we wouldnt be reading all these articles on the political unrest in Bahrian :( Im sure racing fans would have been fed up with all the political unrest in Europe 1939 dominating the headlines but thats another story

        Dont worry mate it will all be over tommorow for all us poor Formula 1 fans outside Bahrain…just hang in there and enjoy the race

      4. If you read the comments over the last few days, you’ll see that most who comment – whatever their feelings about the politics – have wanted to talk about it.
        If you want to ignore the politics, you don’t have to read about it. Expecting everyone else to ignore it is a little unreasonable.

    17. This death would off happen with-out Formula 1 Being there. Its a Laugh this is. Keith Collantine what are you trying to get outta this? Tyring to get some badges for your journalist career?. This is why journalists are the SCUM of the earth Turning a sporting event into a political event. The Journalist couldnt care anymore then i do, they’re just there to get a story for the front page of the paper and to get on the 6 O clock news.

      1. Nonsense. There is no need to defend Keith. His blog is one of the best sites in F1 world and you are absolutely wrong in everything.

      2. Steady on son. Why don’t you channel that rage and go and get a job as a journalist so you can right the wrongs you see in a way that matters.

      3. Mr. Collantine has run this site as a labor of love for many years now… He is one of the most neutral, factual F1 reporters out there. Like Alex said, he certainly doesn’t need anyone’s defense.

      4. Turning a sporting event into a political event

        How is anyone still thinking that?
        Taking Unified F1 to Bahrain is as political as it gets. And show’s support for the Bahrain Monarchy.

      5. This is why journalists are the SCUM of the earth

        I prefer this (a free press) to any government’s official press release.

        This isn’t about politics anyway, unless your talking about the corporate politics of F1. It’s about basic human rights.

        1. And to sadly add, the people of Bahrian have no say in their politics, or their human rights.

      6. And if he avoided the subject and stayed completely silent about it, I’m sure you’d start harping on about how ignorant he’s being.

      7. @matt2208

        This death would [have] happen[ed] with-out Formula 1

        Prove it.

        I’ve already explained my point of view on this, that the race has been politicised by those running it:

        The Bahrain Grand Prix: A matter of conscience

        My point of view will be be altered in any way by cheap shots like yours.

        1. @matt2208 Maybe the death would have happened without F1, but without F1 you have never noticed it.

    18. Here is a very good article about the Bahrain race from today’s New York Times:


      1. Haven’t you noticed how the four biggest controversies in Formula 1 have all happened in the past few years?

        1)We saw six cars race at Indianapolis in 2005.
        2) McLaren were caught using Ferrari’s technical data in 2007.
        3) Flavio Braitore and Renault were prosecuted over the Singapore Grand Prix race-fixing scandal.
        4) And now we’ve got Formula 1 racing admist mass civilian uprisings agaisnt the people funding the Grand Prix.

        That’s hardly a glowing track record, is it? Honeslty, I’m suprised Formula 1 managed to go through 2010 and 2011 without a major controversy to its name. Oh, but for the days when the biggest mid-season furore was over the FIA doing a backflip on the legality of a new car part, or the storm gathering over team orders …

        1. Who is Flavio Braitore?

          1. I don’t know how long you’ve been following Formula 1, so I’ll give you a quick run-down. If you already know this, I apologise.

            Briatore was team principal of Renault, before they changed their name to Lotus. He filled the same role that Martin Whitmarsh and Ross Brawn do at McLaren and Mercedes, before the FIA banned him for life for his role in the Singapore incident. At the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, he told Nelson Piquet Jnr. to crash his car on a certain lap: after team-mate Alonso had pitted, but before everyone else did. This would bring out the safety car, and the rules at the time prevented cars from pitting when the safety car was out. Therefore, everyone would pit as soon as the safety car came in, and Alonso would lead the race. Alonso went on to win. Piquet claimed that Briatore (who was also his manager) held his contract hostage, telling him that if he did not crash, his contract for the 2009 season would not be renewed. Piquet lost his seat in the middle of the 2009 season, and told the FIA about the race-fixing. The FIA prosecuted Briatore for cheating, banning him for life (you can read a full account here). His ban was overturned by a French civil court, but he is persona non grata in the paddock. No team will employ him.

            Also, I mis-spelled his name. It is “Flavio Briatore”, not “Flavio Braitore”. I got the ‘i’ and the ‘a’ in ‘Briatore” around the wrong way.

            1. Thanks for the long explanation but you could have just said you meant Briatore
              I alredy knew the rest

    19. Here is my thoughts on this protestor (and every other protestor that has been killed), and I know this is not going to be a popular opinion but I don’t care.

      If that protestor ever threw a petrol-bomb or in someway attacked the police or peoples property then he deserved to be shot and killed. Go to the USA or England or any other 1st World country and try to murder the police officers there with petrol-bombs and you can be certain that those police officers will shoot to kill also.

      How come the media be it F1 media or World media isn’t showing the videos like this that show the protestors for what they are, Domestic Terrorist.

      Video of the Supposed “Good Guys” running over a downed Police Officer.

      Video of the Supposed “Good Guys” attempting to murder Police Officers with Petrol-Bombs. Specially 1:45 on

      Video of the Supposed “Good Guys” not doing what Good Guys should be doing & instead attacking Unarmed Police Officers.

      How come the media doesn’t show those kind of videos? How come the F1 Media and teams aren’t standing up and saying “We don’t support nor condone those Protestors Terrorist Actions?

      As I said try that in the USA or the UK or any other 1st world country (specially what the Protestors Terrorist are doing in that 2nd video) and see what the police do to ya.

      Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that there aren’t cases where the Police have done wrong, however the vast majority of the Protestors are nowhere near as innocent/peaceful as they (along with the media) are trying to make the world believe. The second you go from Protestor to Terrorist is the second where you pick up some sort of weapon and attempt to harm a Police Officer, Property or other Government official & that is the second in time where IMHO it’s 100% alright for the police to start using deadly force on you.

      The Protestors had the perfect opportunity this weekend to get their message out to the world in a way that would truly make them look like the “Good Guys” they claim to be. But instead of staging actual thought out planned peaceful protest they had to go around throwing petrol-bombs and attacking the police as well as those who don’t 150% agree with them. That’s not the kind of attention those protestors needed nor probaly wanted but for whatever reason they’re too stupid to realize that, and now instead of the headlines reading “Protestors Chant for Change” they basically read “Terrorist that want to control the country, attempt to kill F1 team members”….. Well they would read that if the media would have some integrity, but “Integrity” and “World Media” aren’t two terms that go well together anymore it’s all about “Agenda & Ratings”.

      1. … But what do you expect? It’s at best an angry mob, this whole debacle wouldn’t be an issue if there weren’t serious problems with how the country is run in the first place.

        1. Is it a serious problem with the way the country is run or is it a problem with some that the other “branch” of the main religion of the country is in power instead of the branch the majority of Protestors support…?

    20. The real problem with F1’s image….

      Is that people are talking about F1’s image… It’s not about F1’s image anymore.

    21. We have an FIA who sanctioned the use of slogans “UniF1ed = one nation in celebration”, a slogan that was propose and run from February. This is clearly in breach of article 1 of the FIA statute.

      What if the situation in Bahrain were different? What if the al Khalifas had abdicated, if a democratic government was formed, reforms had been introduced, freedom was freely available and the race was promoted with the UNIF1ED slogan? Would people still be criticising the FIA for not taking action against it?

      Ecclestone is under criminal investigation around the acquisition of the rights for F1 and sale to CVC. $1m a year to buy them from his mate head of the FIA. He is a present trying to sell these rights for $10billion.

      Are you sure you’re not confusing that with the Gerhard Gribkowsky case? Ecclestone was granted immunity from prosecution, and testified that he was not bribing Gribkowsky, but being shaken down by him.

      The bullying tactics over the Concorde Agreements are a matter of historical fact, and are happening again this year.

      So, because you disagree with terms being offered to the teams, and because the teams readily agreed to them, they are being bullied? Can you back this claim up with anything? Have you seen a draft of the new Concorde Agreement? Have you spoken to Martin Whitmarsh or Christian Horner or Ross Brawn about it?

      This is a perfect example of something that I’ve been saying all week: that people accuse the FIA or Bernie of being corrupt simply because they disagree with the decisions made.

      It is our right to comment. It is our right to expect fairness and justice within our sport. It is our duty to speak out.

      But it is not your place to accuse people – as you have with Bernie in particular – of what amounts to serious criminal activity without a shred of proof.

      Get down off your cross. The rest of us need the wood.

      1. Bernie is smug little turd who’ll do anything for a buck (give or take a million). But then again you’ve repeatedly demonstrated your quite unexplainable insistence to rationalise away anything and everything he does.

        Get down off your cross. The rest of us need the wood.

        Great line – just as conceited as Bernie and totally unrelated to anything being said. Well done.

    22. “The decision to allow Breivik to enter Formula 1 is ‘not about the money’, according to F1 boss Bernard Ecclestone. ‘Anders Breivik is entered into Formula 1. It’s all scheduled,’ Mr Ecclestone said. ‘And although I essentially own, run and completely control the sport, I can’t do anything about that. It’s up to the teams.’

      Excuse me while i vomit.

      1. copy an pasted it but that wasnt there

        Anoumous must be warming up

        1. This isn’t Anonymous. It’s Sniff Petrol, a magazine that parodies the motoring world, and they’re well-known for being brutally snarky (at the best of times); read through some of their other articles, and you’ll see what I mean.

          Anders Behring Breivik is not joining Formula 1. Sniff Petrol is simply saying that Formula 1 going to Bahrain and accepting money from the rulers while those same rulers crack down on pro-democracy protests is the same as letting a mass murdered – like Breivik – into Formula 1 and disregarding his crimes.

          1. phew, thought i was seeing things.

            1. lol, reminds me of a article i read ages ago about Webbers chin being the front wing areo device. same stuff different website.

            2. I admit that I’m surprised by your initial reaction. If you know Anders Behring Breivik well enough to express outrage at the idea of him joining Formula 1, then you would have to know that he’s going to spend the rest if his days locked up in prison.

    23. From the way i see it, F1 is giving these people the chance to make their problems known to the world.
      If F1 wasn’t there everything would still be the same i.e. people would still be protesting and nobody would know or care.
      Most of the people that are so “outraged” by F1 “supporting the system” wouldn’t care for the issues if it wasn’t for F1 racing there. Even last year when the GP was cancelled, there was 2 or 3 days of discussions and then it died down. Where were all these outraged people during the last 12 months?
      So, i see this as not a bad thing but as something that could help these people. Once again it’s all about the negative side of the situation that makes the headlines.

      Clearly the brand F1 was ripped a new one by approving that “UnF1ed” poster and should not have happened.

      Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

    24. http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7796788/lewis-hamilton-vs-ed-miliband.thtml

      Lewis Hamilton vs Ed Miliband FRASER NELSON 4:53pm
      Every so often, British sportsmen are prevailed
      upon not to go to certain countries, in protest at
      some usually-hideous policy. Now it’s the turn of
      our racing drivers. Yvette Cooper said on Question
      Time last night that, at the very least, Jenson Button
      and Lewis Hamilton should pull out of the Formula One race this weekend. Ed Miliband wants the race
      to be cancelled. What baffles me is that the racing
      drivers should be seen as so controversial, whereas
      (so far as I can tell) neither Cooper nor Miliband has
      had anything to say about the British government
      approving the sale of arms to Bahrain long after its uprising started in Feb 2011. Here is a selection of what the UK government cleared for export, in a
      country where five died of torture (pdf, p219):
      1) Gun silencers
      2) Weapons sights
      3) Rifles
      4) Artillery
      5) Components for military training aircraft
      6) Naval guns
      There were no Labour quotes in the Guardian

      A lot of people should just keep quiet.
      And what in the name of the heavens has this got to do wth Hamilton.

      1. I’m assuming he said Button and Hamilton because they are British. If that’s the case, what about Paul Di Resta?!

        1. They probably only mentioned Button and Hamilton as they are the most high profile British drivers. Unless they were fans of F1 or had been briefed by their staff I wouldn’t be surprised if the only current F1 drivers they could name would be the World Champions.

          It is typical of politicians like Ed Milibandwagon to call for teams and drivers to boycott the race once they are already there.

    25. Interesting point on the Force India TV snub that wasn’t. Yes, Force India have a whiskey logo on the side of their cars and I would believe that was actually the reason for not showing them at all during qualifying if it wasn’t for the following:

      1. They showed the cars, quite a lot in fact, in FP1.
      2. Force India also had them on the side of their cars (even more prominently in fact) in 2010.
      3. In 2010, McLaren were sponsored by (the even more well known) Johnnie Walker, and they didn’t remove the logos from their cars and driver overalls.
      4. Bahrain isn’t a dry state (like Saudi Arabia or Kuwait), but is like here in the UAE, it is legal to drink in certain places with a licence.

      Sounds like complete drivel to me.

      1. Sounds like it was a cover to me so they could punish them for FP2. Somebody commented yesterday who claimed to have worked at FOM for 10 years and to still know the people working there- supposedly they were told not to film Force India because of their alcohol sponsorship. If true, it confirms that it was intentional, and if it was intentional it is hard to see alcohol as a legitimate reason.

        1. @matt90 – Alcohol is a very legitimate reason. The VJM05 has very clear Whyte & Mackey sponsorship, and Bahrain is well-known as a “dry” country. No alcohol is consumed. Even the champagne for the podium celebrations is replaced by carbonated pomegranate juice. The teams frequently amend their alcohol sponsorship for the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi races the way they do tobacco branding in countries where cigarette sponsorship is banned. Take, for example, this picture of Jenson Button, which was taken at Abu Dhabi last year. The centre of the band across the top of his visor usually carries the Johnnie Walker label (take a look at the pictures from practice at Interlagos last year – I’ve already used up my two links), but for Abu Dhabi it was changed to “Mariana Hdey – Famous for a Weekend” (I gather Button sold the space for charity).

          As I said, Force India clearly have Whyte & Mackey branding on their car in Bahrain. Given the established precedent of changing alcohol branding for the races in the Islamic world, and Bahrain’s reputation as a “dry” country, you cannot deny that, at the very least, the idea that the television directors were asked not to show the Force India cars because of their logos is plausible.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys It is, if you ignore the previous posts showing prominent sponsorship in the past, and that according to the round-up story Force India were told they were fine to run with full branding. I think Bahrain has better things to concern itself with than suddenly employing a no-alcohol policy, which is why it seems like a strange reason to me.

            Also, I don’t think Bahrain is a dry country.

            1. Although I know that alcohol is viewed stricter there.

            2. In fact, looking at it you seem have ignored the post I was commenting on, as that addresses every point you just made and gives what I said context.

            3. Although I do realise that McLaren have removed their limited (compared to last year) Johnie Walker branding for this year, which gives back the alcohol argument some of its weight. As somebody else said, it would be good to see FP1 footage to see how prominently Force India featured on the feed.

            4. I think Bahrain has better things to concern itself with than suddenly employing a no-alcohol policy, which is why it seems like a strange reason to me.

              To you it seems strange. But remember, the Al Khalifas are calling the shots here, and for the past two weeks, they’ve all but denied that there is even a protest movement. They want the world to see Bahrain as a stable country, and their requests will reflect that. So if they asked for the Force Indias not to be shown because of their alcohol branding, Bernie would likely have acqueised.

            5. @prisoner-monkeys @matt90 It was in anticipation of the rebuttal of my argument I included pictures from the 2010 race which clearly show the alcohol sponsorship on the sides of the Force India and on the overalls of Lewis Hamilton. :)

              And, in my experience, Bahrain isn’t completely dry (like Saudi and Kuwait), it is legal to drink in designated areas (like hotels) with a licence (much the same as the UAE).

            6. If they want to portray Bahrain as stable, they massively misjudged it. Out of nowhere requesting that a team isn’t shown on the world feed, when it just happens that that very team made a fool of you by raising safety concerns, is a sure way to make people both suspicious and also think they have their priorities wrong. If it was actually because of alcohol, it was an incredibly misjudged move, if alcohol was a cover then it is corruption. I hope it’s the former, but for the reasons I’ve said it just seems suspect.

            7. @matt90 – But to their mind, they haven’t misjudged it. I know that sounds insane, but they don’t see thing the way we do.

              The best way to illustrate this is with an unrelated example. Anders Behring Breivik (he’s in the news). He believes that everything he did was justified. His entire defence is that the massacre of 77 unarmed teenagers was necessary. Now, we know that to be madness. But Breivik believes everything he says, and that’s what makes him so dangerous.

              It’s the same in Bahrain. The ruling elite believe that their country is stable, despite all appearances to the contrary. They may not be possessed of the same fervour as Breivik, but they still believe. They have conviction, one of the most difficult and dangerous ideas on the spectrum of human emotion. The same unquantifiable force that can be used by the people of Libya and Egypt and Tunisia to rise up and drive out their oppressors can also be harnessed by the oppressors themselves – as we have seen in Syria and Bahrain – to force back the tide gathering before them.

              The decisions they make may not make sense to us, but because of their convictions, those decisions to make sense to the government.

          2. @matt90This is the picture I was talking about with the clear Johnnie Walker labelling in Brazil.

    26. A few comments have been on the lines that this is about sport and don’t mix politics with it and if we wanted to read about politics, we would pick up a regular newspaper. But, with humans, politics is always a part of everything! And how long are people going to think that we are not going to be interested in politics – till they are the ones who are killed by a brutal dictatorial regime sitting in their houses while watching F1! Someone else is fighting for his/her rights – you don’t want/have to fight and have your head in the sand – that’s all ok! But don’t stop or dissuade other from doing it or talking about it… Keith is doing a brilliant job of reporting what’s related to F1 – not that he needs my stamp! We cannot dissociate F1 with the environment its happening in…And we cannot dissociate our lives from the reasons leading to what’s happening in Bahrain! It’s our incessant need for oil & gas that gives the mass-murderer regime the incentives, the money and political support from various governments in the world!
      So, stop whining and if you don’t like it… go to BBC or Sky’s coverage for the weekend and you will hear none of the stuff you don’t like!

      1. This is the problem. People like myself do not mind discussion about this. Discourse is good.

        What is annoying in the extreme is when people try to make others do what they want ie protest. I don’t want to protest I don’t want my enjoyment of F1 lessened by a situation I do not believe is a real and serious problem. I also think this is not the appropriate forum.

        Those against Bahrain authorities commenting here wanted the race cancelled and we now also have the predictions competition cancelled. This is the annoying part. You want to protest, sacrifice, go on a hunger strike, be my guest, good for you but please don’t try to force your practices be they religious or otherwise on to me.

        That and most of those complaining cant think consistently. The Maclaren team having is success being funded by the Bahrain royals the very same evil people who own the Bahrain GP. So go take up the chant Mclaren is funded by blood money.

    27. @ianparkesf1 reports eccleston joking – suggests another race in Bahrain this year

    28. Todt shouldn’t have turned up in the paddock- he should have gone out into the streets of Bahrain and had a look at what was really happening and then tell us all that it’s fine for the race to go ahead.

    29. From the commentary box:
      Berni loosing grip (reality), now on marbles (laying) and straight in to a wall (booed by the millions).

    30. McLaren has reportedly been offered a share of the sport when it gets floated on the Singapore stock exchange.

      1. I don’t know enough about this to have any idea whether it’s good or bad, but if Ferrari and Red Bull are there it’s only right that McLaren are too. I guess really it should be all teams involved though.

        1. No doubt all of the teams will be there eventually. I’d say Bernie is simply prioritising them, approaching them in the order that he feels is best for the sport.

          The more important part of the article is the section that speculates that McLaren would only get a share of the sport if they agreed to let the race in Bahrain happen. As the biggest team still in FOTA, they have a lot of pull with the other FOTA members.

      2. Does that mean that the Bahrain royals will own a part of F1 entire then.

        1. If it is true, then they will make profits on it. Technically, they will own a part of the sport – but only a small part. They own just 40% of McLaren, and McLaren are only likely to get a small share of the sport.

    31. Mike Enright
      22nd June 2012, 18:59

      Do we want Maldonado ‘necklaced’?
      How fireproof is that curtain fronting the Valencia tyre-barrier that he impacted ?

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