Start, Bahrain Grand Prix, 2010

Ecclestone considering Bahrain for season opener

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Start, Bahrain Grand Prix, 2010In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone considers making the Bahrain Grand Prix the F1 season opener despite further protests.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Bahrain protests grow as Bernie Ecclestone considers city for F1 start (The Guardian)

“Bernie Ecclestone is considering launching next year’s Formula One season in Bahrain. As tension built here on Friday, with an estimated 10,000 pro-democracy demonstrators gathering at Budaiya Highway in the afternoon and more serious trouble expected overnight, Ecclestone’s stance could be seen as provocative.”

ITV news crew forced out of Bahrain as it reported on anti-F1 clashes

“A British TV crew has been forced to leave Bahrain by the country’s authorities as they reported on the violent clashes taking place in the build-up to the Grand Prix.”

Bahrain Grand Prix: FIA & FOM joint statement (FIA)

“The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and Formula One Management (FOM) wish to jointly confirm their belief that the Bahrain GP should go ahead this weekend, following assurances from the local promoter and the authorities that security, their responsibility, will be guaranteed for all participants.”

Ferrari, Lotus not getting carried away (Autosport)

Kimi Raikkonen: “It didn’t feel particularly good today. I think there are improvements to be done but the lap time was pretty OK.”

McLaren question Hamilton’s version of events (Reuters)

“Lewis knew he shouldn’t have been in our garage in the first place, just as all team personnel know they shouldn’t enter rival teams’ garages.”

Webber dismisses F1 exit rumours (BBC)

“People are putting two and two together and getting a bit more than they should do.”

Seeing is not believing (ESPN)

“Most of us sitting at home don?t have either that knowledge or, dare it be said, the wish to see the 56 laps as a game of high-speed chess. We would quite like to witness a race.”


Comment of the day

@TheBladeRunner on Lewis Hamilton’s ejection from the McLaren garage in Jerez:

Let me give you a scenario:

You run a sales company and your top performer has left your business to work for a rival in the same industry. This is despite your considerable efforts to retain his services. 4 months later he wanders into your company?s sales room whilst his former colleagues are busy working and wants to ??shoot the breeze??. What do you do?

Anybody with half a brain or more would do what Sam Michael did and ask them to leave!

I admire Lewis as a driver. He is massively talented and has always been exciting to watch. As a person though, the more he reveals himself the more immature and frustrating I find him. The fact that he cannot see the reason why Michaels reacted the way he did says more about Lewis than anybody else.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jacob!

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On this day in F1

Michael Schumacher won the San Marino Grand Prix for Ferrari ten years ago today. But it was a sombre result for him and brother Ralf, who finished fourth, as their mother had passed away the night before.

The pair had started from the front row and the Williams held the lead early. But the elder Schumacher’s three-stop fuel strategy meant he was able to jump into the lead without overtaking his brother.

Kimi Raikkonen claimed second ahead of Rubens Barrichello.

Here’s Schumacher taking pole position for the race by 14 thousandths of a second after running wide at the Variante Alta chicane:

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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  • 51 comments on “Ecclestone considering Bahrain for season opener”

    1. Whatever was the reason for Bahrain opening the seasons of 2006 and 2010, is it happening again next year? Some sort of sporting event in Australia if I’m not mistaken?

      1. Australia 2006 was moved because of the Commonwealth games, but 2010 was because Bahrain was willing to pay a considerable amount of money for the privilege of hosting the opening race.

        1. Ah, I thought it was the same reason and it was something hosted every four years. Thanks for clearing it up.

        2. Exactly! Bernie is opening his pockets again rather than thinking of the fans!

    2. Well, if they open with Bahrain at least they get everyone’s least favourite race out of the way early.

      1. They should not even be in Bahrain. There are many more countries and race tracks all drivers and fans would like a GP.

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          20th April 2013, 3:01

          Not as simple as throwing a dart at a dart board covered in track names that drivers and fans like.

      2. Your attitude is the reason why there is troubles in Bahrain to start with.

        As for favourite or not, it seems that deciding factor is how well your driver/team is done in that race. As for my personal, last year Bahrain was by far a better race than last year’s Monaco or Korea.

        1. Your attitude is the reason why there is troubles in Bahrain to start with.

          Huh? My views about Bahrain International Circuit have some causative effect on the political situation there? Who knew!

        2. I think the reason there are troubles in Bahrain is that the majority is fed up with being ruled by an unelected group of wealthy, elite minority royals actually.

      3. Speak for yourself.

      4. Its funny how the Circuit CEO mentions

        “It gives us the chance to have the teams here longer, there is more anticipation and more unknowns.”

        when I get a very clear image that not many in the teams are all that happy to be there even for this weekend, let alone for a longer time to include a 3-4 day test before the event.

        And as for uncertainties, isn’t that exactly what people are afraid of right now especially there? Just imagine when would that race be staged, and when would we have the test – it would be the start of March, only a fortnight after the anniversary of the brutal crackdowns in 2010 (feb 14), a time which is logically the focus of renewed unrest each year.
        In those circumstances having the teams there for the best of 2 weeks really does not feel like the right way to go, even apart from feeling bad about going from a fan favorite to start the season to a track that provided us the 2010 race best remembered for being totally forgettable.

    3. I think that ITV news story pretty much confirms the Bahraini government are just trying to disguise their wrongdoings and making it out to be as if they are a civilised country which is far from the truth. There should be nothing to hide, which just strengthens the claims that F1 shouldn’t be in Bahrain and giving the Sheiks a propaganda victory.

      If they don’t even allow news crews to do their job, why the hell are they allowed an F1 race? That just seems wrong to me…

      1. I’d remind you that the British government banned the public from demonstrating at Thatcher’s funeral and pre-emptively raided the homes of many people under bogus “public safety” assumptions so that their tv victory parade could take place.

        If you think that bahrain is all that different to many publicly “clean” governments, you’re wrong. The only difference is what your local media conglomerate chooses to report.

        1. There’s still a pretty big difference. In 2015, the British public get to eject their government as a matter of course if they so choose. The Bahraini people have no such guarantee, as the government there is a de facto dictatorship – the Prime Minister is unelected, being appointed by the King (Who himself has wide-ranging executive and military powers, including the ability to appoint the upper parliamentary house and dissolve the elected lower house), and has been in power for decades.

        2. That’s because demonstrating at a funeral is disgusting. Comparing the two seems bizarre to me.

        3. @hairs – I strongly disagree with that sentiment. Protesting somebody’s funeral, no matter how much you disliked them, is disgusting. The very fact they had to implement security measures at a funeral puts shame on the public, not the government.

        4. I’d remind you that the British government banned the public from demonstrating at Thatcher’s funeral

          That’s simply not true mate, several groups and many individuals protested at Thatchers funeral in several different ways. Google “Thatcher funeral protest” and you’ll find loads of reports about people protesting at the funeral and in other parts of the country.

          and (the UK government) pre-emptively raided the homes of many people under bogus “public safety” assumptions so that their tv victory parade could take place.

          Did they ?
          I’ve searched for any arrests under Section 5 of the Public Order Act on the day of Thatchers funeral and all I can find is threats that the Police may use those powers but I can’t find any reports of actual arrests or dawn raids, I’m not saying they didn’t happen but I’d find it strange if they did and weren’t reported – when Section 5 powers were used at the Olympics and the Royal wedding they were reported within a couple of hours.
          3 people were arrested for spray-painting a message of protest on a building near St Paul’s but as they’d committed a crime that would always result in their arrest I don’t think that’s such a big deal. If you know of any I’d appreciate it if you could post some links as it’s something I would be interested in reading.

          We had a Thatcher’s dead party in Liverpool and the only people I saw the Police arrest were some scallies who were very drunk and beating up people for no reason and a few “anarchists” who were attempting to damage the Town Hall. The rest of us were left alone and allowed to celebrate/protest to our heart’s content.

    4. That was a stupidly good lap by Leimer, beating all of the championship contenders. I had honestly not seen that sort of performance from him ever, though I don’t watch all of GP2. Canamasas is a complete idiot though, like with any driver who performs such a stunt.

      I do find it funny ITV even bother covering F1 now, I don’t check their website regarding F1 information, and I highly doubt many people here use it as their first source either. Personally I use Twitter for silly rumours, this forum for realistic rumours, and the main page for this website for confirmed news. I don’t even know whether ITV have a crew to give insight into F1 or not.

      I agree with the COTD, and to a degree that’s why I think Lewis left McLaren. To grow up a bit. This doesn’t happen overnight, and hopefully he will realise his slightly opportunistic move. Not to mention Malaysia ;)

    5. Bahrain is one of the most boring, bland circuits there ever was, and in a country in political turmoil without even a tiny drop of F1 history, it doesn’t deserve to be the opening round of the F1 season.

      1. Nah, I think it’s good for F1 to have diversity in racetrack surroundings – forests (Spa), street circuits (Singapore, Monaco), deserts (Sakhir, Abu Dhabi).

        without even a tiny drop of F1 history

        Silverstone, Nurburgring, Spa, Monza, Monaco didn’t have any drop of history either before they started hosting races.
        China and Russia also have some problems with human rights not being respected bu there’s no buzz surounding racing in those countries.

    6. Putting the human rights issues aside, the only thing putting Bahrain as the season opener would do is suck all the atmosphere and excitement out of the start of a new season. Australia is perfect as a curtain raiser in my view – great fans, beautiful backdrop and an interesting circuit that isn’t a Tilkedrome in the middle of a barren desert where the stands are as lifeless as the dunes.
      Australia ensures that F1 comes back with a bang, with usually entertaining races and unpredictable weather. I’d miss Melbourne not being the season opener almost as much as I’d miss Interlagos not being finale.

      1. +1 Exactly my thoughts. If you go to the Australian GP, the buzz and feeling of excitement is second to none. What buzz is there in Bahrain? None. Except the buzz of flies and the feeling of government brutality.

      2. +1! I’d like even better if we had Belgium, but that might be slightly inconvenient weather-wise

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          20th April 2013, 1:28

          @vettel1 I disagree with you this time my friend, even if Belgium were weather-friendly, I would not move it to the start. It’s like the championship needs that spice in the 3/4 of the calendar!!!

          1. Yeah its nice having Spa right after the summer break, when withdrawal symptoms are becoming unbearable and you’re feverishly itching for a race.

          2. @omarr-pepper – fair enough, I’ll agree to that ;)

      3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        20th April 2013, 1:33

        +1 (we need that +1 button right?)

      4. I know a lot of people criticise the Bahrain circuit for being in the middle of a desert and looking bland on television, but I honestly don’t think it’s that much of a problem. If anything, the backdrop is one of the circuit’s very few strengths. There’s something strangely beautiful about seeing brightly-coloured racing cars zip around in so natural a setting with a muted colour palette; you get all sorts of dramatic shots, like this one.

        Compare that to the alternatives: circuits like Shanghai and Buddh, which are perpetually blanketed in smog. Or every single circuit which runs past a body of water, and ultimately under up being interchangeable. Or Abu Dhabi, with the pulsating multicoloured hotel that looks like it a web spun by a giant radioactive spider. Bahrain might not have the appeal of a forest circuit like Spa or Monza, or a city vista like Monaco or Montreal, or the glittering lights of Singapore. But when you put aside the race’s poor reputation among fans and take the time to look at the pictures, I think you’ll find the criticism of Bahrain as being a circuit in the middle of a bland and lifeless desert to be a poor one. I honestly think that the circuit produces some of the best Formula 1 photography of the season.

      5. Thank you, sir.

    7. top lap from Michael

    8. Ecclestone loves to stir doesn’t he? If I had my way, Bahrain wouldn’t even be on the calendar. Not because of the human rights issues, but because it’s a dull track in a dull place with a dull atmosphere. It’s never done well on F1 Fanatic’s Rate a Race, and there’s a reason for that. It lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. The opening race of a season is important; it draws in new fans and creates a buzz for the oncoming season. Australia has done the job well for a long time now.

      Besides, I’ve almost had it up to here hearing about Bahraini protesters in the week leading up to the Bahrain GP. I’d go insane if it’s all we talked about during pre-season testing.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        20th April 2013, 1:39

        Besides, I’ve almost had it up to here hearing about Bahraini protesters in the week leading up to the Bahrain GP. I’d go insane if it’s all we talked about during pre-season testing.

        It happens everywhere. I mean, when there’s lack of news, you stick to the one which pinches the most.

      2. it’s a dull track in a dull place with a dull atmosphere.

        You’re making me feel sleepy….

    9. “Lewis knew he shouldn’t have been in our garage in the first place, just as all team personnel know they shouldn’t enter rival teams’ garages.”

      Hard not to agree. Lewis can meet team members at lunch or whatever, not during a test inside the garage. What on earth was he thinking?

      1. Yea, he might have stolen all of McLarens secrets, then where would Merc be now.

    10. Considering how his replacement is working out Michael should have greeted Hamilton with an ice cold beer and a hearty hello.

    11. If the Bahrain Grand Prix is gettting underway under such terribly difficult and controversial circumstances, F1 is better off not going there.
      With two new races next year(New Jersey, Sochi), and several more prospective ones lined up(Thailand, Mexico, Argentina, London), Ecclestone shouldn’t drop the European circuits with a vengeance..he should consider circuits like Bahrain and Korea.
      Having said that, I do think that there is no use bringing the various problems associated with this race on the week before it. We all knew we were going to Bahrain this year from a long time ago..protests by the British PMs should have been launched then. And F1 is not just a British sport, other countries should have voiced their concerns as well.
      Still the situation is better than last year. This year the protests are more specific against F1 itself, because the people believe it is an advertisement of the regime.
      FUN FACT: The popular opinion on this site is against this race, and for human rights, as it should be. However, the most popular team, McLaren, are largely owned by Mumtakalat, a company comprising of Bahraini sheikhs.

      1. Bahrain and Korea to stay. Thai 2015 and Mexico 2014 and just not sure about London and Argetntina but there are reports of Bernie buying Long Beach. Yamaha has called MotoGP to move away from Europe and add SE Asia and Amercia to the calendar. Europe will have 5 races in about 2015

        1. @william If Bernie wants a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, how about some races in Africa, to start with?

          1. @wsrgo – Cape Town said no while earlier this year there was a talk of a Morrocan Grand Prix.

          2. @wsrgo – Because there is nowhere in Africa that could sustain a race. It’s not a question of being unable to afford the race sanctioning fee; Africa as a whole lacks the infrastructure to have a race and to cope with the influx of spectators. The few countries that might be able to pull it off have serious social and political issues – Egypt has a fledgling government that at the worst of times is trying to avoid collapse from hour to hour; South Africa has widespread poverty and a proposed race has faced opposition from the public; whilst any country in western Africa (like Morocco, which does have a circuit) would be a target for al’Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

    12. I couldn’t think of a more boring place to open an F1 season that Bahrain.

    13. David not Coulthard (@)
      20th April 2013, 5:44

      To BE:
      Nee, dankejewell.
      Nein, danke.
      No, thank you.

      Anyway, I’m just wondering, would it be legal if all the teams agree to, and then actually do, retire to the garage as soon as lap 1 ends?

      After all, it was legal for Damon Hill to retire out of a certain Japanese race…:)

    14. Wow, Ferrari v10! Forgot how great the cars sounded back then. Schumacher’s driving back then was pure poetry, the car dancer elegantly to his commands back then, inch perfect! He has his detractors but there is no denying his class when you see something like that. Almost magical. I got goose bumps watching it.

    15. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      20th April 2013, 10:57

      Someone give Bernie his medicine!

    16. Those screaming V10s sounded fantastic!

    17. Who’s to say there will even be a Dictatorship in 2 years never-mind a grand prix. Bernie should just keep his trap shut, and stop politicking F1 for his own gain.

    18. Bahrain doesnt deserve to be a season opener. Fill up those grand stands first, create an athmosphere and then we can have look at this again. Melbourne beats Sakhir 100-0. If it wasnt just about money, nobody would even mention anything like this.

    19. Give me Australia as the start any day. At least it’s be a perfect start to the season.

    Comments are closed.