Ecclestone: Bahrain “stupid” to put on race

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2013In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says the Bahrain government is “stupid” to put on an F1 race because it serves as a target for protesters.


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Bernie Ecclestone strikes again with ‘stupid’ remark in Bahrain (The Guardian)

“We believe the government were in a way really stupid to put this race on [because] it’s a platform for people to use for protesting.”

Ecclestone calm despite violence (The Telegraph)

“The travel of journalists has been closely monitored by the authorities this week, with police patrol cars installed on every stretch of motorway, and the ITN team of five led by Omaar were last night ordered to leave Bahrain after trying to report on the violent clashes.”

Bahrain F1 race to go ahead amid tensions, protests (Reuters)

“Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman al-Khalifa said over 15,000 people visited the circuit on Friday and more were expected on Sunday, despite the unrest. He dismissed the suggestion the government was using the race to paper over human rights abuses.”

Q&A with Lotus?s Kimi Raikkonen (F1)

“I haven?t thought [2014] that yet – I feel good here. But yes, there are many things that are undecided and there is still a long way to go this season, so let?s see how things unfold. We will see pretty significant changes when teams switch to their 2014 car development – and then it will be interesting to see what is going on.”

Debris caused Hamilton’s tyre drama (Autosport)

“Pirelli’s conclusion is based upon its intial analysis of the tyre, along with the fact that Giedo van der Garde suffered a similar problem.”

Button: It was nice to make Q3 (Sky)

“I’ve been in Q3 at every race this year, which we definitely did not expect at the first race.”

Comment of the day

@Joshua-Mesh believes Massa’s alternative strategy will pay off:

I expect Massa to have to begin overtaking the top three once their tyres begin to drop off.

Alonso set his fastest qualifying time (Q1) on the hards, so it should only be a lap or two before Massa starts to catch them. Once they pit he will be in clean air and should be able to really make a challenge.

Alonso will want to get ahead of at least Vettel so that he?s not attacked by Massa early on. Considering Vettel is a fast starter, I expect him to stay ahead of Alonso. Rosberg is a bit of an unknown when it comes to starts.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Jim Clark won the non-championship Imola Grand Prix 50 years ago today. The race was held at the Autodromo di Castellaccio, which was later renamed the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, and held world championship races from 1980 to 2006.

Unusually no Ferraris started the race, John Surtees’ entry being withdrawn as it wasn’t ready. Jo Siffert finished second, his Lotus powered by BRM as opposed to Clark’s Climax engine, and Bob Anderson was third in a Lola.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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  • 52 comments on “Ecclestone: Bahrain “stupid” to put on race”

    1. Wait what? Bernie is winding us up now isn’t he?

      1. @spawinte Between this and the night race/first race rumors, I’m starting to think he’s putting significant pressure on Bahrain to pay more to keep the race on the calendar (and maybe even make it Race 1). He is gambling that Bahrain needs F1 more than F1 needs Bahrain – and in this case, he’d be right.

        1. i will go even further. He might be palnning to drop them from the calendar. There are some countries interested, and teams don’t want more than 20 races a year. He might be getting some pressure from cvc as well. When he starts talking like that, it’s bad news. He may be even upset because in 3 years thay are not able to fix the problem, and it’s starting to make f1 look bad.

          1. In one word: Thailand

      2. Reading further” off the record, I like stupid people that have lots of money”.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      21st April 2013, 2:02

      Wasn’t just yesterday that Bernie wanted Bahrain GP to be the season opener?

      Probably he just forgot what he said yesterday. He really needs to start walking in the streets with his adress on a badge.

      1. Exactly. It’s nonsense.

      2. I think he just sells the race to the highest bidder and then deals with all other stuff.

        1. Exactly. He clearly lives by the old adage that it is easier to obtain ratification than consent.

      3. I feel that people do not understand what Bernie meant by that.

        He says nothing like F1 should not be there.

        What he says, the way I understand it, is that the government is stupid to put on a race, if they want to repress the opposition, because it gives the opposition an advantage, a platform to protest.

        Which might be viewed as a good thing from a democratic point of view, although I do not know exactly what the opposition stand for.

        And what annoys me more is the people who are against the GP.
        Is it unsafe for the personnel? Some team personnel has said they feel much unsafer in Brasil, which is more than understandable given what has happened there in recent years to F1 TEAM PERSONNEL AND DRIVERS. And no one is against the Brasil GP.
        Secondly, are Bernie and his gang going around murdering people there? No, he is talking to both sides, as you can read in the interview.

        And finally, would anyone even know what and where Bahrain is if F1 would not go there? Would their problems of human rights be exposed? It is a good thing western journalists got thrown out, because that means that Bahrain will now be under much bigger microscope as a result of that.

        Sure, I am totally against any regime that can not even guarantee basic human rights, but I do not understand this attitude that sport has something to do with fundamental political views associated to the soil it is competed upon, people with that sort of opinions bomb marathons of countries they despise.
        And I don’t understand the attitude of:”I don’t want to hear about it, don’t go there, don’t talk about it, let them rot.” Sure, that will get things sorted…

    3. Didn’t know April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 21st in Bahrain…

    4. My reaction to Bernie

    5. My first COTD ^.^

      Although I was wrong. Alonso did not set his fastest lap of Q in Q1, although his time set on hards was still mighty quick!

      1. I have to say @joshua-mesh that I agree with you about massa’s strategy, but I think both vettel and rosberg will be worried about alonso at the start. The Ferrari has been quick off the start for quite some time now, and isn’t vettel starting in dirty side of the grid with quite a long run down to turn 1?

      2. I would expect a lesser version of what happend to Vettel in China for Massa, so he could make it on the podium but I don’t think he’ll be overtaking Vettel and Alonso unless that Ferrari is as mighty as it has been made out to be.

    6. I don’t get it. If it’s stupid from Bahrain to hold a race, then why do you go there, Bernie?

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        21st April 2013, 3:46

        Exactly my thoughts.

      2. Because they pay him money. Put simply it’s an auction.

        1. To quote Pink Floyd: “Money, it’s a hit; Don’t give me that Do goody good bull****” – basically, Bernie couldn’t care less about the moral aspect if he’s getting a nice fat paycheque!

          1. Come on, come on, listen to the money talk
            Come on come on, love me for the money
            Come on, come on, listen to the money talk

            1. Money talks, yeah, yeah

              Money talks, B.S. walks
              Money talks, come on, come on

      3. @kingshark: Bahrain outbids other bidders, come on Ferrari fan, up your game. lol.

      4. I’m guessing that there might be something in the race contracts that gives race organisers the power to decide whether or not a race will go ahead if a situation presents itself that demands a decision be made.

        It’s a bit like the Sky-BBC deal: Bernie was willing to move the broadcast deal to Channel 4, but in order for that to happen, the BBC had to fully give up the rights first. Until such tmie as they did, Bernie was powerless to do anything. Something similar might exist here, giving the organisers the power to cancel a race. For example, in the week before the Chinese Grand Prix, there were nearly a hundred confirmed cases of H7N9 influenza in Shanghai. Technically, there was nothing to prevent the race from going ahead (and ultimately, it did), but if organisers felt that the outbreak was serious enough, they could probably exercise some kind of clause in their contract with FOM cancelling the race without penalty. Such a clause would probably require both the organisers and FOM to agree to it, with FOM deferring to the organisers’ judgement, since FOM cannot always have people on the ground and in the know. In this case, the demonstrations would be seen as serious enough to justify exercising that clause – but it falls to the organisers to agree to it, FOM’s exercising of the clause would not be enough to prevent the race from going ahead.

        As we saw in Turkey a few years ago, the race organisers can get into serious trouble if they use the race to promote a political point of view. While the organisers in Bahrain have taken criticism for using the race to make political statements in the past, I seriously doubt this rule is limited to banning only the political point of view held by the organisers. Rather, while they are not to use the race for their own political statements, they are also responsible for seeing that the race is not used for other political statements, even ones as vehemently opposed as the protests.

      5. If Bernie thought it was *smart* to host a Grand Prix, there’d be one at Ricard. Bernie’s a buisnessman. He certainly knows that hosting a GP is a losing proposition for almost anybody that tries to do it in financial terms, because of the size of the fees he charges (Silverstone, which generally gets close to sell-out three day crowds, just about breaks even), so you’ve got to have other reasons for wanting to do it. For most places, those other reasons are that F1 is a form of advertising – but you can hardly say that Bahrain’s image is improved by hosting the race, can you? That’s why Bernie thinks it’s stupid. But he’s happy for them to continue to pay him colossal amounts of money for dubious gain, so F1 will continue to go there. Unless he gets a better offer.

      6. Because F1 gets a lot of publicity? :P

    7. Wow the grid penalty for Hamilton is really harsh if the damage to his gearbox was a result of a tyre failure due to a damage from something on the track. Surely that would be considered accident damage and thus result in no penalty. Its not his fault nor is it the teams fault.

      The penalty is BS

      1. Unless the team decided to change the gearbox as a precaution. After all, the debris caused damage to the tyre and the suspension – it didn’t directly affect the gearbox; rather, the gearbox damage seems to have been caused as a result of the suspension damage.

      2. A gearbox change penalty is a gearbox change penalty – Hamilton is not the first to need a new unit after damage to the car, and I don’t think the circumstances were ever considered. If they didn’t give him a penalty it would be a farce.

      3. @theoddkiwi rain is beyond teams and drivers control aswell, yet sometimes they aquaplain and they lose qualis and races.

        As @guilherme says, a penalty is a penalty. If the gearbox can’t be used anymore, then 5 places back for replacing it, regardless of the problem that made the original one useless.

        People have lost races because of debris on track, and they don’t get a mail from FIA saying: “dude, we’re sorry, we should’ve cleaned up, so here, take 25 points with you”.

        It’s impressive how many “the gearbox penalty is a farce” messages we get every time someone from a top team is penalized.

      4. But if a driver has an accident in a race they get a free gearbox change for the next race. So why cant that apply if a driver has an accident in before Qualifying?
        Think about how many times teams have garaged a car so they don’t finish the race just so they can change the gearbox, granted they only do that if points are off the table.

        But really the gearbox rule should only apply if it was a gearbox failure.

      5. A gear box change is a gear box change.
        How big should be the debris on your rule?
        Any team could argue that gearbox isn`t strong enough, and theirs (probably hevier) but bulletproof.
        As gear box design is free, you can`t argue it wasn`t your fault why broken…

      6. @theoddkiwi The penalty isnt BS. When a driver retires crashes out of a race he is given a free change bcz he lost points in the race. So he is the ultimate loser. Suppose u do the same in quali u give him an unfair advantage- having set a good time on a potentially weaker and lighter gbox and then starting a race with a new one.

      7. Life ins’t always fair is it?
        Sometimes you get punished for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

        If he didn’t get a gearbox penalty, people would start “getting punctures” and saying they cause a gearbox failure so they shouldn’t be penalized.

      8. It is unfair as the gearbox failed due to a knock-on effect of something else failing.

        However, aside from the fact that it would be difficult to judge when a gearbox failure was caused by “external factors”, teams should be making a gearbox that covers for all likely eventualities. If a team wishes to make it as light as possible and compromise strength, then that is their decision to take that risk. Design/spec of the integrity of a car’s parts is an exercise in risk management. Mercedes obviously (and others no doubt!) believed that the vibrations induced by a failed tyre are unlikely to be frequent enough to warrant a sturdier/heavier gearbox which would compromise the car.

        I think Pastor Maldonado got a 5 place grid drop in Monaco last year after clouting his gearbox off of Perez’s car. Now it could be argued that the presence of Perez’s car was an “external factor”.

        Although it should also be noted that Maldonado did attack Perez with his vehicle so probably deserved it…

      9. I dont think it could be avoided. If they changed the rule so that you get a free gearbox change if involved in a crash or some secondary damage caused the damage to the gearbox, then teams would stage incidents to get free gearboxes, placing their drivers safety at risk.

    8. What a hypocrite if I ever saw one!

    9. RoadCourseRinger
      21st April 2013, 5:35

      Someone give Bernie a Twitter account, and quick. Hilarious.

    10. Bernie, Bernie, Bernie. Most of us have a crazy old uncle that says inappropriate things from time to time. Sometimes they might even be a bit awkwardly funny too. People laugh nervously, subtly change the subject and then move on. But, their crazy old uncle does not run Formula 1.

      1. But, their crazy old uncle does not run Formula 1.

        @bullmello – Bernie is Epic. He makes all of us look like utter and complete failures at business and entrepreneurship, measured in global reach and dollars and no sense lol. Bernie might be a lousy husband, a lousy father, a shyster, payer-of-bribes and allegedly, a thief, yet that’s all made nice by the fact that he STILL rules F1 and largely through his efforts in particular transformed it into one of the most globally-awesome sporting businesses ever.

        1. @joepa – Agreed. I have to say that despite all his negative sides, F1 would probably not be what it is today without him. That could be interpreted either way, but he has done some good things. It also makes one wonder who will, or who can, take his place someday.

    11. For a few years Bernie has shown increasing indicators of dementia, don’t forget that he is a very old man.
      He should be replaced but he will not be capable of knowing when to go, I assume the rights holders have other capable people they could bump up?

      1. demented is anyone who thinks Bernie isn’t fully in control of his faculties – and F1!! Long Live Bernie!

    12. Interesting/funny tweet from BBC sports news correspondent Dan Roan yesterday (

      Just asked Ecclestone if he’d agree to race in Syria.
      “They probably don’t have a circuit”.
      Me: “If they did?”
      “We’d have a look & see”

      1. Here’s a link to the BBC page that carries this interview. It’s priceless.
        Also contains the ‘stupid’ remark.
        Bernie rarely says something for no reason. So I’m trying to figure out what’s going on here. When does the current Barhrain contract expire? Is this Bernie preparing the ground for a price hike by telling the Crown Prince that it’s inappropriate for the race to be there and that there are other places in the region interested in the race? Almost certainly yes.

      2. I like Bernie. I wish he was my dad.

    13. I’m sure, that the goverment made promises and such for Bernie and the FIA, that the race won’t be used as a political tool, and maybe now he tries to put pressure on them. We all know that he likes to use shady, occasionally awkwardly sounding public remarks as a weapon, as a tool putting pressure on whoever he wants.
      Remember he is maybe an old chap but a brilliant businessman

    14. is bernie calling his own bluff? haha the shrewd businessman that he is…sell ice to the eskimos that bloke. wasnt he once a second hand car salesman?

    15. It’s Bernie, ignore him.

    16. Just race in Dubai, much better track, much better location and it would get way more spectators

    17. If you only think about money when not interested in how others live ….
      nor human rights in any country …

    Comments are closed.