Bahrain tipped to open 21-race season in 2014

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Start, 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit,In the round-up: Bahrain is tipped to host the first race of the 2014 season.


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

Bahrain the first of 21 races? (Sky)

“The 2014 calendar is set to be expanded to 21 races with a provisional start date of March 2nd in Bahrain.”

Alonso optimistic for win from sixth (BBC)

“We start in a position that gives us all the chances to win the race if we are quick enough. We need to get it back on the right way and score many points and show the potential in the car.”

Angry di Resta blames gearbox issue (Autosport)

“Here, there has been an error, people have apologised for their error and I accept that. The bit I can’t accept is that it’s two weeks in a row.”

Future of Canadian Grand Prix clouded in uncertainty (The Globe and Mail)

“The main sticking point is the amount poured into the race by the three levels of government ?ǣ while Ecclestone is reportedly willing to accept a modest increase on the $15 million [??9.5m] or so in public money his company receives each year, Ottawa doesn?t seem in a big hurry to add to its share of the pot.”

New Jersey gets serious (ESPN)

“Construction work continued unabated along the Hudson River, and this week the New Jersey race organisers have been a very visible presence in the Montreal paddock. The message is simple: New Jersey is on.”

Sergio Perez Q&A: We are racers, not Sunday drivers (F1)

“Everybody is allowed to have his opinion. This is down to personal preferences. But as Monaco right now is the catalyst for this discussion, I can only repeat what I just said before: I have done nothing wrong. I tried to overtake at one of the few spots where overtaking is possible in Monaco and my opponent has shut the door. So I am not really bothered by any of these comments.”

2013 Canadian Grand Prix – Post Qualifying Press Conference (FIA)

“Q: Lewis, did it all go according to plan? Maybe you felt you could have been on pole.
LH: Pole was definitely there, so it?s a bit unfortunate but that?s the way it goes.
Q: Did everything go according to plan?
LH: No.
Q: Is that what makes you a little unhappy then?
LH: …”

Rolex begins fightback on track to retain top spot (FT, registration required)

“Rolex?s F1 deal is believed to be worth $35m [??22.97m] a year for 10 years, a figure unconfirmed by the company, which declines to comment on it.”

Jenson Button describes the pleasure of seeing others celebrate his wins (The Guardian)

“There is also a bit of footage that my mum sent me. It was filmed in a sports bar in the UK and when I overtook Vettel the place just erupts. It is amazing to see. It does feel really nice because you don’t see that ever: you don’t hear the crowd and you don’t see that kind of excitement.”


Comment of the day

@DaveF1 on Massa’s latest rough patch:

Time for Ferrari to consider giving Massa the sack. Sure he?s been extremely loyal to the team and he’s a nice guy but he’s costing them valuable points in the constructors and doesn?t really take advantage of situations when Alonso is out or having a bad race.

There are many young drivers out there that could probably deliver good consistent performances (Kobayashi, Hulkenberg and maybe even Bianchi or Bottas) and who could learn from Alonso for the next few years and eventually lead the team when Fernando retires.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Stevo!

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

Jim Clark scored his second consecutive Belgian Grand Prix win 50 years ago today at Spa-Francorchamps.

The race began on a damp track and a thunderstorm erupted halfway through the race. Clark pressed on at a stunning rate, lapping everyone bar Bruce McLaren on the 14.1km (8.7-mile) track. After almost two-and-a-half hours of racing Clark won by just under five minutes. Dan Gurney came third for Brabham behind the Cooper of McLaren.

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  • 90 comments on “Bahrain tipped to open 21-race season in 2014”

    1. Bahrain opening the season again? I couldn’t think of a worser place to open the season and be the first race with the new F1 regulations.

      1. Hungary perhaps ?

        1. Hungaroring would be infinitely better than Sakhir.

      2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        9th June 2013, 2:32


        1. I guess it’s;

          I couldn’t think of a worse place to open the season.

          I must say i agree !

      3. I couldn’t think of a worser place

        I couldn’t think of a worser way to say worse : )

        1. @maciek more worse?

          1. @fer-no65 more worser? ;)

            1. More worserest

            2. Worcestershire!

        2. More badder?

        3. Traverse (@)
          9th June 2013, 17:08

          Mo badder not better…

    2. I hate the sound of having Bahrain opening the season: the whole idea is to start the season with a bang and it is a track which usually produces very tedious races. It’ll do F1’s political image no good either.

      Australia does just fine!

      1. @vettel1
        The anti-government protesters will love it though: it could give them a couple of months of press coverage instead of the usual couple of weeks they get now.

        Like you I’m not thrilled about Bahrain opening the season: Australia is normally a good race and a great place to start the season and the early morning start time (for those of us in Europe) adds to the experience and enjoyment, Bahrain is generally a dull affair and hardly the type of event that’s likely to add to the excitement of a new season.

      2. @vettel1

        I hate the sound of having Bahrain opening the season: the whole idea is to start the season with a bang and it is a track which usually produces very tedious races.

        I dislike the Bahrain GP for multiple reasons; boring racing however, is not one of them. IMO Sakhir is one of the better racing tracks, although the location isn’t exactly ideal.

        1. I agree.

      3. Zantkiller (@)
        9th June 2013, 1:47

        the whole idea is to start the season with a bang

        Don’t worry, the protests will do that just fine.

        1. So will the new engines and tyres, which won’t have had enough testing by March 2nd – that’s the earliest start date I can remember (no complaints though!)

          Melbourne will still be the first proper race.

      4. The upshot might be that Melbourne, now free of the first race of the season responsibilities, might actually start at a reasonable local time rather than being held in the approaching dark of an (often overcast) autumn Melbourne evening.

        Oh wait, that’s never going to happen…

      5. I don’t know how people can justify saying that the Bahrain circuit produces tedious races when it’s probably the track best designed for real racing, just bad memory and shallow opinions by fanatic. The reality is that the venue is stained, and that the Australian GP is such a fantastic event.

        1. Some fans really do have poor long-term memory I agree @peartree. The races in Bahrain in 2012 and this year have actually been great but F1 politically is not in a good place at the moment (has it ever been?), with Testgate and whether the tyres are producing the real racing us fans crave for, and the last thing you would most certainly want is the new season beginning with political fragility, conundrums or other forms of controversy.

          Australia has become renowned as a classic as a season-opener as well as a race and this is where I agree with the cynics but I think everything deserves a second chance, besides that tedious season-opener of 2010 was mainly due to the revised circuit layout, which ironically was originally meant to promote overtaking rather than the now seemingly front put on in the form of wanting to commemorate 60 years since the sport came to life.

      6. Could having Bahrain as the opener on the calendar make it easier to drop the entier race? Say January rolls around, Bahrain is still run as a dictatorship and oppressing its people, it could just be skipped and Australia become the opener again.

        With the new engines etc they could also use the extra time gleemed to add another test?

      7. The one plus point is that the Bahrain GP will be in early March, rather than late March, which is where the Australian race has been moved due to the later start time. That’s probably the only way of getting more races into a season – although they could do something about the three-week breaks we seem to keep seeing.

      8. +1. I don’t enjoy Bahrain most of the time, and Australia does a great job of capturing that ‘first race of the season’ atmosphere. Who cares if it fall at a difficult time for the British viewers? When I lived in England it was part of the excitement – waking up or staying awake until crazy o’clock adds to the thrill of a new season!

    3. Thank you, Checo. The most vocal complainers about Sergio’s driving at Monaco – many of them were the same type that complain every week that the drivers don’t push or take risks any more…

      1. @rjoconnell I agree. I don’t think he did anything wrong and clearly the stewards didn’t either. They certainly didn’t agree with Raikkonen’s version of events or Perez would have got the same penalty Grosjean did. Hopefully we can draw a line under it now.

        1. @keithcollantine and @rjoconnell , agreed, this whole incident is being blow out of proportion, probably because it involves F1 current most popular driver. Although, the other day I was reading an article on autosport, he mentions he was anticipating his move on Kimi to be successful because he is a WDC contender like Alonso and Button. In my opinion, this attitude is certainly worrying because he is counting on other driver’s instinct of playing safe rather than his own skill to make the maneuver successful and hence could be lead to disaster for himself or any serious WDC contender.

          1. In my opinion, this attitude is certainly worrying because he is counting on other driver’s instinct of playing safe rather than his own skill to make the maneuver successful and hence could be lead to disaster for himself or any serious WDC contender.

            That sounds a lot like the attitude of a few former (multiple) world champions. Not something I’ve ever approved of, but it is hardly a unique overtaking philosophy to have.

        2. I think the stewards took the unique Monaco track into account when classing it as a racing incident. Raikkonen had the right to close the door, and at any other track Perez would have been able to avoid contact by ducking left, but couldn’t in Monaco because of the barrier. I don’t think it’s right that some people a blaming Raikkonen, you can’t just duck out of the way, on the most difficult track to get the place back, and not defend because a speculative overtaking move was made

      2. He also said:

        After all these years of desperately demanding more overtaking, that if you do it you are a culprit. Isn’t that an anachronism and probably personally motivated?

        And that says it all doesn’t it?
        Kimi has reached such a status thanks to his personality that the minute he shows some emotions everyone thinks he’s 100% right, no one would be talking about it 2 weeks later had it been someone else.

        1. BBC, skysport f1 pundits all blame it on Perez.

          People has done analysis on his move before deciding whether its his fault or not.

          Defensive driving is part of racing, Perez is not a racer. He expect other to drove straight to the chicane and let him pass. He has no right to claim his move is part of racing consideration whatsoever.

          1. some so called pundints from the british media, never agreed with the hiring of perez in a british team like mclaren, The crown jewell.
            Since mclaren did not do what the media thought, they started bombarding checo, and they waste no time in trying to make him look worse than he is. So don’t even listen to them, because the problem is not his driving, it is his passport more than anything else.

            1. I actually think the British media tend to be completely fair. They base their comments on how well a driver does on track. He rightly got criticism for the second half of 2012 and the first few races this season. They’ve praised him for responding and “getting his elbows out”, but they thought that one move was his fault. How can you imply that the British media are being biased against him?

      3. it happened with montoya in the past. People bitching about not being any overtaking in f1, and when he overtook they called him dangerous. Bunch of hypocriticals. Checo has the fans aproval, and the stewards didn’t see anything wrong with his driving, so get off his case.
        kimi shut up and drive. With those comments you became with you hated in the past. Are you getting old?

        1. I think Kimi is expecting everyone to make clean overtakes. As we remember, he has made most spectacular overtakes in last two years, very dangerous but in same time, very clean…Or am I wrong?

    4. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      9th June 2013, 0:50

      21 races? Dear god.

      Great for the viewers, but I feel for the team’s personel.

      1. Oh man I wanted Mexico as well but don’t worry there will be likely 22 races come 2015 with Mexico and Thai joining in

      2. NASCAR Cup teams do 36 races a year, NHRA does 24, World of Outlaws Sprintcars do 100+. It’s not really that hard of a thing to do, especially in the top levels of racing (like F1 & the Cup series) where the drivers & crew are flown everywhere, the hardest strain comes at the hand of the hauler drivers though with F1 even they are only needed for about half the rounds.

        1. Abdurahman (@)
          9th June 2013, 3:58

          You do realize that F1 crosses seas’, through different continents, dates, time zones. NHRA does what, drive from Houston to Memphis? :)

          1. It’s not as if the participants actually have to swim across said seas, they get chartered their via what I’m guessing is 1st class airfare if not private planes.

            1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
              9th June 2013, 4:05

              Being on a plane is still a physical toll.

            2. Abdurahman (@)
              9th June 2013, 5:31

              lol, Button could swim it!!

        2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          9th June 2013, 4:05

          Those American series hardly have to travel any distance at all. It’s all contained within America.

          Formula 1 is constantly zig-zagging across the planet.

        3. You do understand that those series allow multiple car crews because there are no resource restrictions, right?

        4. All those series are based in the United States, and mostly in the Eastern Half.
          Everything can be transported by road, as opposed to air freight. This allows a greater volume of resources to be transported (spare parts, workshop trucks, motorhomes etc). Everything the crew uses can be oversized because it only has to fit in a truck, whereas air freight has to fit in a special container (called a ULD) to fit in the fuselage of a plane. On top of that, there is immense time pressure for F1 crews to pack up so they don’t miss their plane, which is usually the only one chartered, as opposed to trucks which can leave whenever they are ready.

          The crews and drivers can return home between races, they aren’t away from their families for extended periods of time. Most of the tracks are in the “South” so it’s easy for teams to have a home base to return to between races.
          The F1 guys can’t really return to the UK on a long haul flight between races in Asia. NASCAR guys don’t have to deal with time zones more than 4 hours apart, while the F1 guys have to deal with much different time zones.

          Yes, those series fit more races into a season, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t less demanding for the F1 guys.

      3. Indeed. Unfortunately, I don’t think Bernie’s thinking about them, he has something el$e in mind.

        1. @john-h
          A businessman trying to make more money: how disgusting… I bet none of the people working in F1 and no F1 fan would ever be motivated by something as dirty as their own financial gain !

          No-one is forced to work in F1 and everyone who does knew that the job would involve lots of international travel and long periods away from their homes and families before they applied for their jobs. This is not limited to F1: most people working in international sports and many other people with “regular” jobs are expected to make the same sacrifices as those people working in F1.

          As the teams are based in Europe the staff have the legal right to ask for more time at home, it may result in them being demoted or getting paid less but that’s exactly the same sort of decision many other working people have to make to get their work/life balance right and as such I find the “it’s going to be hard on the staff” argument to be largely irrelevant.

    5. I don’t know if Alonso has many chances of winning, he will likely pass Webber at the start and then get Valtteri in the next couple of laps.
      The problem I see is that he’ll probably loose a lot of time behind the two Mercedes in the first stint and by then Vettel could be very far away, but who knows maybe a safety car will help him or the Red Bulls will eat their tyres… we’ll see

      1. I agree, he’s going to need changing conditions to be on his side; not to mention the correct strategy calls!
        I’m hoping for some rain to shake things up with pit stops because fair enough Vettel got pole by his own merit and all, but it’d be nice for the championship for the difference between the top few drivers to be kept relatively close.

      2. What about DRS? With two zones at the most obvious places and one detection zone, overtaking might be even too easy.

    6. Well it has happened again @funkyf1, not only has my pro-testing comment been removed but also the entire conversation including your response, as a result I can neither read it nor respond to it, the moral of this story is that the small boats of opinion must follow the mighty ship Sensor or be sunk without trace.

      1. Certainly, your pro-testing stance is entirely to blame for that.

      2. @hohum I’ve had to result to taking screen shots of my posts, just to reassure myself I am actually posting them nowdays. I used to get offended, but I’m come to realize the owner of this site doesn’t take criticism or different opinions to his own thoughts very well. Arguing would be pointless as most post would either disappear or not get a response.

        1. @funkyf1, and @maciek, hard to know whether I should be glad or sad to find out that mine is not the only voice that is not allowed to be heard. I wouldn’t mind if I had written a rambling, pointless or irrelevant rant or been insulting and offensive but my post and the entire multi-reader conversation was none of those, it was a reasoned argument for taking lessons from the past and analysing not just how much testing costs but how much NOT testing costs, especially for the smaller teams and, while not adopting my el-cheapo proposal, it seems 8 of 11 teams agree that the current testing ban needs to change.

          1. Between your spelling and your paranoia, I really don’t know which is worser.

        1. Yes, I might be crazy, but apparently I am not stupid, thanks for the news.

    7. On this day in F1; 50 years ago, Jim Clark won the Belgium Grand Prix by nearly 5 minutes from Bruce McLaren !
      Imagine what he could have done if he had driven flat-out instead of nursing his engine and managing his tyres as so many of you insist all F1 drivers always did.

      1. I imagine he would he retired with a blown engine or a puncture.

        1. Apparently not according to Wikipedia he actually completed the Grand Prix as it doesn’t have like “accident” next to his name

        2. @prisoner-monkeys, @bosyber, Obviously we shouldn’t let facts alter our preconceived view of history, “there are none so blind as they that will not see”.

          1. Nor should we let an agenda cloud our reason.

            You are clearly trying to criticise the sport today by drawing a parallel to what happened fifty years ago. However, you are neglecting to consider the idea that if Clark was not giving 100% for the entire race, then he was obviously doing it for a reason.

      2. Not made it to the end perhaps @hohum? :)

    8. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      9th June 2013, 4:22

      “Angry di Resta blames gearbox issue”

      I’m pretty sure he blamed the team… again.

      1. that he did

      2. Traverse (@)
        9th June 2013, 17:14

        Someone should buy di Resta a life size mirror so that he can look long and hard at himself.

    9. That little excerpt from the press conference that Keith put up just shows how competitive these guys are. Personally, I was thinking second was a pretty good result for Hamilton, and that he had had a good showing all weekend.

      Lewis, on the other hand, seemed bitterly disappointed to have missed the final chicane. He was a little more than two tenths up on Vettel’s best time after S2, but 6 or 7 tenths up on his own time (which was very close to Vettel’s). It would certainly have been interesting to see where he would have ended up if he had done a good final sector too.

      1. Everybody was losing hordes of time at the final chicane, LH would have been no exception…i dont think that he would have taken pole even if he had not gone straight through. Time for LH fans to put things into perspective…

      2. @adrianmorse Vettel was up through the first two sectors also and had been mighty in S3 throughout the rest of qualifying, yet he failed to improve. Hamilton would’ve been no different it is safe to assume.

      3. I can understand it. I believe that if he were second without making that mistake at the end, he would have been much happier, it’s the knowledge that he could have done better that burns irrespective of the final outcome.

      4. I thought it was a typically vacuous exchange with the journalist seeking to find news angle that simply wasn’t there.
        I know these people have jobs to do and column centimetres to file, but someimes they really do try to manufacture something out of nothing.

      5. FlyingLobster27
        9th June 2013, 9:58

        The excerpt from the FIA press conference actually made me react: “that is one dumb, shallow, repetitive, meaningless and did I mention dumb? sequence of questions.” The first question was very poor, the journalist included the answer he wanted in the question, the second was a repeat and the third is just stupid. Not that F1 drivers and team would let you get more “insight” out of them anyway…

    10. So are we having Bahrain open it every 4 years now or something?

      1. I think it is a tradition a 10 year anniversary to celebrate an era of starting F1. Maybe come 2017 Bahrain will open the WC

        1. It’s not a tradition thing.

          In 2006, Bahrain hosted the first round because the Commonwealth Games were in Melbourne and the orgainsers of the Australian Grand Prix didn’t want to compete with it. At the time, it was a one-off thing.

          In 2010, the organisers in Bahrain started paying for the privilege of being first. It was supposed to be a long-term arrangement, but the protests broke out and the 2011 race got cancelled. The race was included as the fourth round of the 2012 and 2013 seasons to allow for more time for the situation to settle down (however you want to interpret that). Now they evidently feel that the time is right to go back to paying more to be first.

          1. The country seems more peaceful compared to 2011 and 2012 when there was a massive outbreak and they escaped unharm for this years one so there is signs of improvement coming from Bahrain

    11. Button on starting 14th:

      “To be fair, I’m not too upset. It’s pretty scary out there. I had my eyes closed for most of it”

      He’s just far to comfortable at the moment. Where is the frustration, where is the passion, where is the hunger anymore? I just hope Perez keeps kicking him up the backside because in my opinion he needs it.

      1. I think the more impressive part is that he managed to qualify at all with his eyes closed …

    12. I don’t even want Sakhir on the calendar and I don’t certainly don’t want it as the season opener. Bernie needs to stop shooting himself in the foot.

      That pic from JEV with ALO makes ALO look old now! (and he’s only 32!)

    13. I don’t exactly agree with the COTD. Partly because I am a Massa fan; secondly, because of the whole thing about grooming a younger driver to learn from Alonso to eventually take over from him. I just don’t see that happening to be honest. Sure, it happened with Massa and Schumacher, playing number 2 driver to Michael and then once Kimi arrived Massa started to shine, however, I find this was more down to Kimi’s “laid back” nature, i.e. not demanding number 1 status. My point is that once this new driver learns from Alonso, he’s going to be stuck in the same position Massa is in now, and then will be stuck there whenever Vettel or someone else comes along who’s already proved themselves as a world championship winner worthy of Ferrari’s number 1 driver seat.

    14. Maybe di Resta can be thankful that McLaren didn’t pick him up then, otherwise we’d never hear the end of the endless mistakes that the team makes.

    15. Disappointed to hear Australia is going to be replaced with Bahrain. You can’t buy atmosphere Bernie.

      Regarding the added GP – Russia – I am watching WTCC from Moscow Raceway, Russia right now … and have just seen the support vehicle (a front end loader type thing) has broken down on the first corner … remains immovable … and they are now racing with it as an obstacle with yellows being waved in that position.

      Can this WTCC race be considered a ‘test event’ for Russia ?

      1. @xander – No, because the race will be taking place at a completely different circuit.

        1. Yeah, I realise that, but I am curious as to the quality of service that will be provided in Sochi.

      2. I hope it isn’t but its on Moscow Raceway so it won’t happen and WSBK race there and it hasn’t been a problem

        1. I’m really surprised they raced with it where it was – if you lost it, you were goooone!

          Apart from Moscow Raceway and the new Sochi circuit, does Russia host any other international motorsport rounds?

          1. @xander – No, they don’t. But they do have a few other circuits here and there that are of a pretty high standard, like the NRING outside Nizhiny Novgorod, and the Smolenskring.

      3. Moscow Raceway is one of the most boring and processional circuits I’ve ever seen

    16. he’s costing them valuable points in the constructors and doesn’t really take advantage of situations when Alonso is out or having a bad race.

      Like Japan 2012, when Alonso retired on his own fault and Massa finished 2nd? Or Brazil 2012, when Massa led Webber and Vettel and allowed Alonso to pass both before moving aside to let him pass? Or Spain 2013, when he completed the podium ahead of Vettel?

    17. I know there will be outcry about Bahrain been the season opener but it actually makes good sense when you consider that both Pirelli & The teams want to do the final test in the mid-east because of the higher temperatures.

      It makes zero financial sense to fly everything out to Bahrain for the test, Then fly everything over to Melbourne only to be flown back over to Bahrain.
      Its much better to fly out to Bahrain for the test & then stay over for the 1st race.

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