Azerbaijan right to jail journalists – Ecclestone

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone responded to questions about Azerbaijan’s human rights abuses by saying the government was right to prosecute journalists who had been critical of the regime.


Porsche 919, Le Mans, 2016

Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb took pole position for the Le Mans 24 Hours yesterday. Rain during Thursday’s qualifying session meant Jani’s time from Wednesday secured pole position for the number number two Porsche 919.

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Dave assesses the Baku City Circuit:

Seems that 12-15 is the only real place to make up time. Everywhere else is just slam on gas, slam on the brakes, turn, repeat. 13 seems like the only proper “mid-speed” corner where you can make time with more car confidence and finesse. And with low DF, it will be a challenge to carry a lot of speed through to 15. I don’t see much percentage in hustling the car through the castle section—too narrow and too slow. This is basically a raw power circuit. A big Norisring.

I predict that Mercedes is going to hang about 1.5s on the field in qualifying. I predict an FI and/or Williams on the podium too. This may also be a good place for Hamilton to change components and take his eventual grid-drop, because the Mercedes is going to look like the Millennium Falcon here and he will be able to pass even the upgraded Ferraris here with ease.
DaveW (@Dmw)

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The third round of the 1951 world championship was held on this day 65 years ago. Reigning champion Giuseppe Farina won for Alfa Romeo at Spa-Francorchamps.

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53 comments on “Azerbaijan right to jail journalists – Ecclestone”

  1. Ecclestone talking about there being a lot of people starving in the world made me feel sick.

    1. if you want freedom of speech, you need to get used to feeling sick.

    2. He is a complete embarrasment to our sport.

      1. He is a disgrace to humanity.

        Like an old dog that’s too tired to dance for a coin, and instead just barks.

    3. When it was put to Ecclestone that some journalists had been prosecuted for speaking out against the regime, he replied: “So they should. It depends what they say. You say they write negative things. It depends what they write.”

      Yet again, I am in complete disagreement with Bernie in this matter.

      You should not be jailed for speaking out against the government. Taking violent action or actions which jeopardize people’s safety should be dealt with, but speaking out against government policies you disagree with is a fundamental part of a civilised society.

      1. “To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?” – Strom (not Voltaire)

    4. “…people starving in the world made me feel sick” and you’re still interested enough in F1 to post to this forum. Try doing what I do, subscribe to Oxfam (or your choice) to “save a child for a dollar a day.” But please realize that F1 really has nothing to do with spousal abuse, chemotherapy for cancer, legalizing marijuana, your local dog pound, PTSD, ADS, Amazonian rain forests … or starvation.

      F1 is making efforts on fuel conservation and driver safety. We might agree, or disagree, on whether these efforts are good for our sport, but at least they are somewhat relevant. Please let’s not add all notions of “political correctness” into driving motor cars to the maximum. We’ve banned tobacco (severely cutting sponsorship), alcohol is on the horizon which might put an end to another team or two, and while Ecclestone’s rants might upset your gastro-intestinal tract, you should be able to find a more appropriate forum for a better clinical diagnosis and eventual pharmaceutical care.

  2. Excellent PR work, Mr. Ecclestone. Now, I shall leave and vomit.

    1. William Jones
      17th June 2016, 7:57

      I’m finding something puzzling about Bernie’s “PR” work over his lifetime. He portrays himself as the firm hand on the tiller of F1, the man who single handedly guided it to a bright future. Yet his actions don’t back that up. We all know that he says whatever the next GP host want to hear, which is why he can appear contradictory, beine unentheusiastic about the USA GP when Russia are about to host, then very entheusiastic about it when they go to the USA.

      If he truly was the strength guiding F1, he would act like the politicians who he cosies up to, he would say what he wants, what he believes and he would say it with the conviction of his own invincibility. Yet he acts far more like a puppet, dancing to someone elses tune. It would be difficult to look further than the Delta-Topco shareholders – a scenario that matches reality much more closely is that Bernie is their fall guy – he makes outrageous statements, attracting the negative attention of the press and pundits, acts the clown and keeps the cameras on him, to deflect the attention from the owners, the true powers in F1.

      As unpopular as it is to feel sympathy for a billionaire, If I’m right, I do feel sorry for him. Money absolutely does not buy happiness, and to see the slow decline of all you’ve worked for in your life while being obliged to become the “baddie” in the show you’ve created must make him feel rotten to his very core. I suspect he is a very different man in private.

      1. Read the book ‘No Angel’ it’s a biography of Bernie and how he has ended up where he is. It’s a fascinating read and although I don’t fully agree with all the things he does, I have the greatest level of respect for what he has achieved in his lifetime, he is the son of a humble Trawlerman after all. He had the vision to take the sport we love to new levels, unfortunately he has been a little left behind by the technological revolution, but it appears he is banking on Hieniken to step up social media expansion as it seems they do it rather well.
        Odd? yes, stupid? no…..

        It will be a sad day when his pass for the great paddock in the sky arrives and watch those who matter in F1 start running round like headless chickens claiming the sky is falling in.

        1. People with lots of money are all stupid. The ability to amass wealth does not make one clever, in my opinion.

          1. Wonderbadger
            17th June 2016, 14:07

            I can’t agree with this, of all the things Bernie is, stupid is not one of them. He may be divorced from reality, unaware of suffering, blinkered, controversial, offensive, a waste of atoms etc etc.. but I would not call him stupid. Most, if not all, of Bernie’s comments which seem stupid to outsiders will be made in order to serve Bernie’s interests and increase the amount of money flowing into Ecclestone Towers.

          2. He’s not stupid, he’s EVIL.

          3. Bernie is not stupid. Evil, self serving and greedy but, not stupid. Has anyone checked under his mop top hair for a 666 marking? We may be able to nip this in the bud before he causes world chaos.

    2. I agree. If someone puts this article title under his nose, he would say, with innocent expression, that he had never said that…

  3. I think the circuit is actually very nice, but I have one big problem.

    Why is it Tilke was unable to design China, Bahrain, Istanbul, COTA, India, Korea, etc. without absolutely huge run offs and stringent restrictions, yet there are different rules for street circuits? The way it’s done is ridiculous, it’s basically setting high safety standards then providing an exemption for whenever they want to put their track in the middle of a city. If it’s safe enough on a street circuit this fast, why is it not safe enough elsewhere?

    1. @strontium Street circuits have always had different safety standards because for the most part you can’t get that much runoff, Especially for the city street circuits like Monaco, Singapore & Baku. Its the same with every category because if every type of circuit was made to meet the same set of the latest circuit safety regulations a lot of the older circuits & all street circuits would never meet them.

      It’s also worth pointing out that that circuit safety guidelines change over time & some of the newer Tilke venues like Abu-Dhabi don’t have anywhere near the runoff space that places like Bahrain do because advancements in car safety as well as new types of barrier (TecPro) mean less runoff is deemed necessary now compared to 10-15 years ago.

      1. They don’t have different safety standards. All tracks are meant to comply with Appendix O – Procedures for the Recognition of Motor Racing Circuits, of the FIA International Sporting Code.

        Baku does not comply with Appendix O, in several areas, including minimum track width, and maximum length of straight.

        It just seems that when it comes to street circuits, the FIA will grant a licence to the circuit at their discretion, even if the circuit doesn’t comply with their own requirements.

        1. Wonderbadger
          17th June 2016, 7:47

          I suspect that their requirements may be based around how much money is waved in their direction in order to help them see the circuit in a different light…

    2. I think a big difference is because a permanent circuit will be used for lot’s of other racing series as well and is build like that so it can comply with all kinds of needs, like MotoGP etc.

  4. From the article:
    Rebecca Vincent of Sport for Rights commented: “Bernie Ecclestone’s attitude to human rights is an embarrassment for Formula One.”

    No, Bernie Ecclestone is an embarrassment to F1. This is merely one of very many reasons why.

  5. While Bernie’s remarks are no surprise at all (not given all the stupid comments he made in the past), he just manages to make me sick every single time and feel ashamed someone like him owns F1. He and his remarks are an embarrassment for this sport.

    I find it somewhat astonishing for the drivers to bemoan the lack of run-off areas at Baku. For years, I haven’t heard any voice in support of parking lot-style run-off, but when there is a track that provides no room for errors (just like Monaco does), suddenly the safety is questioned by high-profile drivers. I for one am really looking forward to the challenge posed to the drivers and find out who can master this track. I expect a lot of crashes and entertainment during the race.

    1. @wallbreaker I think the difference between this & Monaco is that this circuit is a lot faster so the results of going off at some of these places is going to be much bigger accidents.
      The other concern is the lack of visibility through some of those sections meaning that if a car does go off & have a big accident, Drivers behind won’t be able to see it & this could make a big accident even bigger with more cars involved.

      I think back to something Jackie Stewart once said when he pointed out that drivers are far more critical of runoff & barriers because they have a far greater understanding of what they are going to hit, at what angle & where the car is likely to end up afterwards & they also have a far greater understanding of the speeds & forces involved & what the end result is likely to be.

      For example over in Indycar drivers had in the past voiced concern about the long flat out turn 5 at the Houston street circuit because of the lack of visibility & runoff through it & in 2013 this happened-

      1. Ugh. I wonder if tight, fast, and crash fencing are the right combination. This seems like a step backward.

        I don’t look for crashes to keep it interesting, either. That’s what NASCAR is for.

    2. I too look forward to crashes, but there is no need for anyone to be killed these days if it can be avoided, and I am no expert but this is a possibility at some of these potentially very high speed areas…

    3. Safety should always be questioned.

      1. I genuinely fear for the safety of track workers and volunteers, It is after all an inaugural event and there will be miscommunications.

        Hopefully nothing major happens.

  6. Bernie is right about the journalists being sent to jail. They will be damaging his business (if only a tiny bit) after all.

  7. This whole thing about human rights is getting a bit rich!

    Bernie’s response was to be expected. Its almost as if he thrives on the hate thats dished towards him.

    I still dont understand why people are up in arms about Azerbaijan when, like I’ve said before, the likes of Malaysia, Singapore, China and Russia are no better! You want to talk about Human Rights Rebecca Vincent? How about the deplorable conditions foreign workers are subject to in the UAE? Didnt hear anything about that. How about China’s use of Loagai’s until a few years ago (if you believe them). Perhaps we should look at indefinite detention without trial widely practiced in Malaysia, also legal in Singapore, where political prisoners are the main target? Or perhaps you havent read the news lately about deep set corruption that is threatening the government of Brazil?

    Sport should transcend politics. Professional sports should not be drawn into any political debate, period. They are there to do a job, and let them get on with it. People who work for Human Rights should probably look to more productive avenues to fight for the cause, instead of taking cheap jabs at an octogenarian who doesnt really give two hoots about what the world thinks.

    1. seconded

    2. Exactly. Half the tracks have similar human rights violations.

      F1 is about racing. It also represents technology and engineering, traits of human existance that go well with human mind.

      But that is it, no political game should be thrown around. It is a sport not human rights group.

    3. @jaymenon10 The key phrase there was “sport /should/ transcend politics”. Sadly, it doesn’t. The list is endless: from the 1936 olympics in nazi-Germany to the winter games in Sochi in 2014 and many events large and small in between, dictators and their regimes have always hosted these events for one sole purpose: propaganda.

    4. People who work for Human Rights should probably look to more productive avenues to fight for the cause,

      Surely @jaymenon10 they ARE using this productive avenue, that has fallen into their laps!

      Azerbaijan’s human rights is getting a LOT more attention than it ever has before. Quite right IMO. There are always limits, anyway. You wouldn’t support an ISIS GP would you? We don’t stop being human, just to watch a motor race.

      You’re confusing going and criticising with not going, and what Bernie says with what he really thinks and what the overall effect is. Others can criticise, and he must know they will.

      1. @lockup ISIS GP…they’ve had one already…see Mad Max Fury Road…

    5. As long as a sport is popular, it will be used as a political tool by those in power. Bread and circuses distract the unwashed masses from more serious issues, like the imprisonment of journalists for speaking truth against power. The existence of a billionaire class is a sign of the decline of our civilization, and Bernie is the poster child of decadent decay.

      1. Maybe people are more upset about HR violations because European GP?


        1. The people who were already upset at these violations are now more upset, and Bernie has given a shining endorsement of the country by allowing F1 to take place there. It is a big win for the (corrupt) government. People who are apolitical (or uninformed) will now think of Azerbaijan as a decent European country.

    6. Wow, what an uninformed comment @jaymenon10 . The others posters have already explained why sport is an effective political tool.
      What I only see here is an F1 fan upset because the EVIL (HR activists, feminists, environmental NGOs, … – select the apropriate group) has critisized the sport.

  8. Bernie is the man, he’s trolling everyone constantly and laughing it to the bank.

  9. #BernieMustGo

  10. COTD Sure has an imagination. Williams on the podium with probably one of worst chassis’s in the field. I stopped taking you seriously when you basically predicted Mercedes will lap Ferrari. Want my prediction….Williams will struggle to finish in the top ten and Ferrari will lap Williams so will RBR and possibly even Toro Rosso. Haas has a better car than Williams, without that Merc horsepower and straightline speed they would basically be fighting with Sauber, their chassis is just that bad.

  11. Dont agree with COTD at all.

    Most of the time will be made on low speed corners. That is the nature of slow speed, takes more time.

    And then in the end allmighty straight, some teams will struggle to take final corners flat.

    It will be a very intresting balance to pick and since it is a new type of track… People are bound to get it wrong.

    I do predict McLaren struggling with that straight.

    Willuams usually goes great on straights but then all those slow corners..

    #1 could be anyone from Merc, Feza or RBR. All have some decent power now, and aero will decide lap time. Maybe even driver will be very important.

    1. But while they are going slowly round the castle, nobody can get by them – it’s too narrow. On the other hand, I suspect that the Williams will have one of the best top speeds on the long straights, thanks to their Mercedes power plant, so not so many rivals will get past them there, either. All in all, a Williams on the podium doesn’t look too outrageous as a prediction.

  12. ColdFly F1 (@)
    17th June 2016, 6:27

    IMO it is bigots like Bernie and Trump who are responsible for increased intolerance in today’s world.
    And in extreme case of intolerance – based on political views or homophobia – this can even lead to killings like we’ve seen over the past few days.

    1. +1 True that.

    2. I feel the same. But I’m not even sure Bernie believes what he said.

  13. The mere fact that a person like Mr. E is alive and healthy year after year should be enough of a reason for anyone to come to the conclusion that there can be no such thing as a benevolent god.

    1. Couldn’t agree more with this.

  14. RE: CotD by @dmw

    ‘Everywhere else is just slam on gas, slam on the brakes, turn, repeat.’

    That’s pretty much the job description for the entire Canadian GP, yet a lot of fans consider it a classic.
    Personally, I disagree with that view, and would rather not have a race on this track (Baku or Gilles Villeneuve), but this example shows that a track needn’t really be challenging or varied to produce entertaining races.

  15. I am just looking forward to it. Plain and simple.
    I will judge after I have seen a race.

  16. Bernie’s statements are reprehensible. He’s an embarrassment and, quite honestly, more than a little disgusting. His hypocrisy and willful blindness are staggering. He’s voiced support more than once for some of the most fascist and repressive regimes of our day and the past. I will continue to keep up with Formula 1 through this website and other news outlets, but until Bernie is gone and F1 governance changes I will boycott F1 itself. I won’t allow F1 to line Bernie’s pockets at the expense of the fans, the track promoters, the teams, and the lives and liberties of citizens of places like Azerbaijan, and Bahrain. Make no mistake: YOUR money is supporting THOSE governments and the jailing and murder of citizens without due process. Do you want that on your conscience?

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