Kubica pulls out of WEC five days before first race

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Robert Kubica will not race in the World Endurance Championship this season.

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Should F1 return to Turkey? While many of you spoke highly of the Istanbul Park track yesterday, many expressed misgivings about its location.

This is exactly what Liberty should not be doing now, courting dictators just for the sake of the ‘show’.

Turkey had a great track, but this criminal Erdogan does not need encouraging. Involvement with this government by any business lends legitimacy to its past crimes, and material support to its future ones. The list of rich autocracies that F1 is in bed with should be shortened by it’s new ownership, not lengthened.

Hopefully this is not business as usual in the post-Bernie world. I am seriously disappointed.

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On this day in F1

Pole sitter Nigel Mansell made a poor start, the other Williams of Nelson Piquet was delayed by overheating, so Alain Prost came through to win the season-opening Brazilian Grand Prix 30 years ago today in his McLaren.

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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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66 comments on “Kubica pulls out of WEC five days before first race”

  1. While I fully agree that Erdogan is a complete mad man, I can’t help but think where the line should be drawn?

    As bad as Turkey has been, concerning its misdeeds as a country in recent years, they don’t even come close to US and Britain when it comes to war crimes. And while the governments of those two countries aren’t directly managing their respective F1 races, their wars are being lobbied for by some of their biggest brands, many of which often find their place on the cars’ liveries or track-side advertising.

    Other example is that of Rex Tillerson, the guy who is now personally championing the latest attacks on Syria, has been the head of ExxonMobil until last year. No doubt lobbying for wars in the name of oil.

    Not to mention that the damage that oil companies are doing to the planet and the humanity is much worse than anything Erdogan ever mustered.

    Has anyone followed what the US government has been doing to its citizens regarding that North Dakota pipeline?
    Where do we go with exploitation of child labor in Africa and China when it comes to many hardware companies?

    My point being, that if you don’t draw the line where it matters, you shouldn’t draw it just for show.

    1. Sad to say it, but I have to agree. You could go through the entire calendar and find a reason to exclude every host nation, and unless the rule is applied to all, it shouldn’t be applied to one.
      I’m more concerned that the problem with low ticket sales would be even worse now that there are fewer tourists visiting, unless they’re going to significantly reduce prices to encourage more Turkish people to attend, will they end up racing in front of empty grandstands ? It is one of the best of the modern circuits, but it’s in a bad location, and we could end up seeing a repeat of all of the problems they had when they didn’t renew the contract last time.

      1. You could go through the entire calendar and find a reason to exclude every host nation, and unless the rule is applied to all, it shouldn’t be applied to one.

        Belgium is only selling guns to Saudi Arabia, so we can stay whatever right?

        1. @xtwl I suggest next year we should have 20 races in Spa. 10 in clockwise and 10 in anti-clockwise direction. That way we will have a calendar with only superb tracks and no political problems.

          Bring it on!

        2. Saudi Arabia is using those guns to try and defeat the Houthis in Yemen. That is a good thing.

          1. @ibrahim and the same war is causing a famine that is killing thousands of innocents. that is a bad thing. see how pointless and easy these kinds of comments are?

          2. Houthis F1 fans won’t like Spa then. All races should be in Switzerland.

          3. The war in Yemen is probably the current biggest humanitarian crysis in the world, it’s crazy mad how badly it’s been handled.
            But of course much of the reason why it’s been poorly handled is because wars, these days, are wars of the popular opinion, not common sense.

      2. @beneboy I would love to see you try and find a reason to exclude all nations on the calendar. Nobody has absolute moral authority here, but it is ridiculous to conflate and compare Turkey, Russia and Azerbadijan to countries like Japan, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Canada. I would LOVE your rationale for excluding them.

        1. @hahostolze Italy’s foreign policy has been lamentable in recent years, no better than the UK’s.

        2. @hahostolze
          Japan – whaling
          Belgium – selling weapons to dictators
          Germany – crippling Greece
          Italy – treatment of refugees
          Canada – treatment of Native people

          And that’s just recent stuff without bothering to really try, given some research I could give you all sorts of nasty things each nation gets up to.

    2. As you say, the governments of those countries aren’t directly involved in their F1 races, and I think that’s where the line should be drawn. It’s not so much about where the Grand Prix is held, and far more to do with who is behind it. It’s the fact that there are certain people who quite obviously use our sport either as a personal vanity project or as an attempt to clean up their country’s image.

      Sport can be a wonderful thing; it can unify a nation in a way that nothing else can and no country should be deprived of that, but when a politician hijacks that, that’s where we need to draw the line. I don’t think anyone’s got a problem with the idea of a race in Turkey, the problem is that Erdogan seems to be the one pushing for it. I’m fairly certain the Russian Grand Prix would’ve had a far better reception if Putin wasn’t involved. And if Donald Trump was going around saying “make the United States Grand Prix great again!” and handing out the trophies on the podium, I think we’d all be equally uncomfortable about the US GP.

    3. I’ve always had confict with that too. I don’t agree at all with USA’s policies, regarding pretty much everything, yet F1 is happy to not only deal with them, but to be owned by americans. Same with Russia and so many others.

    4. I was just about to say very similar things. I believe I heard somewhere that the UK government is the only government that doesn’t have any involvement in financing their country’s Grand Prix. Other than that, what makes everyone else, like the US, different?

      I reckon we shouldn’t forget most people here on this site are heavily influenced by our European (largely British) or American media which is very biased, meaning we don’t actually know if what we are hearing is correct. I’m not saying Turkey doesn’t have serious problems, but rather we don’t know with enough accuracy

      1. Yes, @strontium especially the british and US media are pretty biased. And it probably influences many. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t enough sources to be found to get more thorough views of what is going on if one takes the time and effort. Including actually reading media from “foreign” sources.

        But that does not mean that one cannot discern between countries and race events. A race like Russia, where the president is heavily involved with the race, or Bahrain, where the ruling family is directly involved are clearly different from countries like France, Belgium or let’s say Singapore or Japan are, or India was. Sure, the local government has supported those races, but the main interest has been to keep the flow of people visiting the country and boost the economy.

        What makes me feel bad about this message about Turkey is first of all that the President is directly involved. And that he is involved only days before a critical poplular vote that is meant to increase that same presidents’ power.

        Now off course Turkey could do with boosting visitor numbers after first losing almost all Russian tourists and in recent months quickly seeing EU tourism decline as well. But given the visitor numbers and downturn of the Turkish economy at the last few races in Turkey, one has to wonder wheather anyone really expects such an effect from this announcement.

        1. @bascb
          I agree with the point you are making, but I want to reemphasise what you say about there being other sources available to see a fuller picture – in fact I want to stand up for the British media to a small degree.
          Whilst I agree that some of the leading papers in the UK are promoting their own viewpoint and not telling the whole story and in the worst cases twisting the truth, there are also many respected leading news sources that strive to be independent and present a more balanced view. I’m thinking for example of Channel 4 news, the Guardian, the Independent/the i, the BBC of course and even The Times (despite its owner). Just as faults should be acknowledged, so should virtues…

          1. I guess the BBC is a bit hit and miss sometimes though depending on the subject and in part because of their wide scope, I certainly agree that the other media you mentioned (I’d probably include FT there too) certainly deserve their part in quality journalism and trying to get a solid insight in what is going on @icytrue.

    5. If you are concerned about the damage that oil companies are doing to the planet this might not be the sport for you.

    6. I just watched the film ‘Race’, which shows the intersection of the Third Reich and sport and how the US Olympic Committee wrestled with it. It shows the decisions are not always black and white. I recommend seeing it.

    7. It is a very delicate matter but let me through in my opinion about relation of politics with sports.
      I come from a country which has experienced one of the worst dictatorship post WW2 (Albania), and from 25 years is slowly trying to build democracy. It is not easy at all. Whoever is in power, will always try to manipulate and exploit vulnerabilities in people mentality and poverty to their own benefit up to the point to build an oligarchy within the system.
      Democracy in itself is not perfect, so trying to draw equal lines between countries it is not fair. Democracy will give the people the means to fight whatever attempt at attacking democracy itself. It is an everyday fight, it does not stop, ever! What I would look at, is if the means are available or not. When the means are not there, than you have serious issues. That is what Erdogan has done, people are not anymore free to express their opinion and exercise their freedom. Voting alone, is not a guarantee. Voting can be heavily manipulated when there is no freedom. Heck, in my country for 45 years we have always voted the same person with 98% of votes.
      No coming back to my country, the latest example I can bring is Euro 2016 football championship. For the first time our national team made it to the finals of such a big event. When that happened, instead of being a celebration of people it was at once hijacked by every politician and government member. From night to day, suddenly every one was lauding prime minister for the big effort of putting our national team in the finals! And the event was used as a justification to bring forward dubious investments in sports with corrupted links. And I am sure it will be used in the coming elections.
      These people are masters of propaganda and will exploit every opportunity, specially sport events to elevate themselves in the masses eyes securing more votes for themselves by manipulating emotion and intelligence of the people.
      I am not against Turkey GP based on what we have at hand now, but rest more than assured that it will be used with success by Erdogan and Co. for their own benefit and not that of the Turkish people. That is the line I draw. Sports and arts are supposed to bring people together, but instead are often used as means to divide us by those in power.

      1. Also the Mess with Voldemort

    8. Fairly balanced thanks for your input

    9. Sorry but I think this line of argumentation misses the point. It’s not about what a country does, because countries don’t actually do anything. Governments do things. It’s about who you’re doing business with. When F1 goes to the US or any other place where it does business with private promoters that is not the same as when they go to places where they do business with governments, especially since on most occasions it is rather clear that those governments are using the sport to put a gloss on their image. If you care to dig deep enough and assign collective blame to ‘countries’ then you will not go race anywhere, because no place on earth is innocent of injustice. But there certainly are degrees of difference and degrees of proximity to sources of injustice.

    10. Michael Brown (@)
      12th April 2017, 20:53

      Question: When it came to negotiations between the circuits and F1, how many have involved the president/prime minister/crown prince or the federal government?

      Did Obama have to negotiate the US GP, for example?

    11. F1 going there will make the government open up and think more internationally. Globalization starts with trade and culture. Also why should the citizens be limited in business and sports for whatever the government has done? It would just make the citizens side with their government and hate outsiders.

  2. While privately I might agree with the views expressed in the COTD, publicly I would say that the security situation in Turkey should be enough to stop any thought of staging a F1 race there anytime soon, you could give me an all expenses paid package to attend and I still wouldn’t go.
    As for F1 and morality, that cab left the rank long ago and liberty aren’t about to sacrifice any opportunity to recoup their $8million investment. Thanks Bernie.

    1. Oops! that’s $8BILLION.

    2. @hohum
      Given last night’s events in Germany, I don’t think they’d be able to use the safety argument without risking various other GPs.

      1. @beneboy, there are nutcases everywhere, even in football, but that only illustrates the danger of attending a high profile sporting event, especially one that involves and is attended by wealthy western non-believers in a country full of religious megalomaniacs who can convince gullible believers that they will go straight to a glorious paradise if they just kill a lot of people.

        1. Wealthy non believers aren’t being attacked in other countries. What are you on about exactly? And Turkey isn’t filled with religious megalomaniacs. You would love it there, very secular.
          Also, there is no one in paradise currently and no one can go directly there at this time. It’s Islam 101 bro. Anyone who kills an innocent person or commits suicide is also denied paradise. Once again, Islam 101.

          1. @ibrahim, unfortunately there is a rising tide of Islam 102 at war with Islam 101 and they are recruiting the gullible everywhere there is a sizeable muslim population.

    3. Just a point here, the Australian Government are saying this about travel to Istanbul:

      Ankara and Istanbul, reconsider your need to travel
      Think seriously about whether you need to travel here due to the high level of risk. If you do travel, do your research and take a range of extra safety precautions, including having contingency plans.

      1. I “spoke highly of the Istanbul Park”, although we might be disappointed with these high downforce cars!

        1. Oops, wrong place.

          Not supposed to be at the end of the Istanbul threat thread ;)

  3. It’s a real shame for Robert Kubica yet again, just imagine what could have been for this guy if it weren’t for that crash.

    1. Life can be cruel and Lady Luck can be very fickle.

    2. Shame. I was looking forward to seeing Robert in the WEC.

    3. Very huge shame indeed, I’m very sad for him, especially just being days away from it.

      I’m also a massive fan of his team-mate this year, Oli Webb. I really hope they find somebody good to replace Kubica, so they can continue to be competitive

      1. @strontium, who are the ByKolles team competing against though? With Rebellion moving down into the LMP2 class, the ByKolles team are the only private entrant in the LMP1 class and therefore have nobody to compete against (they run in the LMP1-L class and therefore do not directly compete with the manufacturers in the LMP1-H class).

  4. I’m not convinced by the Shield, it looks to have the same problems as the aeroscreen. How do you keep it clean, and what protection is there from something coming in from above ? The HALO looks good for dealing with big objects like wheels, but not so good for smaller objects, so neither approaches solves all of the problems.
    Maybe they should decide if they want F1 to remain open cockpit, with all of the associated risks, or change to closed cockpit. The only way to protect from small objects (like the spring that hit Massa), and wheels, wings and other objects, and avoid reducing visibility is to go for an LMP1 style closed cockpit with windscreen wipers and tear-offs that can be removed during pit stops. And that would mean a complete redesign of the cars, plus other unintended consequences.
    If the majority view of drivers is that they’re willing to take the risks of open cockpits, then let those who want to take the risks race, if the majority think the risks are too high, then do it properly and change to closed cockpits rather than introduce a compromise solution with serious flaws.

    1. Johnny stick
      12th April 2017, 3:32

      There was a time when seatbelts didnt exist in F1 cars. Maybe it is time to take the next step and go to enclosed cockpits now. Seems the technology is pushing the speeds too high for open cockpits. Not many convertible sports cars for the masses anymore either.

      1. There are quite a lot of convertibles available. I’m curious why you think there aren’t.

        And speeds are barely higher than they’ve ever been, so why is that a reason for introducing closed cockpits?

    2. This looks more lake an oversized S-duct :p

      (not being an expert but) the more horizontal the screen the more distorted the views for the driver!

      I’d say either ‘fully open cockpit’ or ‘jet fighter canopy’, anything in between is ‘half pregnant’.
      Just pick the day/year you want to move over.

      1. Yeah I completely agree, @f1-liners. The most likely cause of death in the sport by miles is head injury and we’ve seen too many close shaves in the past few years. Eventually, common sense will bring us to the jet fighter solution which I think will look great. All other solutions are insufficient to me.

    3. something between the shield and the halo could be a nice solution. Some sort of fusion between the two but without the halo centre pillar

    4. I agree with you there @beneboy. This Shield doesn’t really solve the issee. It might look better (I am not sure I like it though), it will certainly be better for air flow than the Halo, and it probably offers more protection against smaller bits and does not get in the way for drivers needing to get out of it.

      But visibility for the driver is not solved by this (dirt/oil/rubber buildup, water, condensation, and distortion is even stronger than with the screen) and it probably does not protect agains the most dangerous things like large chunks of a car, tyres or whole cars, unlike the Halo.

      1. @bascb agree pretty much with everything, but I think this solution won’t have as many problems with some of those things that you mention. The device seems to be open on both sides, so condensation shouldn’t be a problem. The debris and water shouldn’t create as much problems as the aero screen, because the angle that it has with the car is much smaller

        1. IF it has air blowing through it, than that would solve condensation @johnmilk. But since it is nearly flat, it will pick up dirt and water quite well, maybe not as much tyre debris.

          Distortion will make it let light through but not allow for seeing much else straight ahead.

    5. I think this screen is style over practicality. Anyone who has a basic understanding of optics can find major problems with this new screen. The angle of the screen is so obtuse that it will be sure to effect a drivers’ vision. If you look through glass at a 90 degree angle all is fine (i.e. look straight at a glass window). Try looking through glass on a sharp angle. Any imperfections in the glass make the view distorted. Then add dirt and rain which are imperfections.

      Looking at glass from an obtuse angle also causes reflections in the light which will make it doubly hard to see. Try looking at your tablet screen from an angle. It find when viewed straight on, but from an angle, you can only see reflections.

      Also, I can’t see how this would have helped Bianchi. The Halo might have helped, but this would have done nothing. I can see this helping in the Massa incident though. Other than that, I can’t remember another incident in the last 20 years where this would have helped.

      I run a trade business and as a result am involved in many safety decisions. Sometimes a solution presents itself to a known problem. On the surface, it looks to solve a problem. However, often the solution presents further risks that make an accident more likely. This seems like one of those times. For example, let’s say the screen reduces the chance that debris will contact the head by 80%. Sounds great. OK, so we have statistically had 1 incident in the last 20 years where this would help. 20 races per year and 20 years = 400 races. That equals a 0.2% reduction in incidences. Let’s look at this from the other side. Let’s take a conservative view and say that this shield makes a crash in any race 0.2% more likely. That equates to 80 more crashes in the next 20 years. Or 4 crashes a year caused by this screen.

      The introduction of this screen might negate the risk in some situations, but it will make F1 more unsafe on the whole. It makes no sense to do this.

      1. I agree with you @mickharrold and I will not question your experience which I think is very valuable in assessing these concepts. The shield I personally think is hopeless and I understand the sport are trying to get away from the jet fighter idea I support due to flipping, smoke inhalation and steaming up.

        However, I find bringing Bianchi into these discussions neither moves the goalposts favourably or unfavourably. His death was a culmination of excessive speed for the conditions initially, but fundamentally having a 20 tonne recovery vehicle causing instant deceleration. No amount of technology will ever permit a human to survive a 130mph to 0mph in 1m. It’s biologically impossible like jumping from a skyscraper. The technology should be judged on the Massa, Surtees and Wilson incidents where canopies would certainly have made a difference.

      2. some good points in there @mickharrold, indeed this screen seems not to solve the major reason why the Halo was proposed, and adds new issues.

    6. This isn’t what the drivers were shown. It’s just a concept by Giorgio Piola.

  5. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Dictators, despots, here I thought we were done with these. Liberty no different from Bernie.

  6. Disappointed about the Turkey return. It was an alright track yes, and Turn 8 was great, but overall I much preferred Sepang and it’s constant threat of thunderstorms.

    So many interesting and mixed up qualifying sessions and races there, nice wide circuit and lots of action even before DRS made it too easy. Passionate fans too! Who remembers them sliding down mud banks in the rain in 2009 or the gasps last year when Lewis broke down. We had multi-21, we had Schumacher and Barrichello scything through the field after the 2001 monsoon, not to mention Perez chasing Alonso to an unlikely victory in 2012. We had both McLarens and Ferrari’s effectively knocked out in Q1 in 2010 and THAT Webber pole.

    To lose Sepang in favour of Istanbul is a big shame in my opinion. 2010 is the only stand-out Turkish GP I can remember and in terms of bringing circuits back I would have preferred them to try and resolve the Nurburgring situation first.

    Or why not try an existing circuit they’ve never raced at like Portimao? Or bring Zandvoort back to F1 standard and see the Dutch fans go crazy over Max?

    I’m just not sure what Turkey has to offer other than Turn 8. But on the positives, at least it’s not India, Korea or Valencia that’s coming back I guess!

    1. LovelyLovelyLuffield
      12th April 2017, 10:04

      One of the threads where the COTD was taken proposed:

      cutting up Istanbul Park section by section

      and reassembling it in Slovenia (I’m more partial to Estonia but I live in neither country, so…)

      It’s an exceedingly outrageous plan, I think. Fortunately it’s contained within the confines of a comments section. But, well, we’ve has more audacious construction projects before, and that circuit is too good to be bombed, so I now summon a maths expert to crunch the numbers and I’ll get my accountant so I can pony up the cash for that.

  7. Cotd is pretty biased Keith. “Erodogan is a criminal etc” oh yeah? There was just an attempted coup against him organized by someone who is living in the USA carte blanche. Living in the USA and protected by the USA government, hmmm, no criminality there I suppose.

    “I wouldn’t go to Turkey if it was all paid for”
    There were more recent attacks by “so called religious people yet the religion in question has clear rules on war and warfare and none of them include terrorist attacks or attacking civilians” in London and Sweden. You aren’t going to visit London either???

    I was just in Turkey with my wife and infant son. We felt no unease at all. There are heavily armed police and soldiers everywhere you go and life seemed to be moving along as normal. As it should.

    The Australian government warns against going to Istanbul. Have you ever looked at the US state department warnings? LOL. Basically EVERYWHERE in the world is warned against.

    The western governments want you to be scared. And apparently it is working. I live my life as I normally would, being aware of my surroundings of course and taking due diligence but I don’t cower in my home as it seems many of you do. Good. Stay in your depressing grey villages and congregate in your local and moan about the world. It is much more pleasant not bumping into your lot when we travel.

    1. Well as long as you felt safe that’s fine then.

      Don’t worry about academics, journalists, opposition politicians, etc losing their jobs, being rounded up and put on trial and imprisoned with no real recourse to justice.

      Sorry to be political but there is more to the issue than how safe it feels to western visitors!

    2. @ibrahim, you seem to be taking a staunchly pro-Erdogan stance here, particularly by repeating the claims by Erdogan that Gulen was involved in the attempted coup.

      The thing is, whilst the Turkish administration submitted a request to have Gulen extradited from the US to Turkey towards the end of last year, their application actually contained not a single piece of evidence that he was involved in the coup attempt or even a single reference to the coup attempt.

  8. “Erodogan is a criminal etc” oh yeah?

    Any political leader who wants to change the law or constitution to prolongue or strengthen his own leadership position, should be distrusted.

    If mr. Erdogan really feels the proposals of the referendum are vital to Turkey as a democracy, he should step down from his position the moment the referendum is accepted. If he doesn’t, you know for sure he’s a crook.

  9. What I find interesting about the Kubica news is that no reason is being given for it. I get the feeling we’re meant to naturally assume that it’s because of his injuries, but that’s not necessarily the case. The ByKolles car has been an absolute disaster so far, barely managing any laps at all. I do wonder whether it’s even going to start the race this weekend.

  10. Keith should be complimented for probably the best “independent F1 blog” available. Please note that “F1” is motor racing, not world politics. Most of today’s comments have been hijacked — diddly to do with the WDC, teams, drivers, F1, our sport. A quick google for “news groups human rights politics” brought up “About 36,600,000 results (0.43 seconds)” appropriate for today’s personal opinions.
    Can we please keep the “Signal to Noise Ratio” of this list in favour of Keith’s success as a motor racing specialist? Thanks — Paul.

    1. I must respectfully disagree. F1 is about much more than motor racing. It is also big business and that means politics is never far out of the picture. I personally welcome the idea that F1 Fanatic can be a place where the critique of F1’s political decisions can take place in a civilized manner. As a fan of the sport, I have many opinions on it’s direction and reputation, and this site is a great place to air these thoughts. Thanks for the COTD nod, Keith!

  11. These posts about politics always bring out very polarizing opinions. Of which, I have too. I say leave the politics to the politicians and lets focus on racing. Outside of my thought that Turkey is a great track with character, I could care less about there political positions. If we allowed government policies to dictate where F1 goes, they would go….nowhere. F1 should be considered something to bring nations together OUTSIDE of political, religous, or philosophical opinions.

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