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Criticism galore for Bahrain Grand Prix’s reinstatement

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The World Motor Sport council voted to get the Bahrain Grand Prix re-instated in a move that was praised by Bahrain’s prince but met with sharp criticism elsewhere.

The Bahrain Grand Prix now pushes the Inaugural Indian Grand Prix to the end of the season. The Indian Grand Prix will now be held in December andd Bahrain Grand Prix takes the 30th October slot.

The Bahrain Crown prince praised the move :

“Having the race back in Bahrain has, indeed, significantly unified the people of Bahrain in this period,” Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa said

“Their love for their country and caring for its interest has motivated them in supporting efforts to bring the race back to Bahrain this year,” he added.

This is ofcourse in stark contrast to what the rest of the world feels. We had recently reported on the democracy protests in Bahrain, what we didn’t report (as we aren’t a political blog) was how the protests were crushed and citizens detained in the kingdom state. Its no wonder that the decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix has people up in anger all over the Internet.

Former FIA president Max Mosely was vocal of his criticism and hoped that the decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix would be reversed. In a piece for the Daily Telegraph, he wrote :

“Surely the line has to be drawn when a sporting event is not mere entertainment in a less-than-perfect country, but is being used by an oppressive regime to camouflage its actions” Max Mosley wrote.

“If a sport accepts this role, it becomes a tool of government. If Formula 1 allows itself to be used in this way in Bahrain, it will share the regime’s guilt as surely as if it went out and helped brutalize unarmed protesters.”

“Having carried out these horrific acts, the Bahrain government wants to clean up its image. That’s where the grand prix comes in. By running the race they hope to show the world the troubles were just a small, temporary difficulty and everything is now back to normal.

“By agreeing to race there, Formula 1 becomes complicit in what has happened. It becomes one of the Bahrain government’s instruments of repression. The decision to hold the race is a mistake which will not be forgotten and, if not reversed, will eventually cost Formula 1 dear.”

Red Bull driver Mark Webber was also critical and till now one of the only f1 drivers who seems to have come out openly against the decision, He wrote on his website :

“In my personal opinion, the sport should have taken a much firmer stance earlier this year rather than constantly delaying its decision in the hope of being able to reschedule it in 2011.

“It would have sent a very clear message about F1’s position on something as fundamental as human rights and how it deals with moral issues.”

“Like it or not, F1 and sport in general isn’t above having a social responsibility and conscience. I hope F1 is able to return to Bahrain eventually but now isn’t the right time.

“As a competitor I do not feel at all comfortable going there to compete in an event when, despite reassurances to the contrary, it seems inevitable that it will cause more tension for the people of that country.

“I don’t understand why my sport wishes to place itself in a position to be a catalyst for that.”

For better or for worse, formula one is motivated by money,  of course we overlook that 30% of the McLaren formula one team is owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain.

However its (commercial interests) working in the other way also, countless petitions have been started to pressurize Red Bull and other consumer dependent companies to pull out of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

FOTA is another key player in this mess, however FOTA’s current president is from the McLaren team who are owned partially by Kingdom of Bahrain, so expectations are low from them.

At this point, it does not seem like we have seen the last of this matter. Its likely to snowball into something huge in the coming days.

Photo : Soman, under CC Attribution/Share Alike 2.5

Written by Formula One Addict

June 5th, 2011 at 8:15 am

Lewis Hamilton plays the wrong kind of race card : Maybe it’s because I’m black‎

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Lewis Hamilton

I am not sure if it was the end of race frustration on Monaco stewards or he figured it was ok to joke about it because he is of african origin, but Lewis Hamilton thinks its funny to joke :

Maybe it’s because I’m black‎

Any respectful person will find these comments extremely tasteless and boorish and unexpected from a formula one race champion. We hope that he apologizes for the fans of the sport. The comments , even if said in jest are not appropriate.

It was a double whammy for Lewis Hamilton during today’s Monaco Grand Prix, who got a drive through penalty for an incident with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and later was slapped with another 20 seconds of penalty for an incident with Pastor Maldonado.

“Out of six races I’ve been to the stewards five times. It’s a joke. It’s an absolute … joke,” Lewis Hamilton said.

“You know, you can’t overtake here and very, very rarely do you ever get an opportunity. I was quite a lot quicker than Massa. I went up the inside and the guy turned so early and just, turned into me. And I tried to go over the kerb to avoid him and we’re stuck together, and so, I mean, it was just…

And of course I get the penalty, which is usual.  He held me up in qualifying and I got the penalty. He turned into me and I got the penalty. And then I went up the inside of Maldonado, and you can see on the screen he turned in a good car length too early to stop me from overtaking him and crashed into me. I mean, it’s just ridiculous. These drivers are absolutely frickin’ ridiculous. It’s stupid.”

When prodded about why he received so many penalties, he jokingly replied :”

“Maybe it’s because I’m black. That’s what Ali G says”

He is said to have apologized to the stewards later, a good thing IMO. Just needs to apologize to the millions of fans he has hurt.

Written by Formula One Addict

May 29th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

‘Team Lotus’ gets to keep its name, ‘Group lotus’ to appeal

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2011 Spanish Grand Prix - Friday<br /> Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain<br /> 20th May 2011<br /> Team Lotus mechanics.<br /> World Copyright: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic<br /> ref: Digital Image _Q0C0118

Team Lotus (the formula one team) won the the right to keep using the name Team Lotus in formula one partially winning the suit against Group Lotus which had licensed the name to Team Lotus in the London High Court.

However the courts found Team Lotus to be in breach of licensing agreements with Group Lotus and ordered them to pay damages. Group Lotus meanwhile didn’t look to be in any mood to acquiescently accept the judgement. They are likely to appeal.

The judgment was a bit weird as the judge gave Group Lotus the right to use te name Lotus in formula one. So at first glance it seems like formula one could theoretically one day have teams by the name of ‘Team Lotus’ and ‘Lotus’. This is one of Group Lotus’s main points for appealing the decision. A statement from Group Lotus read :

“Team Lotus has the right to continue to race in Formula 1 under the name Team Lotus but the effect of the Judgment is that only Group Lotus can use the name “Lotus” on its own in F1.

“Group Lotus is concerned that this aspect of the Judgment will cause confusion in the eyes of spectators and the wider public. Accordingly, Group Lotus is seeking leave to appeal so that the right to use the Lotus brand in Formula 1 is clarified once and for all in the interests of the sport and the fans. Group Lotus and its shareholder Proton Holding Bhd are confident of success on appeal.”

A judgement summary on Group Lotus’s website read :

Note:This is a summary form the Group Lotus website, hence language is not neutral

  • Group Lotus has the right to use the name “Lotus” on its own within Formula 1
  • Group Lotus entitled to race in the historic black and gold livery
  • 1Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT) ruled to be in breach of licence agreement, Group Lotus awarded damages
  • Team Lotus Ventures Limited trademarks revoked for non-use
  • Group Lotus trade marks unaffected
  • Group Lotus has the right to use the Lotus marque on cars for road use.

Meanwhile Team Lotus seemed happy with the judgement they got and are looking forward to their relationship with Caterham cars. A statement on their site gave more perspective :

Team Lotus is very happy that the court case concerning the rights to the Team Lotus name has today come to a positive conclusion and that the team can now focus its full attention on its long-term challenge for honours on and off track. The decision confirms that Team Lotus is the true owner of the full Team Lotus name and the iconic roundel, establishing in law that the Anglo-Malaysian team is the rightful heir to Team Lotus and all associated goodwill.

Team Principal Tony Fernandes gave his comments on behalf of his fellow shareholders Kamarudin Meranun, SM Nasarudin and the 250 strong workforce based in Malaysia and Hingham, UK:

“We are all pleased that it has been clarified that we are the rightful owners of Team Lotus. We have always been confident that the factual evidence we presented would lead to this decision and today’s judgment confirms that belief. We are of course disappointed about the decision that Group Lotus was entitled to end the our licence agreement in 2010. We entered into that contract on the basis that we were beginning a long-term partnership with Group Lotus but unfortunately they then used technical breaches of the merchandising pre-notification process to bring the licence and our partnership to an end. However, my fellow shareholders and I are firm believers that when one door closes another door opens. In the early days of our agreement we realised its termination was inevitable and as events have unfolded the end of the licence has proved positive for us, with many new avenues being opened up as a result.

“We wanted to develop a long-term relationship with Group Lotus and help them sell more cars around the world but that door closed and now we are delighted that we can turn our attention to ensuring success for Caterham Cars on the road and Team Lotus on track. These are two very exciting brands and their future development, bringing these two iconic brands together under the Caterham Team Lotus umbrella, will see us introduce new Caterham cars and a range of new Team Lotus brands into the global marketplace. Now our main aim is to build on the solid foundations that has made Caterham Cars the model for how to run a profitable contemporary car company and add more history to the incredible story of Team Lotus over the coming months and years and with the people, spirit, passion and determination we have in both businesses we know that marks the next stage in our incredible story.”

Photo : Team Lotus Media Images

Written by Formula One Addict

May 27th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Dispute over Ferrari’s 2011 challenger’s name resolved, the F150 is now the F150th Italia (Ferrari 150° Italia)

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Ferrari 150° Italia Testing preseason

This year Ferrari went forward with a non-standard way of naming their 2011 F1 challenger, they called it the F150 to celebrate the 150 years of unification of the country of Italy. This angered the Ford motor company which owns the F150 trademark in the US (and possibly other countries). The F150 is a line of pickup trucks from Ford the latest model being the 2011 Ford F-150.

So Ford decided to take legal action against Ferrari and filed a suit in US courts against Ferrari using their trademark name and sought damages from the Italy based company. Ferrari was swift to respond and doused the legal fire by renaming their 2011 formula one car to the Ferrari 150° Italia. This change made Ford withdraw the legal proceedings which it had initiated in the US.

A statement on Ferrari media site read :

In order to avoid the slightest risk of anyone confusing a Formula 1 car with a pick-up truck, for their part, the men from Maranello have decided that the car will lose the F that precedes the number 150 and which stands for Ferrari, as it has done on numerous occasions when it’s come to giving a car a code name, be it for the race track or the road. It appears that this could have caused so much confusion in the minds of the consumer across the Pond that, at the same time as losing the F, the name will be completely Italianised, replacing the English “th” with the equivalent Italian symbol.

Therefore the name will now read as the Ferrari 150° Italia, which should make it clear even to the thickest of people that the name of the car is a tribute to the anniversary of the unification of our country. Let’s hope the matter is now definitely closed and that we can concentrate on more serious matters, namely ensuring that our car that already seems to be pretty good out of the box, becomes a real winner.

Pretty tongue in cheek 🙂 , don’t you think ?

Written by Formula One Addict

March 5th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Bahrain grand prix in doubt over democracy protests, Bernie Ecclestone puts the ball in crown price’s court

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Bahrain Grand Prix

The Bahrain Grand Prix was meant to be the grand opening F1 race to the 2011 formula one season.However pro democracy protests (much less publicized than those of Egypt) seem to be set to derail the 2011 season opener.

The unrest finally reached F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, Ecclestone has put the ball in the Crown Prince’s court saying that his decision would be final on the Bahrain Grand Prix

‘I haven’t spoken to the Crown Prince this morning so I don’t know what’s happened there. If anybody’s going to sort it out he’s the guy to do it. ‘He would decide whether or not it’s safe for us to be there.

‘Let’s wait until Tuesday and see if this one’s going to take place before we decide what to do. Maybe we could postpone Bahrain or run it later in the year.’

Meanwhile noises became more and more clear that all the F1 teams are in unison against the Bahrain Grand Prix going through. Apparent safety concerns have made the teams wary of coming to Bahrain. Mercedes’s Norbert Haug was quoted as saying: ‘The safety of our employees is more important than anything else’

Mark Webber was more vocal about the situation commenting on the loss of lives in the protests :

“When you hear of people losing their lives, this is a tragedy.

“It’s probably not the best time to go there for a sporting event. They have bigger things, bigger priorities.”  Mark Webber said

Photo : Soman, under CC Attribution/Share Alike 2.5

Written by Formula One Addict

February 20th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

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