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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

Jenson Button committed to end career at McLaren Mercedes

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Jenson Button of McLaren

Jenson Button is a loyal Brit, he has expressed his willingness and his inclination to continue with his stint at McLaren and to end his formula one career at McLaren only. The Brit has a contract with McLaren till 2012. Fresh from is title victory with Brawn GP, Jenson Button had joined the McLaren team in the 2010 formula one season.

Button said that he was very happy with McLaren and was enjoying his time spent with the McLaren formula one team.

Button was quoted as saying

“When I finish racing here, I won’t be racing in Formula 1 anymore. I’m very happy here. I want to enjoy my racing and I’m really enjoying my time here. I can’t see any reason to be anywhere else.”

“It’s a position that most drivers would love to be in and I’ve worked very hard for it. I might be around for three years, five years…I don’t know.”

McLaren Team principal Martin Whitmarsh seemed happy hearing reports of Jenson’s fondness for the team, he was quoted as saying :

“If Jenson says he is totally committed and wants to do x more years, then I suspect that we could quickly come to an agreement.

He’s a tremendous asset to the team and when we get around to that, I hope that it will be a quick and easy conversation.”

‘Where does Lewis Hamilton fit into all this ?’ is a good question though, is he also committed to the McLaren team or is he looking for a switch to one of the better teams at this stage (Redbull racing comes from the rumourville). I remember reading at a few places that Lewis Hamilton might decide to swtich to the faster Red Bull cars. Whether  or not there is any basis for the rumours, only time will be able to tell.

Martin Whitmarsh also talked about the plans for the Turkish Grand Prix :

Winning in China was a fantastic reward for all the hard effort that’s been undertaken both at the race track and at the McLaren Technology Centre to turn MP4-26 into a race winner.

“We’re excited and encouraged by the pace and consistency that both drivers have shown in the opening three flyaway races, but the return to Europe brings fresh challenges.

“We’re under no illusions that we need to improve our qualifying and race pace if we are to remain a threat at the front.

“Additionally, many teams will be readying significant upgrade packages for the Turkish Grand Prix – so nobody can afford to sit still. For this race, we’ll be evaluating a number of small modifications, which include some aerodynamic refinements to the bodywork, during Friday practice.

“Our pace of development is what can win us this championship — and we go into Turkey determined to ensure our upgrades deliver practical gains and are able to confer a useful margin to both drivers.

“Our one-two finish in Turkey last year was one of our most exciting races – and the memory of that result will doubtless spur on the whole team next weekend.”

 

Image: McLaren Media

Written by Formula One Addict

April 29th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Lewis Hamilton gets stunning win at Chinese Grand Prix

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It was a breathtaking win for Lewis Hamilton where he outwitted and outraced Formula One World Championship leader Sebastien Vettel by overtaking him with just 4 laps remaining in the race. Although with an atrocious beard like that I was hoping he wouldn’t win 🙂

Lewis Hamilton was on an unconventional three stop strategy and in the end that seemed to have made the difference with his McLaren outclassing the Red Bull of Vettel. The fresher tyres ensured he was able to overtake the Red Bull. It was nice to see strategy again playing a part in the races after the Red Bulls have truly shown technological dominance on the racetrack (Interpretation of Rules again ?, someone please enlighten !). Sebastien Vettel has already won the 1st 2 formula one races and does seem to be on-track for a successful title defense.

Mark Webber was third and Jenson Button took the 4th place. Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg outclassed Michael Schumacher once again and was 5th while the veteran German could manage only 8th. Questions are again being asked about the German’s comeback decision and whether it was a disastrous decision to make. Personally I am proud of him, it takes courage to put your legacy on the line like he has 🙂

Sorry for the short and intermittent updates, too much work these day ! But like all things , this too shall pass !

Force India Formula One : Poised for 2011 season

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Vijay Mallya had one aim for his formula one team, he wanted to bring his team to a level that would ensure a podium finish for the team at the first Indian Grand Prix and quite frankly they are almost there. Mr. Vijay Mallya has not run the Force India F1 team as a side business but like a sport entity should be run, with passion, determination and ofcourse force. He also has the distinction of being one of the few people with top level categories for them 🙂 .

This is just a small article showcasing how the team looks for the 2011 season, the team calls its 2011 challenger the VJM04.

The VJM04 Unleashed–Force India’s 2011 challenger !

vjm04-testing-pits

The team seems all charged up for the 2011 season, while poster boy Adrian Sutil was retained for the 2011 season as primary driver, Nico Hulkenberg will be the reserve driver and Brit blood (Scottish for some 😛 ) Paula Di Resta has come into the team as the secondary driver. Vitantonio Liuzzi is out of the team (surprised ? ).

force india f1 drivers sutil hulkenberg and resta

Testing has been proceeding well for the team and Adrian Sutil seemed happy with the recently concluded testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Adrian’s comments after the test were :

Adrian Sutil
A very productive day in general for us. We made some good progress with the balance and we’ve now got a basic set-up that feels smooth and easy to drive. I also got a run on the supersoft tyres, which we didn’t manage to do yesterday. Of course we also put the KERS on the car. It ran reliably and allowed us to complete the full test programme: very promising for this point in testing. It’s still early days for the system but we have got ourselves into a good rhythm and can feed this back into the factory to get some more performance for the next test.

Dominic Harlow, circuit engineering director also added his thoughts :

A good final day’s testing concentrating on KERS set-up, reliability and also some aero tests that remained on our program. Adrian also looked at some ride height sweeps and a few procedural checks. It’s been a productive four days for the team and overall the car seems to be performing reliably and according to expectations in all the major areas.

The comments are very much in contrast with those of the McLaren pair of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. In other news, Martin Whitmarsh has issued a whip to the  various drivers taking gripes at the new F1 tyre suppliers Pirelli.

“Being a tire supplier is a thankless task,” Martin Whitmarsh said.

“The quick deterioration is a characteristic, requested by the teams and organization, to improve the show.”

Images : Force India F1 Media

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton admit McLaren has had some issues in 2011

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Jenson button in Pits McLaren

After the high of last year it looks like its going to be a bumpy ride for the Brit team McLaren and their all Brit duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. After the recent rounds of testing completed , both drivers seemed skeptical of their car’s performance and acknowledged that the car needed to improve for them to have a chance in the championship.

Jenson Button was not happy about the setup work due to the short testing period that teams are getting. He commented that the improvement done to the car till now wont be enough once the formula one season starts.

“It’s tricky because we haven’t had enough testing in the car to do proper set-up work which is disappointing. It’s been bitty in testing. We have improved it but not enough.

“The next test is really important to us to see what this car can do and hopefully we will be ready for the first race. If we went racing now we wouldn’t be quite ready because we have not done enough testing.”

Lewis Hamilton was also disappointed about the small testing windows and the fact that McLaren is playing catch up to its rivals in testing.

“One day we did only 38 laps. That’s nothing major but we have had mechanical issues at the back of the car and that has really hampered us. In the last test we got 170 laps so we have picked up but we are behind on mileage and we can’t catch it up on the testing left. But hopefully it will not hinder us too much.”

In other news the Bahrain Grand Prix though cancelled due to democracy protests in the country and subsequent bloodshed could be back in the 2011 season itself at a later date. Keep reading for more. In an interview, Bernie Ecclestone said :

“I’m hoping upon hope that things settle peacefully in Bahrain and we can find a slot later on in the year,” said Ecclestone.

“I don’t know how likely there will be peace, but if there is then we will find a way.

“We will have a look and see what we can do, how we can swap things around a bit. Maybe we can change it with Brazil, or something like that.

“But forget August. It’s too hot for the public to sit in the grandstand at 40-odd degrees .”

Image : McLaren Media

Written by Formula One Addict

March 3rd, 2011 at 6:52 pm

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