The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for the ‘f1’ tag

BBC drop Monaco GP to pick up Canadian GP – Full BBC/Sky F1 Coverage for 2013

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The BBC and Sky have started to make announcements about their coverage of Formula 1 for the 2013 season. Sky basically have announced that it is very much status quo. David Croft & Martin Brundle remain as the voice and face of the sport as expected. Simon Lazenby keeps his spot as presenter despite criticism. Damon Hill and Antony Davidson remain and Johnny Herbert returns to the channel after joining early in 2012 and becoming a firm favourite. Georgie Thompson stays as well and Ted Kravitz leads the pit team with Natalie Pinkham getting drivers interviews. So as expected Sky very much have kept with its team from 2012 with only Herbert added to the opening race team and he had become a mainstay since early in 2012.

Over at the BBC though decisions had to be made as Jake Humphrey quit the BBC to become the face of Football on BT Vision. Well they’ve made their first decision as surprisingly Suzi Perry has replaced him as the anchor. Most thought Lee McKensie would be promoted but they’ve gone for Suzi Perry – who has worked on Moto GP for the channel although she quit that role in part because of the excess travel involved – so coming back to do F1 doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but of course presenting Moto GP and F1 is two very different things – with two very different salaries.

No word yet from the BBC on whether Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard will be returning but with Sky having named their line-up there doesn’t seem to be room for them unless they went to a three-man booth and personally I wouldn’t like to see that.

The other thing we now know is which channel will be showing which races. The full calendar is below:

17 March Australian Grand Prix – Sky
24 March Malaysian Grand Prix – Sky
14 April Chinese Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
21 April Bahrain Grand Prix – Sky
12 May Spanish Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
26 May Monaco Grand Prix – Sky
09 June Canadian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
30 June British Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
7 July German Grand Prix = Sky
21 July ‘A.N. Other European Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
28 July Hungarian Grand Prix – Sky
25 August Belgian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
08 September Italian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
22 September Singapore Grand Prix – Sky
06 October Korean Grand Prix – Sky
13 October Japanese Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
27 October Indian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
03 November Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Sky
17 November United States Grand Prix – Sky
24 November Brazilian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky

The biggest difference is that the BBC have used their first three picks on Britain and Brazil again but Monaco has gone with Canada having gone to the Beeb. An interesting choice as the Canadian Grand Prix has long been one of the very best and is held in prime-time. The Italian GP also goes to the BBC this time around (guessing Australia, USA, Monaco were Sky’s first three picks) but overall you’d probably say that the BBC are getting a better quality of race this time around.

The July 21 race is expected to be either Turkey or possibly a return of either the Austrian or French Grand Prix. I’d love to see the Austrian race return as I think the A1 Ring brought us a few really good races as the track as several really good overtaking opportunities. This race has been added to the calendar because the second race in the United States (New Jersey) has been postponed until 2014.

Last year was a thriller for Formula 1 fans and if next year can be as good then we’ll be in for a fantastic year of Motorsport. Whether you watch on the Beeb or on Sky the coverage should be some of the very best in the world.

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December 22nd, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Other Sport

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I have to disagree with a Lib Dem MP…

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So this lunchtime when I read this article entitled BBC bosses face grilling from MPs over controversial Formula One rights’ sharing deal I wondered who was the MP who has caused a stir. The answer would be Lib Dem MP for Bath Don Foster.

Now I have written before about what I think of the BBC/Sky deal and it is not ideal – not by a long shot. However it is pretty clear how the deal went down. There is enough out there that you can quite easily cobble together a timeline for what happened but Don Foster doesn’t seem overly keen on reading up the background to the matter. He has written to the BBC Chief asking for answers and has said that, ‘The least fans deserve is a clear account of what happened.’

Well Don. Let me help.

The BBC had it’s budget cut by the coalition government. One that you are a part of due to your Liberal Democrat links. Therefore the BBC had to save 20% from its sport budget. This meant is essence one of the big four of Wimbledon, MOTD, Six Nations and F1 would in all likelihood have to go. Wimbledon and MOTD were pretty much safe – the belief inside of BBC Sport is that they are the two crown jewels of their yearly output (obviously Olympics, World Cup, European Championships are not yearly events). Therefore Six Nations Rugby or F1 had to go.

The RFU have reached an agreement with the BBC over the Six Nations rights but have yet to announce them. Therefore F1 was on the outside looking in but the BBC had award winning coverage and they wanted to see if there was a way to keep the sport on the channel. Neither ITV or Channel Five showed too much interest but Channel 4 was around but wasn’t keen on starting in 2012 preferring to begin in 2013. A share between Channel 4 and the BBC was possible but being a commercial partner Channel 4 would have wanted the premier races and they still wanted a 50/50 split of costs. This was not acceptable to the BBC.

Therefore the BBC approached Sky to talk to them about a deal that would save around £25m-30m for the channel but still giving them half the races live. Sky who have this year showed much more interest in the sport knowing the current Concorde Agreement was up at the end of 2012 were keen on doing a deal. Financially it made sense for all three parties. The BBC has ten races live a year and the option to run full delayed coverage of all the other races in prime-time in the evening. Sky has every race live and will include many of the support races. Bernie gets a lot of cash. Everybody is a winner.

Whilst some – well many – well say that those who cannot afford a Sky subscription are big losers I wonder where was Don Foster or other MPs when all live Cricket left free-to-air TV? This deal is far better for the F1 fan than it is for the cricket fan. There is no live cricket on free-to-air TV any more only highlights. At least this way F1 fans can still watch every race – in full – on free-to-air TV albeit only half of them live with the others delayed but shown the same day either on BBC1 or BBC2 or behind the red button and with the digital switchover set to be completed next year then everyone will have red button and interactive options.

The one line that really got my goat in the report was ‘He says the deal has led to disappointment among angry fans, who would miss out on seeing their idols such as Brits Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.’ Well Don. They won’t be missing out. Remember every single race will be played in full on free-to-air television on the same day. With half of those races live and half of them delayed by up to five hours.

As they say on the BBC News on Saturday evenings ‘If you don’t want to know the result then look away now’ – it is easy to keep away from a race result and watch it in full without knowing it later in the day. Spend the afternoon with your kids or with the other half. Go out for a walk. Yes I know it’s not perfect – not by a long shot – but this was the only option available as the BBC were ready to pull out of the sport completely and had they done so Sky may have swooped in and taken all the races live and left only highlights up for grabs.

I’d have preferred it if the whole championship would have continued live and uninterrupted on the BBC but that wasn’t on the table. We have seen what a butchers of Athletics Channel 4 has made and after seeing that I suspect Bernie is thanking his high heavens that Channel 4 are nowhere near his sport. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and it deserves the best coverage possible and in the UK that means Sky Sports and/or the BBC and that is what we have got.

So there is no need to find out how this all went down. The information is out there. Use google and stop wasting time.

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September 2nd, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Other Sport,Politics

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This ‘Keep F1 on the BBC’ e-petition rubbish…

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I saw yesterday that there was an e-petition to keep F1 free to air in this country and lots of F1 fans are getting rather excited by this. However when you take a step back and think about this clearly and rationally you see that it is complete and utter codswallop (seriously love that word) and people should think about what the government would really do.

If the e-petition gets the 100,000 signatures it needs to get debated in parliament are MPs really going to put the F1 calendar on the protected events list? Is the F1 season of national importance that brings the country together? Does it have the history of the Grand National? Does the sport pack out pubs like the World Cup or European Championships? Does an F1 race transfix a nation for a fortnight like Wimbledon does?

No it doesn’t – and I’m saying this as a huge F1 nut. I’d love the sport to stat right where it is for all the races. I think the BBC’s coverage has been second to none and it enables people who don’t have Sky to watch it. Now I do have Sky so I won’t be effected really but my sister and husband do not and they will not pay for Sky so they’ll lose several races live from next year and that is not right. However is this something that the government should be taking seriously at the moment?

Er…let me think about that…no.

The Eurozone is in such a fragile state that the economy could go down the tubes and we might get caught up in it despite being outside that bubble. The United States of America’s economy is nearly as bad and we have people thinking that parliament need to talk about what channel Formula 1 is on. Sometimes I just don’t know what planet some people live on and where their priorities lie.

I would love F1 to stay on the Beeb. That would be the ideal solution to this but does F1 have more national significance than say The Ashes? It really doesn’t. There is no way that any bill would pass the House of Commons to put the whole F1 calendar on the protected events list. There is more chance of me marrying Sophie Ellis-Bextor (yes the same metaphor again but hey it’s Sophie Ellis-Bextor) than there is of that e-petition ever being debated and resulting in a bill that ensures the whole season of F1 will be available to anyone who has a television and an aerial.

The world is looking at ruin and some people think time needs to be found for F1.

Give me bleedin’ strength.

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August 5th, 2011 at 11:36 am

Posted in Neil Rants,Politics

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Jenson Button hoax that sucked me in – some people are just sick

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I was idly wading through Digital Spy this evening when I saw a tweet saying that Jenson Button had been in a serious accident and to pray for him. I was confused. A quick check on his official website though and it seems as though the story was true.

Jenson Button's Official Site 23:21

I tweeted to say the story was on his official website so that it was seemingly true. You generally pretty much believe what is written on an official website although the fact that he was in a quote ‘critical’ condition but might still race tomorrow seemed way odd and that should have got the alarm bells ringing faster than they did.

However within a few mins someone has debunked the story and had found this article on the Top Gear website which showed exactly the same photo as was used in the piece on Jenson’s Official Website.

Clearly a hack job.

So first of all it taught me a lesson not to jump to conclusions – even on an official website as they are usually gospel. Secondly I didn’t question it mostly because I just didn’t think that someone would make up such a story and go to such lengths to portray it as real. Sometimes I’m just stunned what people will do.

To end apologies to all who read my tweets on the issue for a few minutes before it became clear it was a hoax. Grave error from me and lets hope we see Jenson fighting fit and surging through the field tomorrow (and hopefully a spot of rain in the race too just for fun).

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July 30th, 2011 at 10:33 pm

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The Daily Mail just will not let the BBC win – more on F1 moving to Sky

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The Daily Mail have a go at the BBC at every opportunity. Top Gar is a personal bug bear that they seem to have and any story that shows Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May or anything associated with the show in a bad light is game on for a vitriolic piece. Another thing that have banged on about is the cost of Formula One and the fact it’s not a proper sport and the way they treated Jonathan Legard was a disgrace (yes I’m looking at you Charles Sale) but now that F1 is on it’s way to Sky with only a part-time home on the corporation what do they do…?

They get Murray Walker to write a big piece for them to say how sad it is that F1 is leaving for Sky. The mind boggles.

Unsurprisingly I agree with a lot of what Murray Walker had to say and one rather interesting tidbit was the news that he was approached by ITV the day after the announcement that the BBC had lost the gig. He knew that he was going across to the other channel and that leaves many questions to be answered about the current BBC on-air talent.

I think it is safe to say that the name that will be mentioned most is that of Martin Brundle – who has been the only constant on the UK coverage since 1997 (albeit he has missed a race or two here and there). Brundle is now lead commentator for the Beeb and is on a fair whack of money but is out of contract at the end of this year. It is highly doubtful that the BBC will pay him the money he wants to only do ten live races a year. Sky would pay him but would they want him as a lead commentator or do they have Ben Edwards lined up for that? If so would Brundle want to take a perceived step down in role?

All very possible. As for Jake Humphrey then expect him to stay with the BBC although him carrying on with F1 might be in a little bit of jeopardy. David Coulthard may well not be wanted by Sky and Eddie Jordan is very unlikely to be asked to make the move. Ted Kravitz as I said yesterday is surely the only other member of the BBC team that would interest Sky but it is very early days.

As for who’ll anchor the Sky coverage well I have no idea but Georgie Thompson fronted A1GP on the channel and will surely be in the mix.

Going back to the title though it does seem as though whatever the BBC does the Daily Mail will rip them for it. If we had the technology and the know-how to go into a parallel universe we could see every single situation played out by the Beeb and I’m sure the Daily Mail will lambast them every single time. Sometimes I must say the media bias really goes get on my tits.

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July 30th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

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F1 sells it’s soul

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This morning F1 along with BBC and Sky Sports released the following statement:

All races, qualifying and practice sessions live on Sky Sports across TV, Online and Mobile and Tablet devices

Half the races and qualifying sessions remain live on BBC TV, Online and Mobile including key races such as the British Grand Prix, Monaco Grand Prix and the final race of the season.

Extensive BBC highlights on TV, Online and Mobile, of all races and qualifying sessions that BBC is not covering live

Build- up coverage of each Grand Prix on BBC News, Sky Sports News and Sky News

Extensive multi-platform coverage including red button, bbc.co.uk/sport and skysports.com

That is exactly the news I wanted to wake up to on a Friday morning. Oh no wait. It’s not. It is awful news. Now I have Sky Sports so it isn’t exactly a huge deal as I’ll still get to watch every race live but at times I’m not a selfish soul and I know so many people who do not have Sky who love F1 who will be absolutely gutted by the news.

The mis-mash of some races live on the BBC and every race live on Sky just isn’t right nor is it fair. The sport has always had a home on free-to-air television and there is little doubt the whole calendar could have been shown live somewhere on free-to-air TV but clearly when it came down to it Sky were happy to kill a sport’s future and F1 themselves were happy to kill the sport in this country.

Whilst F1 are saying that having half the races on free-to-air TV will still satisfy their commercial interests I question this as people will give up on the sport. F1 has had a long hard fight to become popular again but it was getting there due to a mix of good coverage and great racing. Now though that good will has gone.

In commentary news it is really interesting that Martin Brundle is out of contract and will surely be wanted by Sky for their coverage. Whether they want him as the main commentator or if they want him to revert to a co-commentator or analyst role we’ll have to wait and see. I suspect Brundle and Ted Kravitz are the only members of the on-air team that Sky Sports will have legitimate interest in but time will tell.

What time won’t tell is how annoyed I am. I can tell you the answer right now. Very.

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July 29th, 2011 at 8:41 am

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Hello. My name is Charles Sale and I hate Martin Brundle (and to a lesser degree David Coulthard)

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Charles Sale is a funny man. His column in the Daily Mail is rarely worth readsing but every so often he delivers a gem that I’m pointed to on a forum somewhere. This happened this morning over on the F1 Thread at Digital Spy. Charles Sale is meant to be the man in the know about all things TV and sport related but half the times his ITK pieces turn out to be wider of the mark than David Beckham’s Euro 2004 Penalty miss v Portugal.

So what has old Charlie been saying this time…?

BRUNDLE AND JORDAN SQUABBLE OVER GRIDWALK

There are tensions in the BBC F1 team around the pre-race gridwalk which has been Martin Brundle’s domain and which he wants to continue, even it means a dash back to the TV booth at Silverstone to start his race commentary.

And the all-powerful Brundle has pulled rank at least once this season on his pundit colleague Eddie Jordan, who is keen to ask the questions on the grid himself.

Sensational news. Eddie Jordan wants to do more gridwalking because it is an important part of the coverage but Martin Brundle prefers to do it because you know – he’s been doing it for the best part of a decade and a half and he is critically acclaimed. Brundle is seriously fantastic on the gridwalk, asks the right questions and doesn’t waffle on. Without a doubt Brundle is the gridwalk king and as long as the commentary box box is near enough to the grid he should do it every single time.

End.

However the piece short sharp story might be even worse.

OPINION SPLIT OVER BBC COMMENTARY TEAM

The BBC say the response from F1 fans to the celebrity commentary partnership of Martin Brundle and David Coulthard this season has been hugely positive.

But former driver John Watson is among those who much prefer listening to the combination of David Croft and Anthony Davidson on 5 Live and Watson calls BBC ditching their former lead commentator Jonathan Legard as ‘frankly shameful’.

How. Just how does the story sync up with the title? Opinion is not split. One person says they don’t like it and that equals a split opinion? Also when are Martin Brundle and David Coulthard celebrities first and foremost? Both are former racing drivers and one has been in the commentary box for his 15th straight season. Was Murray Walker and Martin Brundle a ‘celebrity commentary partnership’? No they weren’t. Yet more bile from Sale who has long hated Brundle and blames him solely for the BBC dumping the much-maligned and not liked Jonathan Legard and tries to find every conceivable angle to lampoon Brundle from.

His full column can be read here but it’s mostly shite. If I ever became a national newspaper columnist (yeah like that is ever going to happen) I’d like to think that I wouldn’t let personal feelings and bias get in the way of facts. I know a man though who doesn’t conform to this ideal…

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July 12th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

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The BBC has NOT axed F1.

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UPDATED: July 29 – F1′s new contract – BBC/Sky Sports to share coverage – Article there >>>>>F1 Sells it’s soul

We woke up this morning to the following front page of The Sunday Times claiming that the BBC has axed F1.

Sunday Times Front Page 19/06/11

Sunday Times Front Page 19/06/11

Now I’m not saying that I have a better knowledge of the inner workings of the BBC than one of the most famous media publications in the world but in this instance I do.

The figures and conjecture in the piece are wildly inaccurate. The contract is worth £200m over five years and not £300m over the same period. That is a whopping £100m inaccuracy just to open up. Also when the piece says that the average race gets between 2-4m viewers that is wrong.

So far this season the average race has 4.7m viewers and we have had several early morning races as well. The Monaco GP averaged 6.1m and the Canadian GP despite the rain delay peaked at over 8m viewers and had the race not been transferred over to BBC2 it may have averaged over 8m viewers. These figures do not include the 1m or so listeners on BBC Radio 5live per weekend.

The piece is penned by the Sunday Times arts editor Richard Brooks who has long been anti anything that isn’t high brow. The Sunday Times is also owned by Rupert Murdoch whose BSkyB company are interested in both acquiring the rights to show the sport in the UK and in buying the sport itself. The main issue with this is F1 as it stands often goes head-to-head with football and that doesn’t seem ideal for Murdoch.

What is true however is that F1 may well leave the BBC. The point is it hasn’t as yet and nor have the BBC exercised their break clause so F1 will be on the BBC in 2012. The BBC have a break clause still that could negate the 2013 and 2014 seasons from being shown on the cooperation.

BBC Sport need to save 20% of their budget and that in real terms means one of the big three lives events will have to go. Wimbledon looks safe as the BBC and Wimbledon have a long history and relationship. Wimbledon officials know that if they left the Beeb and went to Sky then tennis as a sport in this country would die. So they will take less and make it up with their TV contracts for the event in other countries – namely the USA.

So it looks like a straight toss-up between F1 and the Six Nations for the chop and it could go either way. ITV would be interested in both events as even though they cut F1 in 2008 by activating their own break clause, the resurgence of the sport in terms of viewers would make them keen to take the sport again – as long as it was at the right price. The same is true on the Six Nations. If ITV could put the games in prime-time then they would be very interested. A game on a Friday night and then two games on a Saturday night would bring in a tonne of ABC1 viewers – the type every broadcaster is chasing.

So whilst the future of F1 on the BBC is less than assured. The piece in the Sunday Times which is behind a paywall therefore no link from me provided is less than accurate and in all honesty not worth reading or caring about.

UPDATED: July 29 – F1′s new contract – BBC/Sky Sports to share coverage – Article there >>>>>F1 Sells it’s soul

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June 19th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Other Sport

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Formula 1 is boring

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If you type in ‘Formula 1 is boring’ into google you get 5.25million results. If you think Formula 1 is boring then you aren’t a fan of any sport – period. F1 in 2011 has adopted some new rules to help enhance the race for both drivers and the viewer and boy are they working. The ability to open up their rear-wing in certain places if they are challenging for an overtake, KERS and new tyres that are basically worse have all been brought it and whilst the rear-wing DRS seems to be a bit artificial at times – you can’t say that it is boring.

The races this year have all been better than the same races last year and even Monaco was terrific and had it not been for the red flag then the final five laps would have been immense. Last night though after a very lengthy red flag delay for extremely heavy rain we got what we were robbed of in Monaco. A faster car chasing down the leader for the final five laps and this time we got the overtake – albeit because Vettel slid off the track. Had he not then we’d have seen Button go for it in the last corner I am sure and maybe even stealing the victory on the drag to the line the way Massa stole fifth from Kobayashi.

I have always watched F1. I may have had moments where I didn’t watch as intently but it is fast becoming very high on the Neil sport scene for an event that I do not want to miss.

One final point I want to make is with regards to the coverage on the BBC. Over they winter they dumped veteran Jonathan Legard from the commentary role because he and Martin Brundle just weren’t gelling. There was a lot of talk about it and I posted a blog on the Brundle v Legard debate months ago. Well Brundle has stepped up to lead commentary with David Coulthard joining him in the box. Now whilst the commentary is certainly different I can hardly fault it. It is a very different style but it works and the casual F1 fan will enjoy it more than Legard’s ramblings. Who on Earth likes people’s rambles anyway…?

Back in the days when Jonathan Legard was leading the comms then twitter would blow up every race day with how awful he is and he’d always be trending. However Brundle doesn’t get that as it is clear people aren’t getting half as annoyed by him as they did Legard. Whilst it may not be everyone’s cup of tea it is pretty clear that the majority believe the change has worked for the better – and for that the BBC must be applauded. As for allowing Eddie Jordan to keep wearing these shirts…

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June 13th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

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Bahrain Grand Prix is off – end – well until next year – maybe

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So for once FOTA seem to be the good guys. They decided earlier in the week that the decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix was not a good one and effectively forced the hand of the FIA and the race is now off again and will not happen this year.

The 2012 race is still on the provisional calendar but that is obviously not set in concrete. The whole situation in the country will you would have thought had to completely die down either way or the other (hopefully in the favour of the arab spring winning out).

My main issue though is what on earth drove the FIA to reinstate the race in the first place? I know the answer is money but there are more important things than money out there and one of those things is doing the right thing. It was never the right thing to go to Bahrain in this climate for any party except the Bahraini government.

The safety of all the F1 personal could certainly not be guaranteed and without a doubt the government would have had an insane clampdown on the arab spring before the race to ensure that when the world was watching they wouldn’t see what was really going on.

The FIA come out of this looking like money-grabbing tossers whilst FOTA come out looking like a sensible group of people – which isn’t always the case. I love F1 but when it starts putting the pursuit of money over people’s safety both inside and outside F1 and doing the right thing then I quietly shake my head is disbelief.

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June 10th, 2011 at 9:41 am

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