Sutil returns, SKY UK partially coming to their senses, Bahrain promoters launch 2013’s slogan, Daimler Benz shareholders criticise spend on F1

TJ13 announcement

We have 2 new recruits for the TJ13 team who will be bringing you ‘On this day’ once a week each. I am working with Samora Michael from Keyna and Kevin Russell – who I’m sorry I don’t have his global location yet (and he is currently enjoying a holiday) – on how to do the research and present us with our multi media review of F1 history.

Anyone who wishes to try their hand at this, please contact me at thejudge13@hotmail.co.uk

Sutil returns

The team getting a reputation for being somewhat dithery and making 11th hour decisions is back at the top of TJ13’s news roundup. It was announced today that Adrian Sutil will drive the force India car Tue-Thur in Barcelona with Jules Bianchi taking the wheel on Friday.

This will be the first time Adrian steps into an F1 car since his criminal conviction for assaulting one of the Lotus team members. The German was given a suspended 18-month sentence and fined 200,000 euros ($267,000) last year for a post-Chinese Grand Prix incident in a Shanghai nightclub in April 2011 that left a Renault team executive nursing cuts from a champagne glass.

Bob – builder of cars Fearnley – having defended the financial health of the team recently was not called upon to make a statement, instead a ‘spokesperson’ for the team said this. “No, it’s not a shoot-out, it’s just two drivers helping the team with this week’s test. I don’t think it should be perceived as such, that’s not the intention.”

The topic of Force India’s driver line up has become as tortuous an affair as Bernie’s many about turns on the 2013 F1 calendar. There has to be a fairly significant reason why this decision has not been made. Available drivers and the funding they will bring has been known now for weeks and the team is hardly under pressure from a big external sponsor exerting influence on this matter.

Final speculation for the delay is over to you the TJ13 readers

Bahrain sell out

I have friends who know I’m a big F1 fan who don’t follow the sport. During the Bahrain weekend in 2012 the number of texts and comments I received from them after catching the main news bulletins was stunning. Their impression was that F1 was in the middle of the Arab uprising and thought it was crazy F1 had decided to go there.

bahrain pic
Rightly or wrongly that was the impression given by the media and F1 was indeed damaged by the footage shown. This was compounded by the petty and stupid decisions by Mr. E and FOM TV to exclude Force India cars from any coverage in the qualifying sessions – all because they chose to not run in FP2 and ensure they had safe passage to their hotel.

Today, one of the 50 or so strong Al Khalifa brethren, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa who runs the Sakhir circuit, popped his head above the parapet today to begin the promotion of this years Bahrain GP which is now just 60 days away.

Having promoted the 2012 fiasco under the political slogans ‘UniF1ed’ and ‘Back on track’, Salman revealed the inspirational marketing concept that will set the backdrop for this years event – ‘Imagine your moment’.

bahrain 2
He explains the thinking, “There is always a special moment or two for whoever attends the Bahrain Grand Prix, be it on the track or off of it, and we would like all the fans to ‘Imagine Your Moment’ and feel the excitement of our upcoming Grand Prix,”

Despite TV evidence that suggested otherwise, Isa bin Salman claimed the 2012 attracted ‘up to 70,000 people’ and believes the, “BIC hopes to come close to matching its biggest-ever turnout to the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend of 100,000 fans in 2010.”

Other’s cited attendance for the 3 days under 30,000.

I’ve been following the events in Bahrain closely since the 2012 F1 weekend and nearer the time we’ll discuss it further. Suffice to say the Al Khalifa gang have jailed many apparent professional people for very long sentences, accusing them of being Iranian insurgents.

Last week, The Telegraph reported a 16-year-old boy was shot dead by Bahrain security forces during clashes that marked the second anniversary of a Shia-led uprising against the kingdom’s Sunni rulers. Demonstrations, mostly staged in Shia villages, turned violent when police fired shotguns and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Protesters chanted “Down Hamad” in reference to the king and threw petrol bombs at the security forces.

sandhurst

Today it was announced that Mons Hall at Sandhurst – the elite college for trainee British Army officers – which was named after the 1914 battle that saw thousands killed, will be renamed the King Hamad Hall after he gave £3 million towards its refurbishment.

Jeremy Corbyn, member of parliament said on Sunday: “There’s something deeply ironic in renaming a hall that was in memory of soldiers who died in a tragic battle in the First World War in honour of a king who is routinely committing human rights abuses, including the shooting of demonstrators. I’m appalled.

“We should not be accepting money from such people. It’s simply wrong. They are in effect trying to buy our silence.”

My reading of the post F1 event analysis was that the majority Shia protesting population were pretty poorly organised in their opposition of the minority ‘Sunni’ ruling family. Fortunately, just one person was killed, though internet pictures of his dead body lying on a roof were quite shocking.

Sometimes in life, it is pertinent to take care when making accusations. Should this year there be an influx of Shia insurgents from Iran then the pictures we saw in 2012 may appear tame in comparison of what may be yet to come.

SKYF1 UK see’s partial sense

I watched a recording of the Friday SKY UK’s offering of the F1 show (UK) today (shows how eagerly I anticipated their first of the new season). It appears SKY have partially come to their senses and ditched a presenter that was never going to be popular with F1 fans. Georgie Thompson has been axed.

georgie t

For those of you not privileged to certain aspects of the SKY TV glossy image, SKY sports news is a kind of Fox TV ‘babe and dude’ offering and this is from where Georgie Thompson came. I could never see F1 fans being as drunk or shallow as Premier League Football fans to put up with this attempt to make the landscape a little more attractive.

The F1 broadcasting blog noted, “The SKY website has removed mentions of her being the host of the F1 show along with her profile from their sub-site.” At the end of the 2012 season Georgie tweeted “So tonight is mine and Ted Kravitz’s final show”. Her twitter profile still mentions her being the Sky Sports F1 presenter.

Natalie Pinkham who was trusted by Ron Dennis to be the Master of ceremonies at the launch of the MP4-28 has taken her role.

I suggest SKY have ‘partially come to their senses’ because it appears the red faced Father Christmas-esque – amiable but bumbling – Johnny Herbet is still firmly ensconced in his role of professional pundit.

I wouldn’t mind if he made the occasional observation that was anything other than the obvious. Moreover, his apoplectic rant about how the race stewards should throw Romain Grosjean from F1 with immediate effect and revoke his super license in the aftermath of the first corner pile up in Spa – was utterly absurd and ridiculous.

Daimler Benz shareholders unhappy

unioninvThe arrival of Lewis Hamilton has been seen by most as a matter of optimism for the results shy Mercedes AMG F1 team. Yet behind the scenes all is not well as investment funds Union Investment and DWS have called for the board in Stuttgart to withdraw the Silver Arrows from Formula 1.

They argue the expense and lack of results is affecting shareholder interests in the global car manufacturer. Sounds like this is a job for Lauda – to knock some heads together and crush the dissent.

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29 responses to “Sutil returns, SKY UK partially coming to their senses, Bahrain promoters launch 2013’s slogan, Daimler Benz shareholders criticise spend on F1

  1. We have the answer to Force Indias 2nd driver solution for this year already, I believe, straight from the mouth of the spurned algeursuari himself: “F1 has become an auction”. Yes thats right, at each weekend there will be an auction to see who gets to be DiRestas teammate for the weekend… FI cottoned on to how many drivers with funding there are floating around, and how keen they all are, so they have decided to not plump for one, and try the highest bidder… Roll up roll up… VJM06 for sale!

      • What chance force India doing what ligier did in 95.
        If you remember. Brundle shared the 2nd seat with Suzuki. With panis doing the full season.
        Force India need money. So why not have bianchi and suitil share the 2nd seat.

      • “Is there a suggestion that Sutil has more money available than Senna or Maldonado?”

        I didn’t think so – certainly not Maldonado who may have the biggest proper personal funding ever for an F1 driver.

        I’m bemused by Senna though as he appeared to have more cash then Sutil et al and I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet.

        FI fans will argue this proves they are just interested in the best driver – well if that’s the case someone is dithering beyond all of humanities dithering history added up.

        • It doesn’t prove anything of course but weigh up the probability of getting 2 drivers with big sponsorship (or engines) behind them or one paid (200k) with little or no sponsorship and a dodgy geezer with
          crim record and possibly some sponsorship which isn’t confirmed and certainly isn’t as much as the other two

          all 4 are roughly equal talent wise

          Doesn’t add up IMHO

  2. I always take the “up to” with a bucket of salt. “Up to” basically means anywhere from zero to whatever figure is quoted.

    Glad you don’t have to put up with “babe” presenters. Here in Asia we have one headlining the F1 presentation and she truely is painful to listen to. The main race caller is a guy called Steve Slater who makes as many mistakes as Murray Walker used to but is nowhere near as lovable – also painful to listen to. (His worst comment, which he repeats at least 2 or 3 times a race, is that it takes 0.1 of a second to blink – sounds like he’s on the nod as I reckon I can get about 5 or 6 blinks into 0.1s). Sanjeev Palar is another commentator here who is fantastic and should be running the show. He often gets sent to the races to cover activities – if you bump into him at a race, Judge, say hello because he really is a likable and knowledgable guy (friend of my wife so I’ve met him personally once or twice).

    On the technical side we have Alex Yoong who some of you may remember. He’s a bit of a playboy but at least he knows what he’s talking about. Two years ago we had Gary Anderson as the main tech guy but I think a lot of people here couldn’t understand his accent – one of the most benign Irish accents as far as I’m concerned but I’m not Asian – our loss is your gain. Karun Chandok is also a great commentator who we occasionally get to listen to. He may be a better commentator than driver, but personally I reckon he deserves another chance in a half decent car – I rate him as better than “the Kart”, but apparently Karun’s father and Vijay are arch-enemies so I’m told he’ll never drive in Force India – at least while Vijay’s the owner (tic/tock).

    Occasionally I can tune in to UK commentary on the web but the delay makes it difficult to watch with the race – usually I’ll listen to the pre-race commentary this way. And as for your complaints about the “Sky model” – that’s all we’ve ever had here. Not only do we have to pay for cable subscription, we then have to pay extra for the sports package to get F1, and on top of that they play 2 to 3 minutes of ads every 8 to 10 laps.

    Please replace Bernie with Adam Parr and get this whole shemozzle on the internet in hi def. Then maybe we could pick and choose our commentators to go with our vision!

    /end of JoJ-length post 😉 /

    • Dear Craig – if you wish to watch this whole shemozzle on the internet free – SkyF1 being currently available ( more when the season starts ) – work out the following cryptic clue ……

      Willy Wonka’s Whiskey . Variable Inlet Projections Boundless Orthodox Badgers . Tantric Visitations

      😉

      • Badgers? I thought it was Xylophones. Sometimes can get, sometimes not. Definitely not in HD, usually not even in SD.

        But thanks very much for your thought, m. I’ll give the Badgers a go – see if I’m missing something.

  3. I was wandering when I looked at the program information for the f1 show that Nat was fronting the f1 show. Although when I looked on the sky website. Georgies picture and bio was still there. It may of been taken down since. But I feel that georgie was more knowlageable than Simon labenzy and could of fronted the main shows better than him.

  4. Not a shootout between Bianchi and Sutil FI are saying, but I suspect Bianchi will shine again and justify a drive.

    I follow Al Jazeera and Gulf News online to keep up with the middle east. There is currently a series of talks going on between the King and representatives of the various oppositions and Shia parties. The King has always been veru much more moderate than the officials (often relatives) Unfortunately without a firm overall ruler, the country will resolve into another Iran, a mess of warring tribes and factions. But with Saudi troops still in Bahrain any uprising is unlikely to get far.

    I was hoping that Bahrain would be one of the races not covered by the BBC this year.

    Natalie used to do the pit lane for the Radio 5 Live, she was good. But later supplanted by Jennie Gow who had previously supplanted Suzi Perry from MotoGP.

  5. Not sure that Lauda is punctual enough to bring convincing arguments to the German Mercedes shareholders for them to be willing to stay in F1. Yesterday he was quoted as saying that ‘there are more and more TV viewers’ watching F1, that’s quite a clumsy statements given last week’s 2012 broadcasting report…

  6. I also watched the F1 Show a few days late (think it was Sunday) and was pleased to see Natalie Pinkham fronting the show (although I just assumed it was temporary rather than permanent). She’s always had more personality and is also better looking imo so it was a welcome change. She was originally with the BBC and defected to Sky with Crofty, Brundle et al.

    As for Mr Herbert, and I know we’ve had this discussion before on Twitter – he irritates me as well sometimes, but not to the same extent as you, and I can usually bear him without feeling the need to throw a brick at the telly!

    • At least he seems to have lost some weight, a inane idiot is an upgrade from a fat inane idiot, albeit not much. I thought Coulthard and Jordan were annoying until I saw Herbert.

      • Fair point, at least in relation to Jordan. I’ve never minded Coulthard to be honest, think he’s ok.

      • I can’t disagree with your analysis, I just find it a bit strange that you seem to allow him to wind you up so much.

        • It would be dull if I just expressed a technical analysis of his punditry – plus when he now says something stupid – it is even more noticeable.

          Its not really his fault he’s boring, rambling and useless – it’s SKY’s failure to recognise the weakness and either educate him or can him.

          The ‘Yeah…no’ predicate to every comment he made last season tipped me over the edge I think….

  7. Did anyone else see this story – I thought this was over with a long time ago.

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/media/news/a459627/f1-sky-and-bbc-cleared-over-vettel-raikkonen-swearing-in-interview.html

    Shows it’s not only F1 which needs to hurry up with its decisions – as usual, OFCOM taking months to make a decision that could easily be done in 2 minutes, had they any common sense.

    Also, can anyone non-UK based say whether their equivalent of OFCOM takes this long, or is it just us, as usual nowadays with pathetic organisations like this?

    • This whole ‘colourful language’ thing never became an issue in my country, it was over and dealt with a second after the commentators had a big laugh about it…

      • It was no big deal to me – but my view is I hope pragmatic. F1 either says, you want us to come to your country – this is who we are and this is what we do…Champagne and all.

        However, if F1 defers to local laws on alcohol then laws around the public use of bad language apply too.

        • I can hardly believe this but section 5 of the UK Public Order Act effectively stipulates that a person is guilty of an offence if he: a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”

          Apart from the fact that I find this legislation to be most patronizing, I wonder who on earth or in the UK could have felt harassed, alarmed or distressed by the language used by Vettel and Raikkonen?

          Also, it seems that most recently it was announced that the use of insulting language will no longer be illegal in cases in which a specific victim cannot be identified.

          So case closed Mr. Judge?-)

          • I believe the summation of the evidence and law in point from the defence – leaves me no option but to comment with a short tap of the gavel – case dismissed!!!

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