Daily News and Comment: Thursday 18th April 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day

FIA Press Conference attendees (local times)

Thursday, April 18 1500 hrs Jenson Button (McLaren)Paul Di Resta (Force India)Felipe Massa (Ferrari)Pastor Maldonado (Williams)Charles Pic (Caterham)Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)———————————–
Friday, April 19 1600 hrs Eric Boullier (Lotus)Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari)Paul Hembery (Pirelli)Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber)Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren)

Struggling to find anything interesting to suggest we’ll hear from the drivers. Hembery is likely to be under pressure to explain the U-Turn on tyres and maybe Monisha will talk about the RRA and resources in general.

Stefano will probably merely glory in Ferrari – and rightly so after the magnificent win in China and Martin will bumble on about an upgrade for Barcelona and how the championships are not over yet. Eric – well who knows?

Stewards for the weekend

untitledDR GERD ENNSER
MEMBER OF THE DMSB’S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE FOR AUTOMOBILE SPORT; FORMULA ONE AND DTM STEWARD

Dr Gerd Ennser has successfully combined his formal education in law with his passion for motor racing, to become a motor sport official. He began helping manage a local motor sport club while still active as a racing driver and since 2006 he has been a permanent steward at every round of Germany’s DTM series. Since 2011 he has also worked as a Formula One steward at Grands Prix. Dr Ennser, who has worked as a judge, a prosecutor and in the legal department of an automotive-industry company, has also been a member of the steering committee of German motor sport body, the DMSB, since spring 2010, where he is responsible for automobile sport. In addition, Dr Ennser is a board member of the South Bavaria Section of Germany’s biggest auto club, the ADAC.

untitledVINCENZO SPANO
PRESIDENT OF THE SPORTING COMMISSION OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND TOURING CLUB OF VENEZUELA

Italian-born Vincenzo Spano grew up in Venezuela, where he went on to study at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, becoming an attorney-at-law. Spano has wide-ranging experience in motor sport, from national to international level. He has worked for the Touring y Automóvil Club de Venezuela since 1991, and served as President of the Sporting Commission since 2001. He was president for two terms and now sits as a member of the Board of the Nacam-FIA zone. Since 1995 Spano has been a licenced steward and obtained his FIA steward superlicence in 2003.Spano has been involved with the FIA and FIA Institute in various roles since 2001: a member of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA Committee, and the executive committee of the FIA Institute.

untitledMIKA SALO
FORMER F1 DRIVER

In a racing career now into its third decade, Mika Salo competed in over one hundred Grands Prix between 1994-2002. After junior success in Britain and Japan, Salo made his Formula One debut for Lotus at the last two rounds of the 1994 season. Over the next eight years the Finn drove for Tyrrell, Arrows, BAR, Ferrari, Sauber and Toyota. He twice finished on the podium for Ferrari and scored points for Toyota in the Japanese manufacturer’s debut race. Since he drew time on his F1 career, Salo has competed predominantly in sports cars, most notably racing in GT classes. He has GT2 victories at both Le Mans and Sebring, and in 2007 won the GT class in ALMS. He has also tried his hand in CART and Australian V8s. Salo is still a familiar face in the Formula One paddock, working extensively for Finnish TV.

Todt: He speaks!

I wish Todt and Ecclestone had just kept their mouths shut to be honest as I don’t want to be writing about the politics of Bahrain – but they insist on bringing it up.

yet sometimes in life you have to say what you believe to be true. I write this knowing that the majority of F1 fans just believe we should race – avoid politics and that F1 in Bahrain is fine. Indeed a nations politics should never be overtly involving F1, yet we have to be careful who we believe to be the ones who are in fact making political capital out of the Bahrain situation.

untitledJean Todt, El Presidente of the FIA, has broken his silence on the Bahrain matter for the first time in 2013. In a letter to local NGOs concerning the upcoming Grand Prix he says, “It is our firm belief that sport, and the F1 grand prix, can have a positive and healing effect in situations where conflict, social unrest and tensions are causing distress.”

Say what????? So now F1 is presenting as a political force for good in strife torn regions of the world. I’m confounded and speechless. If this is so, why did F1 pull out of South Africa as Mr. E claimed this week was way back then in fact his moral decision?

Yet it gets better – in fact it doesn’t. It gets even more outrageous.

These NGO’s have written to Bernie Ecclestone explaining that a law has been passed recently which restricts any Bahraini citizen from criticising King Hamad and that they face 5 years imprisonment should they do so. Further they claim the race “will be taking place in a country whose government continues to commit gross human rights violations, from arbitrary arrests to torture.”

According to Metro, Ecclestone has responded in what could be described as a capricious manner, “‘It is a great shame this was not brought to me before September 2012 when the FIA Formula One World Championship calendar was formed and it is now too late to make any changes to the calendar”.

The utter lies, duplicity and hustling for an advantageous position on this most political of matters is becoming beyond more than absurd and incredibly sad. Whether you oppose F1 going to Bahrain or not surely the disingenuity of the suggestion from Mr. E that this information is new to him; and had he known what he now does this may have affected the 2013 calendar wreaks of putrid bile.

Does F1 need this? Let’s be honest, the Bahrain circuit has delivered up some of the most boring races in the past decade. We have been repeatedly told by Ecclestone there are countries queuing up to embrace the economic riches and prestige of hosting a Formula 1 weekend so why do we persist with this annual debacle?

Coffee shop Joe and his ‘silent majority’ argue that it is the media who are to blame because they hype this out of all proportion, yet this explanation has a hollow ring to it.

Do the media create a North Korean leader threatening thermonuclear war when in fact Kim is in actuality a descendent of Mother Teresa and has been made a maligned western media caricature of his real self? Were the IRA peaceful separatists fighting for freedom from an oppressive regime? I could go on – and of course all examples are subject to unique circumstances that make comparisons impossible.

Yet do we really believe that the evil media have genuinely managed to make the world believe a handful of people in a nation of 1.2 million are in reality an army of suppressed protestors wreaking havoc on the ‘silent majority’?

untitledThe answer I guess to all scenarios we can cite is that there is no smoke without fire. The media do not completely fabricate a total non-event and present it to the world as a revolution. Yet again I ask why is Bahrain such a toxic and divisive  issue amongst the people in F1?

I believe from conversations I’ve had it is nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of either parties in the Bahraini disputes per se.

It may just be that the media are divided because they are close to certain high-profile individuals in the sport who do not wish to race in Bahrain. So were it to be the case that team representatives were gagged and threatened by FOM and are forced to comply against their will, maybe it is because they cannot speak their minds openly – they know that others can.

It is not possible for team representatives to express their in-built repulsion at having to metaphorically kiss the hand of the plethora of Al-Khalifia’s and their associates who are forced upon them as part of their contractual duty to the race sponsors. Imagine how this must feel if you believe (rightly or wrongly) associating with the law makers and enforcers of this gulf state to be morally wrong.

One response to this moral trap is simple – in the cold light of day – its just tough, get on with it. Under Concorde this is the way it is and the teams just have to get on with it. So if you deal with the devil, then one day he will come calling for his dues.

I said in my first post on this matter that I can’t wait for Monday when this desperate and divisive event is over and everyone heads off home.

So there are those in F1 who would say this is not about the rights and wrongs of Bahrain, it is in fact about the dictatorial nature of FOM who have made ruthless threats that should the F1 party line be breached, wrath will ensue. Invisible Force India’s are just one example that we the masses do in fact know were a threat that was carried out but how many more potential consequences for dissent are there that we know nothing of?

Interestingly the debate from both sides has now shifted from arguing that 1 side of the division is right and the other plain wrong to one where there are accepted faults on both sides.

Fantastic – if that is the consensus let’s get the hell out of there after this years race and let these people resolve their differences properly and conclusively. F1 can return when this has been done. After all Bernie now has ‘new’ information he infers will affect the F1 calendar for 2014.

Jenson needs protection

Some may believe the timing of this is indeed apt, however I heard it was late in 2012 when Jenson decided upon this particular piece of body art – around the time Hugo Chavez cheque arrived at Williams providing Pastor with another 19 races. Protection was required indeed.

Jenson ponders all things tattoo thoughtfully to Sun newspaper. “I have a new tattoo on my arm. It’s a Polynesian tattoo. I had it done in Hawaii. The shape of it is a turtle shell, which is the sign of a shield and it also has four gods on it as well. I had it done by a guy who does traditional tattoos. He was trained in the Polynesian way, which is all about black tattoos. There is no shading like the new-style tattoos”.

It is very difficult to get an appointment with him but we eventually did and he did it freehand which is pretty cool. He told me his life story while he was doing it. I would go back to him again if I wanted to get another one. I have a dragon on my back and I have some Japanese symbols. They are for my love of Japan and the dragon is because it is courageous, strong, for wisdom and protection.

untitledIt’s funny tattoos are more acceptable these days. I like girls with tattoos if they are the right tattoos in the right place but I am not a big fan of colours in tattoos. People say to me, what’s it going to look like when I am 70 or 80, but I think it will look pretty cool and not going to look bad.

I would not have one on my chest, for example because that is going to stretch right out!”.

Jenson is asked about this weekend and the chances for him and the McLaren team in the race. He shakes himself from the dreamy Polynesian paradise and gets down to business. “It’s a place where the grip levels can be quite hard to anticipate, and where the wind direction can play quite an important part in determining the car’s balance.

The wind can affect top speed and cornering performance, so practice will be more important than ever in enabling us to take the best overall package into qualifying and the race.”

I suspect top speed of the MP4-28 is affected by a little more than wind if Jenson thinks about the big picture. McLaren have never won in 8 attempts at the Sakhir circuit even when they’ve had a car more competitive than the current iteration. So another long weekend for the fans of the Woking team I guess.

German Media war of words

There’s a spat going on between 2 of the popularist F1 publications in the Fatherland. AMuS published a story following the Vettel-gate events in Sepang suggesting that the Billionaire boss of the Red Bull drinks company was furious with the team and Sebastian too. In deliciously crafted prose AMuS says Dieter “threatened to chuck it all in unless his mercenaries followed proper marching orders in future”.

Motorsport-total have Marko on record saying this was not in fact the case. “This is utter nonsense,” says Helmut,“There’s nothing to it.” However Marko he does concede that something was indeed said and this is an ‘interpretive version’ of the truth but that when he said this Dieter was “absolutely joking”.

He also conceded that Mateshitz was not happy at all about the entire farce and described him as being “very pissed”.

I think we must assume this is an Austro-Americanism and does not mean Dieter had drunk too much of Vijay’s – soon to be sold Vladivar – with a few tinnies of his own get up and go potion.

Smoke and fire?

Important F1 ‘matters of state’ (or status maybe)

untitledThere is some giggling behind the hand over this one in F1 land. Bernie has been on a mission to mix up the order that the teams line up their motorhomes in the paddock. He apparently has managed to enforce this by stealth in Bahrain and now Lotus and Mercedes are at the top of the paddock not Red Bull Racing.

To be fair to the grey haired one, he claims this desire is to create greater interaction in the paddock and make it harder for the team players to dash out the back of the garage and into a motorhome.

There is no cause for concern that we will see more Lewis and Jenson style visits to the wrong pit box, because this does not apply to the order of the garages – merely where they can park the motorhomes and hospitality units which now will be not immediately behind the team’s pit lane position.

The German GP 2013

We the masses were of course told that everything was sorted for the 19 F1 races for 2013 weeks ago. It was announced yesterday in the German media the responsibility for the German GP has been awarded to AvD (who are apparently like the AA in the UK).

untitledThe AvD’s competitor the ADAC (I guess the RAC) had bid for Bernie’s piece of paper and were it appears largely expected to win. Cathrin von der Heide – spokesperson for the AVD confirmed yesterday, “Yes, we will be the sporting organizer of the GP. It was finalized in the last week.”

The timing of this is most surprising and there are Germany sources inferring that the AVD have been given the rights for 2013 for a fraction of the usual hosting fee.

untitledThis is indeed most probably when we consider what Heide had to say next. “”After that [this year] we have to see what happens. Either the GP of Deutschland will be at Hockenheim or the GP of Europe at Nürburgring. The contract is only for this year, because no ones knows what happens with the Nürburgring. Then we must see which venue it will be and who is then the organizer. To know that we have to have new talks. At the moment no one knows anything.”

Because the AvD is the rights holder for the name ‘GP von Deutschland’, the race will be called the GP von Deutschland in 2013, but the Nurburgring is planned for sale later this year subject to permission from the EU commission.

Sakhir and the logistics

Since the BIC first opened it’s doors to F1 in 2004, there have been few modifications necessary. However, for the 2013 F1 race there is in evidence a new coat of paint most everywhere. Another little upgrade has been made since 2012 and ironicallythe circuit has now been adapted to fully utilise the electronic flag signals sent from race control.

The organisers have released information that makes clear the logistical endeavours required to host and run such an event. Over the weekend there will be 3200 people ensuring the ‘smooth running of the GP weekend’. These are comprised of 800 deployed as security forces, 700 specialists in engineering and purification, 700 catering and merchandising staff, 50 doctors and 800 marshals.

Conspiracry theories abound

This makes me laugh. I get accused of being a conspiracy theorist from time to time and hey, as they say – no publicity is bad publicity. Anyway I saw this photo a couple of days ago and thought – “I bet Flavio’s taking the picture” as he is the manager of both drivers. I didn’t publish it here or even think much more of it.

untitledI’ll give you that there were slightly shifty circumstances around the publication of the picture. Alonso posted it to twitter and then later deleted it. In the meantime Mark had copied it and posted it as a tweet himself.

Apparently there has been a whole furore over this picture and a number of articles have now been written speculating what the the meeting and picture represent. One theory is that it is Webber making a statement to Vettel declaring his allegiance as wing man for his Spanish friend on the track.

Webber was questioned as to his motive and grinning he replied, “I have known Fernando for 13 years. I can give you lots of photos of me and Jenson together. Many drivers catch up socially. I think there is a little bit of paranoia coming. If that’s your biggest subject, about a dinner, then you have to work harder. Let me tell you.”

Fernando was asked separately how it would feel were he to see a picture of Massa on the internet having dinner with Sebastian Vettel. “Nothing,” he replied. “In Spain we say ‘The thief thinks everyone is a thief’. If I see a photo of someone having dinner I think he’s having dinner”.

Alonso volunteers the topic of his conversation with Webber. “We talked more about bicycles than Formula One…about his Tasmania race, his accident and how his leg is. But when I put it on Twitter, all the replies were about Vettel and stuff like that. Those are conspiracy theorists.”

MArk was asked who had paid for dinner and mischievously replied with a smile, “You need to ask Fernando.” 

Sebastian Vettel was non-plussed by it all – at least publicaly – when the matter was brought to his attention he observed, “We all have to have dinner at some point and it’s quite boring to have it all on your own.”

Maybe Fernando deleted the original after they’d had a chuckle about what might now happen and he decided discretion was the better part of valour…. then again – maybe not.

TJ13 conspiracy theory

Having called the strange goings on in Sepang with Fernandes and the skull and cross boned cuff linked Kovaleinan, I’m now suggesting Monsieur Pic and VD Garde watch their backs closely. If Heikki nails FP1 on Friday – and I can’t wait to here from Dr. James how he sees his underlying pace – then it won’t be long before he’s back racing the green goddess.

heiki_sepangWhen asked about this today Heikki said, “There are no plans to race for the moment. The plan at the moment is for me to drive on Fridays to help the team as much as I can. Of course, I want to race in the future and being here puts me in a better position if there was ever going to be a race drive available here or somewhere else, so that’s good for me.”

Interestingly Kovalainen reveals, “We [Fernandes and I] talked about this [reserve role] for the first time a long time ago but at the very beginning I wasn’t interested in this kind of role. But when you are sitting at home for a couple of months looking at other people driving, it makes you think you could have a go.

Just before Malaysia, I had a chat with Tony [Fernandes] and asked if he thought I could still do something for the team and he said ‘sure’. It came together relatively quickly.”

Funny how when complacency sets in people can be blind to the peril of their situation whilst others are not. Given some time outside the F1 bubble it appears Heikki is now prepared to accept scraps to drive an F1 car. He may even start wooing sponsors next – who knows.

It may be though Heikki’s return merely confirms that Fernandes’ team has a car that’s pants…

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25 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Thursday 18th April 2013

  1. I feel for you in having to report all this crap when you’d rather just get on… and get out. I don’t claim to know enough about these matters to take a decisive stance but few people could just sit back and obliviously let the race happen… So cancel it – but not now… Two or three years ago…!

    I also have little patience with comparisons that suggest there are other countries that should be avoided first – if it’s true then ban them also, but take each case individually rather than draw up a short list and take them in turn…

    As for the new law invoking 5 years at ‘His Majesty’s Pleasure’… allow me one patient (or hypocritical, if you prefer) comparison with Thailand where ‘lese majeste’ laws frequently incarcerate citizens for 10-20 years, often on the flimsiest of evidence. I’m not per se saying it’s wrong but if you go there and insult the Royal Family you must expect to be dealt with by their laws…

    But The Devil & The Dwarf are considering a Thai GP for 2015/16.
    Isn’t NOW the time to be discussing this, not in two years time.
    As you say, it’s never easy with the money-grabbing, greed-obsessed Masters of our Universe…

    [PS: I have also given up reading the comments at Joe’s Place – his curt disrespect to people who just politely ask questions is as unpleasant as the obsequious fawning of so many of his commenters. “Oh Joe… you’re so clever to hit it on the (brown) nose…” etc.]

    • I also read Saward’s blog for a while but now only on rare occasions after seeing the type of person he is which is not only incredibly rude to some people who comment but if he doesn’t like someone in F1 it get’s really spiteful.

      The Red Bull chuck it in comments sound like just an over reaction type comment just after the event with no real intent so maybe Marko is half right to say it is rubbish although he has been left out of the loop on things before at Red Bull.

  2. one way of looking at it is by taking the oil money from this ‘boring’ race it pays for the discounts on the other races around the world that we do want to see. A necessary evil!

  3. I utterly fail to see why the politics of Bahrain is exercising TJ13 so much. Is it:
    1. fear for personal safety of foreigners (cowardly),
    2. or concern for “democratic” rights of people in a foreign country (none of your business), or
    3. “human rights abuses” of peoples in a foreign country (join Amnesty International and find out where else you can direct your concern).

    People I know and trust (some very close to me) visit the country regularly on business and talk to both Sunni and Shia citizens. The Shia will tell you in private that they were and are generally happy with their lives, but are under threat from the insurgents; they dare not speak in public about being contented, and they dare not refuse to join in the protests when “asked” (they are made an offer they cannot refuse in the style of Don Corleone, the Godfather). In other words, the ordinary Shia population are terrorised to show sympathy with leaders of the violent opposition.

    I do not recall anyone ever calling for the Spanish F1 to be abandoned because they felt the country was unsafe due to the activities of ETA.
    “… Since 1968, ETA has been held responsible for killing 829 individuals, injuring thousands and undertaking dozens of kidnappings. The group is proscribed as a terrorist organization by the Spanish, British[10], French and American authorities, and used to be designated as such by the European Union as a whole. This convention is followed by a plurality of domestic and international media, which also refer to the group as “terrorists”. More than 700 members of the organization are incarcerated in prisons in Spain, France, and other countries. ….. ”

    If you start moralising about what is going on in the world, including in Britain, you would have to give up living your comfortable lofty life; and either live your life as a hermit or join the Anonymous activists/hacktivists. Name calling people you disagree with must be an ideal qualification to join Anonymous.

    Time to stop discussing this issue, and get on with racing.

    • Thanks for your opinion PK and I’m glad for you and anyone to say their piece without censure.

      I did say I would have preferred it had Ecclestone and Todt said nothing – but they didn’t. Its ‘News and Comment’ and seeing as those two are the supposed leaders of F1 they command a place in the news.

      Am aware I risk alienating some TJ13 readers? Of course. But in life sometimes you have to make tough decisions and then stand by them. The question it appears that only TJ13 is asking is WHY? WHY is Bahrain such a toxic issue and not China et al. To answer it is merely a ‘media frenzy’ is too shallow and too cheap an answer.

      There are forces at work which are not visible mostly – except when a couple of Force India’s disappear as retribution for disobedience to the ‘contract’ – and F1 people I know object to a number of the heavy handed tactics which are regularly employed in and over Bahrain.

  4. Just a small point. When I broke down on the autobahn a few years ago it was ADAC who came and fixed my car for free as I was a member of the AA. So ADAC and the AA are (or were) affiliated. I’ve never heard of AvD before.

    • Thanks Chris… point of order allowed….

      Yet according to their website: “The AvD is the most steeped-in-tradition automobile club in Germany and one of the most well known worldwide. Traditions which bind us”.

      Further they claim: “It is a consumer protector with creative and intelligent mobility concepts, which serve the interests of society as a whole, as well as being a service provider with professional logistics and service availability round-the-clock. In all issues relating to traffic safety, it’s a competent partner. Today, it is still the classic emergency service for members with breakdowns or accidents, just as it was over a hundred years ago. The AvD is one of the most reputable companies in Germany and in international motor sports”.

      • Just checked on Wikipedia – ADAC is the largest automobile club in Germany and Europe and is still affiliated to the AA (and also the AAA in the US).

        • Chris…

          Well we’ve all learned something today. So much for the heritage argument of the AvD being the most respected and oldest… 🙂

  5. Last year I think Joe proved his point admirably. The “news” media was there only to report on trouble. Whilst there was some it was a tiny fraction of the impression given by the tv reports. Is there any reason to think that the same media are not doing the same again this year?
    Obviously there have been incidents, but looking at the reports one would have the impression that it is all one huge continuous riot.
    It is very easy to give a false impression by the adroit use of film and photographs, as was proved beyond all doubt by the famous scenes of the population of Baghdad rising up to cheer the toppling of Sadam’s statue, when in fact a view from a different angle showed there were actually only about a dozen people there, being egged on by US soldiers.

    Now don’t get me wrong, the regime may be repressive and unfair but as things go on they have little option but to continue in the same vein. If the King and his family were to say “ok we resign, we are off now” and then depart to live in Saudi, we would very rapidly have another Iraq. Umpteen different factions and sects fighting each other and a Taliban birthday party. Then the Americans would need to ensure the safety of their fifth fleet base and we all know the way they react to any threat, real or not.
    There are theories that insurgents are being sent from Iran. If I were Taliban with ambitions that my religious sect should rule the world its probably what I would do. Find the news crews lead them to the aggro (yes hang on fire bomb in ten minutes cameras ready?) We know how easy it is to provoke security services to react. (We even had it in the uk during Wilson’s reign

    So IMHO the only hope of a peaceful future for an “intact” Bahrain is for the talks to succeed and a very slow relaxing and enhancing of freedoms. However those attending the talks are busy arguing amongst themselves as to who should be at the talks. (reminds me of the F1 teams)

    • Most sage… rpaco – and thank you

      Quick one on JS – there are a number of people who find his ‘silent majority’ piece belittling and offensive, and it has been suggested within his rhetoric (nigh to a polemic) there are strong echoes of that used by the Crown Prince and his followers.

      Add to that the manner in which he was duped into writing the Starbucks article. When he is questioned about this and his most dubious ‘Starbucks sources’ who blatantly lied to him – he refuses to answer – censuring comment from his blog because it is “offensive” for “questioning his integrity and professionalism”.

      He may just be better served saying less on the matter.

      • Bahrain is also home of the American fifht fleet and Naval forces command centre, there’s absolutely no chance it will be ruled by the Iran friendly Shi’a majority.

        • “Bahrain is also home of the American fifht fleet ” Yes I mentioned that!
          As I said, you would have another Iraq, an American invasion, firstly of technical assistance, CIA and covert troops then later, marines.

          • Ah, sorry missed that.
            Completely agree with your post, every word.

          • I’m sorry TJ but you seem to be getting far too wound up, Bahrain its a Kingdom not a democracy. It is ruled in the traditional manner of the middle east, as are other countries in the area.
            If you are not on the ground in Bahrain then kindly defer to those who are. And for the record I do not imagine that someone of Joe’s long and worldwide experience was duped last year.
            Your attacks have been getting nastier, if you comment in a rude sneering and sacrcastic manner you may expect to get a similar reply. One has to start questionig your meteoric rise, if you attack other journalists (if you see yourself as one) is that the purpose of your beng here or is it F1?

            Now if you are writing from the Baharain outback and can show me video of the continual violence shot from an angle which allows the scale to be seen (rather than a Damien in \drop the Dead Donkey.

            We had relatives ring from Australia, sometime back because they saw on the internationan tv news that the whole of the uk was being laid waste by riots. There were some in some areas true but the country was not aflame. There may be some incidents in Bahrain.
            Yes it is a repressive rule but do not confuse reporting the truth with supporting, otherwise there can be no journalism anyone cane ever trust.

            Anyway, Ive had enough, I’m off.

          • Thanks for your thoughts rpaco.

            I wont get drawn into the politics of Bahrain here, but I can assure you I have personal experience of dealing in business as a caucasian European with the regime. I believe for that reason alone I need not defer to people who visit for a mere 3-4 days a year and in reality know nothing yet write as experts.

            That is quite different from sitting in a coffee shop, refusing to go and see for yourself what is going on and claiming the reason for avoiding the trouble was because investigating the views of the ‘silent majority’ was more important.

            That itself may be fine – were the views of the so called silent majority being properly investigated, but they weren’t. Writing up a polemic dictated by a Sunni Bahraini who was actually posing as a Shia ‘silent majority’ was bad research and bad journalism I’m afraid. That is what happens when an excellent writer moves out of their field of expertise and makes pronouncements of authority in one they know nothing about.

            Further, there are a number established journalists who have been highly critical of JS – Kevin Eason to name but 1.

            I’m not sure I recognise some of the adjectives you use to be a fair description of my comments… but maybe I’m wrong…

            I could listen to Joe on F1 for hours on end but his consistent sides swipes at the ‘new media’ and unnamed F1 writers becomes tiresome.

            Nothing above is personal or abusive in my view. I said when I first penned a word about Bahrain I can’t wait until Monday, and that is truer now more than ever.

            It is a travesty when people who have been in F1 for many years… feel they have to endure a race weekend with their heads down and can’t wait to leave. It is those people’s views I represent. They are the true silent majority.

    • James Allen on radio 5 just said. “Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt are determined to have a race in Bahrain”, he went on to make the point that the teams and the media have no choice but to come and do their jobs.

      I’m sorry to press the issue rpaco but this was a clear message… ‘determined’… the rest of us have no choice.

      This is the substantive view of TJ13 and has been consistently made.

      As far as polls are concerned I’ve always remembered what a wise senior PR hack once suggested. Always look at who commissioned the poll, who paid for it and who first raises it as a defense of their point of view.

      You will almost never see the findings of a poll in fundamental opposition to the views of those who commission it.

    • I wouldn’t trust DM’s articles, based on some of the tripe they post with their rather petty sideswipes at certain personalities, and matters regarding politics which are normally “tunnel visioned” I don’t pay much attention to them these days.

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