Daily News and Comment: Sunday 21st April

This page will be updated throughout the day

Bahraini Government are ‘stupid’
Credence must now be given to Il Padrino’s accusations that F1’s supremo is getting on in years and losing the grip on some of his faculties. Remarkably Ecclestone said on Saturday, “We believe the government were in a way really stupid to put this race on, because it is a platform for people to use for protesting.”

There are those who argue this is Bernie being ironic and amusing, amongst them the crown prince of Bahrain, who claimed “its Bernie being Bernie. People will know he is being sarcastic”.

On the subject of regimes with questionable human rights records, Ecclestone was also pressed on whether should Syria ever build a circuit in Damascus, could he as CEO of FOM be persuaded to take a grand prix there. He replied, “We’ll have to take a look and see.”

Following Sir Jock’s socio political analysis which compared the troubles in Bahrain to the duels seen in the city of Glasgow between drunken Scottish football fans, it appears our beloved leader Bernie does not wish to be outdone.

Ecclestone believes there to be no difference between breaking the speed limit and possible human rights abuses. “We don’t go anywhere to judge how a country is run,” he said. “I keep asking people, what human rights – I don’t know what they are.

The rights are that people who live in the country abide by the laws of the country, whatever they are. I might be in Africa and can go 200kmph on the highway with no problem. If I come to England and do the same thing, I’m in trouble. So it’s a case of whatever the laws are, people need to respect them.”

Ecclestone however made reference last week to the fact he was proud it was he who called time on F1 competing in South Africa during the countries oppression of the black majority in the apartheid era.

Whether this arguably inconsistent and inane approach of inappropriate flippancy will sit well with Ecclestone’s masters at CVC only time will tell.

Clearly Bernie has decided to present to the world as the F1 court jester when in reality he appears to be someone who fails to understand the gravity of certain situations. We may be arriving at the tipping point where time is called on his rulership of the sport he both loves and at times appears to treat with both disdain and contempt.

F1 has descended into near farce and surely this must be the most obvious sporting case in history where ‘the lunatic is now absolutely in charge of the asylum’.

Brawn bemoans the rules
Here at TJ13 there has been an element of sympathy for Ross Brawn as the Austrian ‘big dogs’ have been sent in by Daimler Benz to harry to ensure the team steps up to the plate and delivers what is expected.

Yet following qualifying Ross appears to be engaging in a fruitless debate over whether the sporting rules as applied by the FIA should become discretionary due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Lewis Hamilton’s gear box penalty in Bahrain.

Hamilton suffered a tyre implosion at the very end on Q3 that meant the car required a rebuild on its suspension, brakes and gearbox – thus forcing him to take the standard 5 place grid penalty.

Speculative comments from F1 commentators’ initially suggested the blame should be laid at Pirelli’s door due to their 2013 tyres being allegedly too fragile. Paul Hembery rebuked publicly a well known F1 journalist for jumping to conclusions when he suggested the Pirelli manufacturing process was faulty.

Brawn recognizes that a discretionary approach from the stewards to gearbox penalties is fraught with danger. “The difficulty we have in the future is where we get marginal cases where you have a problem, perhaps aggravated by the driver, and you don’t get a gearbox failure as such, but it needs to be changed. Then you get into these long debates”.

However he appears to be suggesting that there should be some kind of subjective decisions as he is unhappy when his team, “gets a penalty when there has been an outside influence. It’s annoying. Fortunately it doesn’t happen too often, but if it were to happen at a critical part of the season then it would be doubly frustrating, so it’s worth looking at again.”

When it was suggested to Ross that it could be time for the gearbox regulation to be addressed, he replied: “I think Lewis would agree with you because he made the very same point to me, that external influences have given him a penalty”.

This was clever political maneuvering by Brawn who does not state the present rules are inadequate, but uses his star driver to make the case for him. Hamilton by contrast was philosophic when asked whether the gearbox rule should be changed stating, “It doesn’t really matter. The rules are the rules. I’ve got a penalty and I will have to suck it up and deal with it. I just got unlucky as I think it was some debris with the tyre.”

Brawn is generally not one to whine and we should probably take his comments as those of someone momentarily frustrated by the luck of the draw.

However, until the stewards prove they are capable of ruling consistently on relatively simple matters – to hand them the opportunity to express discretionary views and therefore issue subjective penalties for matters of mechanical failure is most definitely a bridge too far at this time.

Lauda Watch
A couple of pole positions and third place finishes and Niki is feeling invincible. His side kick ‘Arnie’ – as some are calling him – suggested today that they may re-invoke team orders for Rosberg because he is so far the top dog in Bahrain. Wolff added he would need to check with Lauda on this and clearly the omission of Ross Brawn from the discussion may suggest ‘The Terminator’ is now in full flow.

I may be right when I state that Arnie was co-incidentalty the voice of ‘white wolf’ in the second of the Dr. Doolittle movies. Mmm

So last year the mind games were Vettel to Ferrari and now Lauda thinks it may be amusing to suggest another transfer worthy of consideration. He is advising his old friend Marko to go ahead and sign Kimi Raikkonen for next season.

Of course Niki is flushed with his own Ronaldo-esque coup d’état in recruiting Hamitlon. He is in effect calling out Marko to see if he can match his exploits and deliver a similar prize for Red Bull. With the non-extsitant relationship between Vettel and Webber dominating the Red Bull driver landscape, it is no surprise Niki is attempting to find some traction in this divide.

“He [Raikkonen] is sensational, a cool guy, and absolutely on the level of Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton,” Lauda tells Germany’s Bild newspaper. “Kimi is definitely a title contender. If I was Red Bull and I wanted to change something with the drivers, then I would definitely go for Kimi. He is the best driver on the market by far.”

9 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Sunday 21st April

  1. Good morning your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. As we are waiting for todays depositions to start, I would like to point out that a certain Mr. O’Sullivan returned to the scene yesterday. One is wondering if the judge thinks that F1 has a star who can compare to the rocket powered ball phenom of snooker.

    • Mmm. Jury’s out on that one… though Maybe an honorary degree is on the cards.

      I can hear it now. Paxton chairing the final of university challenge … the teams are introduced… ‘From The university of life – Bernard Charles Ecclestone… Reading… ‘Incoherent Drivel’ – maybe.

      • Best Newcomer: Comedy Supporting Actor, Bernie Ecclestone
        Lifetime Achievement Award Lead Cynicist: . . . .

        Is it possible the old boy has started to crack himself up at just how he tied everyone in knots so easily? A Crown Prince delivering punchlines?

        Or is the message “Har har, got you!”

        Kinda kicking the tires and reminding potential buyers how firmly he has all the puppets in his pocket.

        I’d say when a business owner can take the mick out of their customers, that’s a fairly solid (if not sound or ethical) business. Rather as infamously one learns from Liar’s Poker, that in the training program at Salomon Brothers the mortgage traders would do a skit taking the mick out of the thrift managers they lived off.

  2. TJ, see my response to your thorough Gillette walk through on the ‘Friday April 19’ article.

    Think giving that topic it’s own article may be interesting. Maybe a new segment, “What the Media should ask this race weekend”.


  3. This is not a rant… not… 😉
    What are all the comments about the long-hauls are now over and the guys can relax…? I’ve spent decades working around the world, often with only a few days notice. After a long-haul flight I always felt fitter and more able to get equipment through customs and to the hotel and then work – because I’d been able to sleep a bit, and relax (in steerage I might add…) during the longer flight. Travelling around Europe was always more exhausting…
    And then there was yesterday… 😉
    I had to drive up country and as usual had to miss the GP (I’m almost ashamed to admit when I last watched a live GP…). On the way back, 250 kilometres from home, I had a major blow-out, fortunately on a rear wheel – big hole in the tyre-wall. I fitted the spare which, naturally, was an emergency-only, 70kph max. thing – and I had to limp home, very aware that the other three tyres were old and tired as well.
    The irony of trying to ‘finish’ with such ‘degradation’ while our intrepid heros were coping with far greater difficulties was not lost on me… 🙂

      • Sorry… I did mean to ensure no comparison was made by admitting to Bridgestone – but they were just very old tyres. The ‘MOT’ where I am at the moment doesn’t bother with tyres – just exhaust emissions and brakes… 😉

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