A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,
Local residents display a lack of interest in the 2016 Azerbaijan GP
In just over a year, Formula One will debut in Baku, Azerbaijan. Yet at present, the residents know little about the upcoming race and the question is, will there be much interest from F1 fans in travelling there?
Korea was a brave new land that Formula One sought to conquer with its 3 day spectacular, but Yeongam proved to be somewhere few people fancied visiting. Even the local nationals failed to get the F1 buzz, and the event was cancelled after four years of a seven-year contract.
Arif Ragimow, General Manager of Baku Grand Prix Limited and Chairman of the future European Grand Prix was asked whether the interest was building in his country for the upcoming F1 extravaganza due in just 13 months. He replied, “Frankly, at the moment the race is not getting a lot of attention”.
Bahrain has a dubious human rights record and has failed to attract big numbers of visitors form outside the country during its 12 year tenure on the F1 calendar.
The Azerbaijani government’s poor record on freedom of expression, assembly, and association dramatically deteriorated during 2014. The World report states, “The authorities arrested dozens of political activists on bogus charges, imprisoned critical journalists, broke up several peaceful public demonstrations, and adopted legislation that further restricted fundamental freedoms.
This crackdown was the backdrop for the October 2013 presidential election, in which incumbent President Ilham Aliyev was re-elected for a third term with 84.5 percent of the vote.
The government continued its urban renewal campaign in the capital Baku, forcibly evicting hundreds of families without adequate compensation. Torture and ill-treatment persists with impunity.”
Senna sale goes unnoticed
Ayrton Senna is considered by many to be the greatest F1 driver of all time. Performances like in Monaco 1984 and Donington 1993 served to establish Senna’s reputation as an extraordinary driver.
Yet despite his 65 pole positions, 41 victories and 3 F1 drivers’ world title, there are those who know not of the great man.
A property was recently sold in Norwich that Senna had rented in 1981 three years before he entered Formula One, but it appears the estate agents did not know this fact.
Senna’s name was not included in the offer documents, and the property achieved its asking price of £215,000.
Silverstone record crowd expected
Formula One may seem to be dying a death in Germany, just 50,000 attended last years event in Hockenheim and the 2015 race has been cancelled. Yet Silverstone, under new management, is going from strength to strength.
Advance ticket sales have raced ahead over the past six weeks and are now 95% sold.
This year, tickets have been made available to ensure families can afford to attend the race, without blowing the equivalent of their budget for a week’s holiday in Spain.
Extra stands have been erected in the Beckets Maggots area and an enormous 150,000 are expected to attend the race on Sunday.
The previous Silverstone management had restricted the attendance numbers on Sunday to 125,000 following the catastrophic weather in 2012 – which saw fans told not to turn up. Car parks were flooded, cars mired in the mud and the campsites were turned into boggy nightmares.
Since then, investment has been made to provide more hard-core ground based parking facilities and the park and ride capacity was doubled.
Patrick Allen, Managing Director of Silverstone commented, “Thanks to recent pricing initiatives and opening up the event to make it more affordable for families we are now almost full. Demand has been tremendous and we are 95% sold and predicting that 2015 will be a record-breaking crowd.”