Bahrain F1 Event Goes Ahead Despite Human Rights Protests
By HARVEY MORRIS, The New York Times
April 18, 2013, 8:17 am
(T)he government’s strong-arm reaction to demonstrators demanding greater democracy and equal rights for the island state’s Shia population has failed to quash the protest movement.
Dozens of people were injured in March as protesters clashed with the riot police on the second anniversary of a Saudi-led military intervention to assist the Bahraini authorities confront the unrest.
As isolated clashes between the police and protestors were reported on Thursday, the main Shia opposition group said it was planning a major demonstration to coincide with preparations for the Grand Prix.
Human Rights Watch, one of a number of groups that called for the event to be canceled, warned there was a risk that the Bahraini authorities would use repressive measures to clamp down on the protests.
“Bahrain is already tightening the lid on protest as the Formula 1 race grows near,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the organization’s Middle East director. “The Formula 1 organizers apparently prefer to bury their heads in the sand, risking holding their race against repression it has provoked.”
Human rights groups say Bahrain’s Sunni rulers want to use the event to convey a semblance of normality in a country that is still wracked by regular clashes between the security forces and protesters.
The authorities have managed to confine the trouble mainly to Shia villages, out of sight of areas likely to be frequented by Grand Prix visitors.
“The public relations whirl around grand prix week always brings an attempt to suppress a few secrets that King Hamad’s regime would rather you did not see,” wrote Oliver Brown in the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph.
Bahrain prince admits ‘issues’ on Grand Prix eve
Police were out in force for qualifying, with armoured vehicles deployed around the capital’s Pearl Square, epicentre of month-long pro-democracy protests in early 2011 that were crushed with deadly force.
Hundreds of Shiite demonstrators who attempted to gather in the square on Saturday evening were forcibly dispersed, witnesses said.
Police fired tear gas and chased demonstrators into side streets. Some protesters retaliated with petrol bombs, the witnesses added.
Hundreds had taken to the streets in Shiite villages outside Manama overnight, prompting clashes with police, but away from the circuit, witnesses said.
Prince Salman denied that the event was being exploited to boost the image and economy of the tiny Gulf monarchy that has a Shiite Muslim majority but is ruled by a Sunni dynasty and has been rocked by continuing Arab Spring-inspired unrest.
“We’ve never used this race to say that everything’s fine,” Prince Salman said. “We recognise there are issues in the country but they are to be solved in a political process which is well underway.”
Hactivists Anonymous threaten to ‘wreck’ Bahrain Grand Prix
By James Boylan, Metro (UK)
Monday 15 Apr 2013 1:01 pm
‘Bernie Ecclestone and the “Royal Family” of Bahrain have learned nothing.
So we are coming forward this year to wreck your little party again Mr Ecclestone.
Anonymous will not stand by and allow you a race fuelled by the blood of our freedom-loving comrades in Bahrain.
We will remove you from the world wide web, whether you be grand prix or Bahrain government – we shall take it all down.
We will expose the personal data of any person who supports this race in any way. You have been warned.
Once the festivities for this race begin in Bahrain, all bets are off.
We call upon Bernie Ecclestone while there is still time – cancel your blood race now.’
I dunno, my problems seem to be mostly Java related but if I lose Timing and Scoring you’ll know why. More Bahrain Outrage Here.
So I told you I’d get to more competition based topics today. Let’s start with tires. Pirelli is kind of pissed off at being dinked around by Bernie and says that unless they get a new contract soon they’re going to walk. Since Bridgestone already told him to get bent and Michelin got dropped in 2006 because they weren’t safe, this doesn’t leave many manufacturers to replace them.
The compounds on offer this week are Hards and Mediums. This was decided after seeing how badly the Softs degraded at Sepang. If anything conditions are more difficult at Sakhir, it’s just as hot, the corners are flat putting on a lot of lateral Gs, and the surface highly abrasive because of the Welsh granite they mixed with the tar for the asphalt. It’s about a 30 grit. There is a negligible difference in speed between the 2, the Hard is about 5 laps more durable. Of the Grid leaders only Massa is running the Hards out of the gate.
Speaking of Grid position, Webber and Gutierrez were handed penalties of 3 and 5 respectively for their collisions in Shanghai. Hamilton was moved down 5 places from his 4th place qualifying time because he blew a rear tire in Practice 3 and they had to replace the suspension and the gear box it was attached to (fully reflected in the pretty tables below). Qualifying laps are not as meaningful as they usually are because of the infinitesimal difference between the compounds. What you will want to look out for is those starting on Mediums being forced to pit before they have established sufficient interval to avoid losing position.
Tires are not the only items under stress. It is very, very hot which can cause engine and brake cooling problems. Brad Spurgeon of The New York Times has a pretty good piece about setup issues. It is also hot and stressful for the drivers who frequently have very little idea about their actual place and pace during the race as he notes in a companion article. At Sakhir this is exacerbated by the track is very flat which makes the apexes of the corners extremely hard to see.
It’s dusty and windy and those pretty patterns in the overhead shots are basically glued sand with spray paint.
Lotus have given Grosjean a brand new chassis in the hope it will build his confidence, or at least stop his whining.
The drivers for McLaren are very unhappy with the car and Button admits Sakhir brings out it’s worst points. Perez is feeling a lot of pressure to perform. At Circuit de Catalunya in 3 weeks time the team will be replacing the front and rear wing and the suspension.
So basically the whole car except the tub.
Finally, as proof Bernie is not the only asshole in Formula One, just the biggest one, I leave you with this-
Why Sir Stirling Moss is wrong about women and motor racing
Patrick Barkham, The Guardian
Tuesday 16 April 2013 10.28 EDT
Women, opined Sir Stirling Moss, may have the strength to compete in Formula One, “but I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel to wheel”.
To be fair, Sterling is 83 years old and probably more than a little senile.
Half hour of hype @ 7:30 am, racing @ 8. Repeat @ noon and 11 pm. IndyCar Long Beach @ 3 pm.
GP2 Results- Fabio Leimer, Racing Engineering; Stefano Coletti, Rapax; Alexander Rossi, Caterham.
Pretty tables below.
|2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:32.584||12|
|5||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:33.235||14|
|6||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:33.246||16|
|7||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:33.078||13|
|20||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:36.304||7|
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||52|
|6||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||26|
|10||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||8|
|12||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||6|
|1||Red Bull Racing-Renault||78|