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bobo27
After last years cancellation of this event, and numerous promises from the local authorities for a safe race weekend there has already been a small blip of disturbance. Hope it goes smoothly..

QUOTE
Force India mechanics affected by protest
A number of Force India employees were briefly caught up in an incident after leaving the Sakhir circuit on Wednesday night. As the team vehicle passed a protest along a motorway, it was soon able to continue on its journey without problems.

The story began to circulate on the internet on Thursday morning, although a GPUpdate.net investigation into the incident has revealed that several British media outlets appear to be dramatising the events.

Although the Force India vehicle was slowed on its trip towards the hotel, it was not a direct target of protestors who were throwing home-made petrol bombs – leaving a trail of smoke across the road – while demonstrating against the leaders of the country. A spokesperson for the opposition has already said that, while protestors are frustrated that the Formula 1 race is going ahead, they are complaining about those at the helm of Bahrain and who promote the event, rather than the sport itself.

“One of our vehicles was momentarily caught up in some disruption on the way back from the circuit last night,” Force India press officer Will Hings explained to GPUpdate.net. “Our van was not the target but arrived on the scene on one of the main highways. Within a few minutes the traffic continued moving and the van returned to the hotel. Everyone in the van is okay.”

Home-made petrol bombs such as this briefly halted a Force India van last night
It is believed up to three Force India employees may be now be heading home to the United Kingdom. While some reporters have been tweeting directly from demonstrations this week, personnel at the circuit are continuing with preparations.

“That was a minor incident that is being blown up to make it sound a lot more than it was – that is what I was told by Force India,” a member of another team told GPUpdate.net. “People are on edge, but no more than in Brazil.”

While being driven back to his hotel on the Friday evening of the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix, Jenson Button and fellow McLaren employees were the direct target of a carjack attempt in which specially-trained drivers managed to escape the scene.
Bjorn
I thought Bernie made an OK point when he said that by bringing the world media to Bahrain a spotlight could be shone on what's going on. He even offered to hold a press conference for the dissidents.

Let's see if Bernie keeps his word.

Still, I think F1 is making a huge mistake by going to Bahrain at the moment, but I also don't think F1 should be in China. Participation in international sport should be used as incentive for places with very poor human rights records to clean up their act. Bernie said in the same interview that sport played a huge role in ending Apartheid in South Africa, which completely glossed over the fact that international condemnation and boycots had much more to do with South Africa's transformation.

EDIT:

Apparently Anonymous has DDoS'd formula1.com.

Their press release:

QUOTE
Anonymous Press Release - Operation Bahrain

Thursday - April 19, 2012 7:00 PM ET USA

Anonymous has watched with growing alarm the incredible human rights abuses of the Bahrain regime. We have watched this tyrannical government tear gas it's own people literally to death, with over 30 fatalities so far. We have watched as thousands of innocent protesters and activists have been jailed. We have suffered with our dear friend @AngryArabiya on Twitter as she watches her father slowly die of a hunger strike in prison to protest the atrocities committed by the regime of this "king" of Bahrain. We have witnessed doctors and nurses imprisoned for simply treating the wounded protesters that your security forces have brutalized. And finally we have suffered in outrage the ignorance and out right lies of mainstream media regarding what is REALLY happening in Bahrain.

1) This is NOT a Shia uprising against a Sunni government. It is a popular and peaceful revolt against the medieval concept of absolute monarchy. It is a movement that spans all strata and sectors of society, and all religions in Bahrain. It is a movement that demands only freedom, justice - and democracy.

2) This government is not quelling violent protests, it is brutally and violently crushing peaceful dissent.

3) This government is NOT legitimate. It is a tyrannical, barbaric - and human rights violating dictatorship. And ANYONE doing business with this regime have the blood of Bahrain's Freedom Martyrs on their hands.

For over a year now, we have as a global movement concentrated our efforts in Libya and Syria, leaving Anonymous Bahrain to to defend their fellow citizens in cyber space. This will no longer be the case. As of tomorrow, Friday - April 20, 2012 the entire global Anonymous will begin to take up the cause of the Bahrain Revolution. The King of Bahrain be warned, we are about to unleash the worst shitstorm you have ever seen - and your time as dictator is over. We will help your people remove you from power, and we will see you tried in the Hague for your many crimes against humanity.

The occasion of Anonymous re-launching Operation Bahrain will be this despicable Grand Prix Formula One race to be held in Bahrain tomorrow through the 22nd of April. Mr. Eccelstone, you are either one evil mother fucker to hold your race in support of this regime (The Kings family are actually investors and make direct profit) - or else you have been lied to and are ignorant of the atrocities committed by these tyrants. In either case, beginning tomorrow - and lasting for the duration of your race we are going to fucking educate you on the truth in a way you can not ignore.

Beginning tomorrow, and lasting for the duration of this race - Anonymous will turn your web site (www.formula1.com) into a smoking crater in cyber space. We will also jam your phone lines, bomb your E-Mail inboxes - and wreck anything else of yours we can find on the internet. You can god damn well expect us. And to anyone in the world who watches this race, either in person or on television - you also have the blood of the Bahrain Freedom Martyrs on your hands. Turn your face away from this abominable entertainment, and join us online to defend the brave protesters fighting for their freedom in Bahrain. Finally, we join with Anonymous Bahrain in asking that all the drivers in this race protest this evil regime by refusing to cross the start line at the beginning of the race.

Internet Freedom Fighters around the globe, join us this weekend and fight for freedom and justice in Bahrain: irc.voxanon.net #OpBahrain

We Are Anonymous - We Are Everywhere - We Are Legion - We Never Forget - We Never Forgive - EXPECT US

SIGNED — Anonymous
clarkma5
I think the puzzle pieces are fitting together quite well: the Bahraini government is using the grand prix to try and demonstrate that their government is secure and the protests are inconsequential, while the middle eastern investors in F1 are strong-arming F1 teams into going along with it. Not to mention Ecclestone fighting to not have to give up a penny of his race fee. It's money triumphing over ethics.

The race should've been cancelled.
clarkma5
Notice that Force India not participating in FP2 on safety grounds was also the team that got zero TV coverage during qualifying, despite an impressive performance from Di Resta worthy of TV time. Hmmm I smell a rat (aka "you made F1 look bad, you and your sponsors get no camera time. Go sit in the corner and think about that").
tune
That was a pretty blatant boycott of Force India in qualy TV coverage. Glad they didn't keep that up in the race.

clarkma5
To me the quiet story of this weekend was Caterham's progress. Kovaleinen in qualifying making it close to the back of the established teams and then Petrov running close to the Toro Rossos in the race. While it's still hard to figure out who's quickest at the top, the order at the bottom is pretty simple: HRT, Marussia, Caterham, Toro Rosso (ranked from slower to faster). I gotta genuinely say Caterham is on the brink of picking off Ricciardo and Vernge, I hope they keep that up and manage to do it here and there on merit this season!
skr
Schumacher made a point about the tires. He says that the tires are hindering driver from running closer to the car and driver's limits. It seems as that whichever team finds the sweet spot with their tires over the weekend seem to have a good result. While this does an exceptional job at scrambling the field a bit and provide more excitement, it turns the racing into a matter of who has the right car/tire/setup combo at the given track temps and conditions rather that who's the quickest driver. Drivers in the bottom end of the top 5 (i.e. Massa and Alonso) have the potential to move up the field, if their tires don't go off after 7 laps.

Great exciting racing this year though! I'm really liking KERS/DRS now, which makes tire variances less of a needed factor.
Razor
QUOTE(Bjorn @ Apr 20 2012, 09:51 AM) *
I thought Bernie made an OK point when he said that by bringing the world media to Bahrain a spotlight could be shone on what's going on. He even offered to hold a press conference for the dissidents.

Let's see if Bernie keeps his word.

Still, I think F1 is making a huge mistake by going to Bahrain at the moment, but I also don't think F1 should be in China. Participation in international sport should be used as incentive for places with very poor human rights records to clean up their act. Bernie said in the same interview that sport played a huge role in ending Apartheid in South Africa, which completely glossed over the fact that international condemnation and boycots had much more to do with South Africa's transformation.


Bernie Ecclestone continues to prove himself to be a money-hungry war criminal with this sort of thing. His "spotlight" is just an excuse to actually hold the event, I bet you he doesn't give a flying fuck what happens to Bahrain and its people.
clarkma5
I can't blame Pirelli for the tire problems, we're seeing the fundamental end result of progress: as engineers get better and better at making their cars work, Pirelli has to go to more and more extreme lengths to produce tires that give us 2-4 stop races. In a few more races I'm sure it'll be a lot like 2011 was: the engineers will get on top of the new compounds, the strategies will converge, and we'll run a lot of 1-3 stop races instead of 2-4 and Pirelli will be back to the drawing board to continue their "make the racing interesting" mandate in 2013. This is the result of having technical regulations frozen so steady and so restricted for so long and asking the tires to make all the difference.

That said, I think the racing this year is wonderful and I love how pure the cars seem to be, how the KERS/DRS/Pirelli combination is working for strategy, and generally the whole package. I do understand the concern that tires are making so much of a difference but frankly they always have.
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