Thursday, 9 June 2011

Updates and Random Thoughts

It's been a while since my last post - exams have been given a high priority before three months of summer and my trip to Germany.

Now, I posted ages ago about Hamilton's comments on his calling to the stewards: "Maybe it's because I'm Black". Since he said that, there was uproar from the media and division among the public. On the one hand it was viewed as something terrible to say, understandable as F1 is a global sport and as such race, colour and creed have nothing to do with anything. On the other, people were pleased that Lewis was expressing his displeasure and not becoming a corporate robot. I can see both sides of the argument and I'm kind of in the middle ground. Yes, it's good that he's being honest with his views. However, it's also unprofessional and I think he needs to take these things up in private before shouting it to the media. Yeah, it was a heat of the moment comment, but he should have known better. There were rumours that sanctions for his comments would occur, as he could have been in breach of the regulations which state that nobody should bring the sport into disrepute (which is what happened to Max Mosely a few years back). However, Lewis since apologised and the stewards have accepted. Jean Todt today said that there would be no sanctions against Lewis. So, a lucky escape and it's definitely something for Lewis to learn by.

Something I haven't posted on before is the whole issue of Bahrain. The race was postponed because of the situation in the country and a meeting was held in the beginning of June (after being pushed back from May) to see whether it could be rescheduled. The FIA decided that the situation in Bahrain was settled enough for the race to go ahead. As a result, the race was scheduled to replace the Indian GP, with this race being pushed to December. Fantastic you might think, as we get 20 races this year and a shorter wait before the 2012 season. However, there are far deeper issues here.

Now, the FIA never consulted with the teams on their decision to reschedule the race. The season was scheduled to end two weeks later than usual - something which has implications for those who have to work for the teams. Also, article 66 of the regulations states that no changes can be made to the championship season after the entries have been confirmed without consulting the competitors themselves. So, even though the FIA vote has pushed through Bahrain, without the teams' say so it can't go ahead. FOTA have written to the FIA asking them to reconsider based on logistical grounds, with comments from Mark Webber, Bernie Ecclestone and others saying that the race can't go ahead.

Aside from logistics, there are a number of ethical issues to consider. The protests staged in Bahrain have been peaceful, however the authorities have taken action which has led to the deaths and injury of protesters. The issues of human rights have simply been ignored by the country. So, does F1 - a global sport - want to be associated with rescheduling a race in a country which does not take care of its people? No doubt there will be more negotiations in the coming weeks and we'll know soon enough whether Bahrain goes ahead with or without the competitors' approval.

A random thought I had came after I saw the Senna movie. In F1 there are clear greats (such as Senna, Prost et al.), and these greats are idolised. Now, one man who hold all the records is Michael Schumacher. However, people don't idolise him in general. I asked my Dad about this, and his response was that Schumacher made F1 boring. He was so good that nobody could catch him - therefore it was a foregone conclusion that he would win. I know I seem to defend Schumacher a lot, but I feel that I have good reason to. To me, the argument that Schumacher made F1 boring is ridiculous - surely it's up to the other teams to catch up? In this case, the other teams made it boring because they simply weren't as good! A similar situation has arisen this season with qualifying - Sebastian Vettel is making it boring. However, I'm not complaining about this (and not just because Seb is my hero), because it's up to another driver to challenge Seb's Saturdays. I was wondering whether Senna's heroism would be considered in the same way if he'd have lived. Say Senna went on to dominate F1 in much the same way as Schumacher did - would people still have the respect and adoration of him as they do now? Maybe it's human nature. People don't like people who excel all the time - we want to see slip ups. I just find it odd that Schumi was criticised for making F1 boring - the man has won 7 world titles! Surely that deserves awe and respect?