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GP Week : Issue 119
– Email us Something to say? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Bahrain GP reaction I cannot believe what I have just read: The FIA has said that F1 is going back to Bahrain THIS YEAR. If ever there was an example of the power of the almighty dollar in F1, this is it. I have not been a Max Mosley fan for a while ... but his statement on the matter, that there will be a price to pay by F1 for this decision, is correct. I hope major sponsors, via the teams, get together to stop this short- sighted disaster. Apart from the humanity factor (thank you Mark Webber for standing up and being counted) there is no way the safety of participants can be guaranteed in such a volatile environment. I've been to Bahrain myself, not that long ago. The thought of Bahraini 'security' is laughable. And by the way, boy am I glad I hadn't committed myself to support the opening Indian Grand Prix and now have to try and get my money back. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Matt Wynnum California, USA What next, an Afghan Grand Prix? Naaargh, let's stick closer to home. Egypt maybe! There is no justification for re-instating the Bahrain race until it can clearly be proven (and that doesn't just mean a stage-managed political inspection) that the people of Bahrain are safe. Steven Bartholomew Dartford, Kent, UK Monaco madness Amid the calls for 'changes' to the Monaco circuit following the series of incidents going into the chicane this year (in which nobody was really hurt, by the way) how about this: Why not open up that stupid, tight chicane again so it's not such a heavy braking zone and allow the cars to 'flow' through there like they once used to. Dangerous? Absolutely not. More people get hurt on skateboards these days than in F1. Man up fellas! Robyn Foster Papatoetoe, NZ Sounds of Music Anyone who has concerns about how 1.6 litre turbo F1 engines might sound, should listen to a Moto2 field go by.! They thought that would be crap – and it ain't! Nathan Gardner Felixstowe, UK The announcement that Bahrain is back on has come as a shock to many. In Barcelona I spoke with a senior figure in the Bahraini camp who told me the situation over there had cooled down and that they were confident of rescheduling. But in Monaco, where the teams sat down and discussed the race, I understand the preference not to go was pretty much unanimous. Their reasons are three-fold: They don’t believe it’s safe; they believe going will send out a negative message; and their staff need time off in December. Ultimately, the teams believe turning up will cost them far more than they’ll gain. FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh is in a very tricky position, given McLaren is 30 percent owned by the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company – which is wholly owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain. Some teams could threaten not to go – and if that happens, it rather lets FOM and the FIA off the hook as they can blame the teams for an ultimatum and, they would hope, cancel the race while still looking like the good-guys in the eyes of the Bahraini royals. But Whitmarsh can’t be seen to lead any revolt. The man is being pulled from all sides. The matter could threaten to splinter FOTA – which other forces would welcome, of course. I wonder whether Whitmarsh is prepared to step down and let Eric Boullier do the talking, or if he’s prepared to fight his fellow members in order to keep his shareholder happy. I would not like to be in his shoes. Mark Webber – who can always be relied upon as the one man who won’t keep his lip buttoned while other drivers feel pressured to stay mute – says it’s still unlikely we’ll be going to Bahrain. "Even though a decision has been made, I'll be highly surprised if the Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead this year,” he wrote on his website. We all want peace to return to Bahrain, and we want Formula One to return – whether to a kingdom or a republic. But despite the assurances of Bahrain and the FIA – who sent their man Carlos Gracia on a fact-finding mission on May 31 – the fact is that reports made by both credible western media and intelligence services claim that it is not. On Saturday Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters marching towards Pearl Square. Last Thursday, the day before the WMSC met, there was a similar stand off. On opinion ADAM HAY- NICHOLLS GPWeek Editor The controversy over the Japanese GP, scheduled for October 2, is becoming increasingly tiresome. Jorge Lorenzo is leading the call for the race to be cancelled. Why? Because riders engaged in a pursuit that is self- evidently dangerous are scared of the unknown. Some lack of perspective there in risk assessment, it seems. But while most of them, and a number of paddock staff, agree, they are increasingly sounding like a bunch of cry-babies, with Lorenzo (the recently reformed advocate of safe overtaking, and with a post- earthquake sticker on his bike supporting Japan) at the head. All sources of information put the risk of contamination at Motegi from the Fukushima nuclear plant as negligible. There is more exposure to radiation on a commercial airliner at altitude than at Motegi, where levels MICHAEL SCOtt MotoGP Editor opinion MotoGP Cry-babies ... 20