by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 119
GPWEEK OPINION >> are absolutely normal. More, last week, on the streets of Rome. Among other places, like granite-rich Cornwall in Britain. Yet the riders are kicking up no end of fuss. Dorna has insisted that the race is 99 percent certain to go ahead. The Japanese manufacturers are obviously keen that it should. And so, it seems, is officialdom in Japan. They are anxious to get the countr y back to normal, as soon as possible. Lorenzo quoted a natural mistrust of governments. Nor was he open to a suggestion that the riders might seek independent expert opinion. Not even the UN’s Commission for Atomic Energy’s reports were to be believed. On the other hand, he was happy to put his trust in a doom-laden post-Chernobyl documentar y he’d seen on Spanish TV during the weekend. (If he had seen a movie on vampires, suggested a paddock wag, would he refuse to race at Qatar at night?) Rossi likewise is a strong advocate of cancellation. Being Rossi, however, he was able to get a laugh out of it. “My idea is ... it would be better to go to Suzuka.” (The old and very enjoyable Japanese GP track, replaced by dull and sterile Motegi on safety grounds after Daijiro Kato’s fatal crash there in 2003.) Some were honest enough to admit that they’d like the race cancelled because it would save them money ...the trek to Japan is both expensive and inconvenient. The most prominent voice of reason came from Casey Stoner, who opined: “My view is that a motorcycle race is one of the least important things for Japan at the moment. The time and effort would be better spent elsewhere.” So here’s an idea. Why don’t the riders put their money where their mouths are? Pull out of the race en masse, and donate their fees (almost 1-million Euros in Rossi’s case, not a great deal less for Jorge) to the tens of thousands left homeless, jobless or bereaved by the earthquake. that occasion the security forces used bird-shot. For the protesters the media coverage given to Formula One presents an opportunity too good to miss, surely. The circuit has a big X painted on it. Now I’m sure there will be a ring of steel put around the place on the week of the race, but I think it’s unlikely they’re going to stick a SWAT team outside my hotel room door. F1 has found itself moving from the back pages to the front pages once again, and it’s going to be a very interesting prospect for media on race weekend, of that there is no denying. I’ve got to say, though, finishing the season on December 11 doesn’t fill me – or many others – with joy. Having been away for so long during the increasingly elongated season, F1 personnel need their downtime to rest, to see family and friends, to attend to the garden, do the accounts, paint the downstairs bathroom, or to watch all seven Police Academy movies back- to-back (I have had some gloriously unproductive off-seasons). I don’t even open my mail when the season is on, so imagine how bulging my letter-box is going to be by mid-December. And when the hell is Christmas shopping going to take place? I jest of course. This is but a minor gripe compared to the message F1 has sent to the world, and how this will affect the public opinion of the sport. And on this subject, Webber has been most eloquent: "I do not feel at all comfortable going there to compete in an event when, despite reassurances to the contrary, it seems inevitable that it will cause more tension for the people of that country. I don't understand why my sport wishes to place itself in a position to be a catalyst for that." I’m not buying my plane ticket just yet. MotoGP Cry-babies ... BAHRAIN STILL NOT A CERTAINTY 21