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GP Week : Issue 150
BRIEFLY » It’s great to be an F1 driver – birds just keep throwing themselves at you, whether you’re on track or off it. But in Nico Rosberg’s case, it wasn’t the kind of bird he (or anyone) was looking for. During FP2 on Friday afternoon, the Mercedes driver was minding his own business when lapping the track when a bird exploded on his helmet. “I thought, God, what’s that?!” Rosberg told Germany’s Bild. “It was a violent impact, pushing my head right back. The bird exploded on the helmet, but nothing else happened.” Reports that the Bird in question was red and Angry have yet to be confirmed, although no-one has seen it in the same frame as Heikki Kovalainen’s race helmet. » News that Anonymous had taken down the Formula1.com website went viral over the weekend. Pity it wasn’t strictly accurate. While the F1.com redirect was taken down briefly on Saturday, anyone who used the full URL to access the official website found that service was unaffected. Other DOS attacks, including one on fia.com, were more successful. » While the 2012 Formula One Grand Prix passed largely without incident in safety terms, thanks in no small part to the high level of security surrounding the Sakhir International Circuit, some protesters did slip through the net. Shortly after the chequered flag fell reports began to emerge of two women having been arrested behind the main grandstand after attempting a miniature – and peaceful – protest. While the reports on the blogosphere spoke of nine women arrested, eye witnesses reduced that figure to two. The arrests, much like the protest itself, were non-violent, with female officers used to detain the women. Pro-race comments were a surprise to the bulk of the F1 press corps – in the run-up to the race the international news coverage had led us to believe that the citizens of Bahrain were angered by the presence of a frivolous sporting event in a time of internal strife. And anti-race comments were not hard to come by, both on the streets and on the internet. Reactions from those against the race were highly emotive, with the scheduling of the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix widely viewed as Formula One’s tacit acceptance of a regime accused of a host of human rights abuses, both past and ongoing. Members of the F1 press corps were contacted by opponents of the race via a range of social media, which enabled those contra voices to support their arguments with pictures and videos of those injured in altercations with the local police and security forces. A refrain that GPWEEK heard on numerous occasions over the course of the weekend was that “Formula One is racing on the blood of martyrs” , a cryused as counterpoint to the race’s official ‘UNI-F1-ED: One nation in celebration’ slogan. “So many can have a day at the races, many must also go to prison,” we were told. “Pro-democracy villages are surrounded by armoured vehicles so Formula One can race in peace.” Dr Ala’a Shehabi, who was arrested in Bahrain on Sunday afternoon, took a number of F1 journalists around the Shia villages in the run-up to the grand prix on what was dubbed the ‘tear gas tour’. Shehabi is an experienced demonstrator who was adept at keeping the less savvy journalists away from the trouble spots while still providing a glimpse into the environment of stun grenades and rubber bullets that are a fact of life for many Bahrainis. Before her arrest, Shehabi summed up the grand prix weekend: “Bahrainis pay the price of an undeclared martial law for the sake of Formula One,” she tweeted. “100+ arrests, 100s of injured, and now one dead protestor.” BAHRAINIS SPEAK – against the race 5 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS